Racing! Congrats to Santa Anita for safe workouts – Los Angeles Times

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we look at some fatality stats we wish were much, much better.

Slipping under the radar is that Santa Anita has not had any training fatalities since the track closed for racing on June 23. If you count that Sunday as the first day after the last training death, American Currency for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, his fourth of the meeting, the track had around 2,465 official works by my unofficial count. That’s darn good and deserves praise.

The number includes both the main dirt surface and the training track, which is closest to the scoreboard. It’s impressive and certainly should begin to lessen fears that the track is unsafe.

Now you’ll find my praise for Santa Anita’s statistic rather odd if you read my story either online or in print on how equine fatalities are counted. You can read it here.

In the story, I point out that Santa Anita, shall I be kind and say heavily spun, a media release and used statistics to show how the reforms have made a difference. The track even cites a combination workouts and gallops stat, which is a metric that doesn’t exist in racing. Nobody counts gallops. But the story isn’t just about Santa Anita and has statistics that I’m guessing you’ve never seen before. It’s worth a look.

A lot of you have asked for stats on how Santa Anita compares this year to other tracks nationally. Those stats won’t be available until next year. But, the track’s current rating in the Equine Injury Database, run by The Jockey Club, is 3.17 fatalities per 1,000 starts, with a chance to go down with a safe Fall meeting.

The story also offers comparisons from 10 years ago until last year.

(In case you wonder why we don’t just repeat what we have in print and online in the newsletter, it’s complicated. Because the newsletter is also online the search engines would think we are double-planting a story and that makes them mad. And only bad things can happen when the search engines get mad at you.)

But, I think we can safely give you the EID numbers for tracks last year that will allow its numbers to be public. The vast majority do not. The only California track that does not make its number public is Los Alamitos. (Just taking a wild guess here, but my spidey-sense is telling me to double-down on 1.05.)

The only other number not from the EID is Churchill Downs, which hides its numbers from the public. The Louisville Courier Journal was able to get the data after public records requests. The EID numbers are only racing deaths and do not include training fatalities.

Now, this is not a list you don’t want to be Top 10 in, far, far from it.

1. Hawthorne, 2.99

2. Churchill Downs, 2.70

3. Lone Star Park, 2.6

4. Santa Rosa, 2.43

5. Suffolk Downs, 2.35

6. Pimlico 2.33

7. Portland Meadows, 2.30

8. Remington Park, 2.19

9. Santa Anita, 2.04

10. Turfway Park, 1.99

11. Laurel, 1.87

12. Keeneland, 1.77

13. Delaware Park, 1.62

14. Aqueduct, 1.57

15. Gulfstream, 1.41

16. Indiana Grand, 1.40

17. Golden Gate, 1.12

18. Woodbine, 1.06

19. Belmont Park, 0.98

20. Saratoga, 0.97

21. Del Mar, 0.79

22. Presque Isle Downs, 0.34

Tracks with no reported deaths last year: Ferndale, Fresno, Pleasanton, Sacramento, 0.0. (Anything look familiar there?)

On to Del Mar

Many of the horses should have started to arrive at Del Mar in the middle of the night. By late this morning there should be a couple hundred in the barn area. Also on Friday, the training track will be open for gallops in the morning. On Saturday, the main track will be open for workouts and the turf course will be open for works on Monday. How did I know this? Mac McBride, whose job it is to corral the media at Del Mar, told me. So, take it to the bank.

Meanwhile, the phones must still be out in the office of track president Josh Rubinstein, who has pretty much hid from the media on the Hollendorfer situation. Uh, racing opens on Wednesday.

Los Alamitos thoroughbred preview

It’s an eight-race card starting at 1 p.m. Well, that about covers it. Come back tomorrow when the track has the Los Alamitos Derby with the Eclipse Award and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner.

All eight of Friday’s races are claimers, four for maidens and four for others. The top purse is $21,000 and that’s just one race. Five of the races are 5 ½ furlongs, which fits the horse population as it is currently configured.

With the exodus of some of the horse population, the result of the problems at Santa Anita, filling races will remain a problem. As we’ve said, Del Mar is going to have to work mighty hard to keep five days of racing all summer.

For what it’s worth there are two Hollendorfer horses on Friday’s card.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 7, 7, 8, 7, 6, 9, 9.

Ciaran Thornton’s LARC pick of the day

RACE ONE: No. 2 Summer Buddha (8-1)

Summer Buddha takes a big jump in class from the night races. This is a trainer stats play. Trainer Lorenzo Ruiz is 31% third off the layoff, 39% in the money. He is 13% jumping multiple classes and 38% in the money. Red hot bug boy Jorge Valez rides and we are getting 8-1, the best value play on see on Friday’s card.

Sunday’s result: Mo Reserve was bet down to 3-1 from the 8-1 morning-line price we were looking for. The horse tracked the leaders and ran on late for another second place finish for us.

Ciaran Thornton is the handicapper for, which offers daily full card picks, longshots of the day, best bets of the day.

Los Alamitos nightime weekend preview

It’s time to turn things over to marketing and meda guru Orlando Gutierrez, who will tell us about the upcoming weekend at Los Alamitos. Orlando, the floor is yours.

“Ali Babe Foose, the 2018 PCQHRA champion 2-year-old colt, and Dexxter, a multiple Grade 1 stakes finalists, will headline a group of 3-year-olds in the $15,000 Big Lew Handicap at 350 yards on Friday.

“Ali Babe Foose, a three time major futurities finalist last year, enters the Big Lew after a fifth in the Grade 3 El Primero Del Año Derby in late March, while Dexxter was fourth in the El Primero final. Dexxter won his El Primero trial and was second to Chocolatito in the Dillingham Handicap on May 18. It makes Dexxter the top pick in the Big Lew.

“On Saturday night, Diamond Rock, Cartel Jess Rockin and Chickititas Corona, all finalists in he Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity, will join Ed Burke Million Futurity finalist Javelina Cantina and the undefeated Up And Coming in the trials to the $365,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity for California-breds.

“Seven trials, at 350 yards, will have 53 juveniles. The 10 fastest times will advance to the Governor’s Cup final to be held as part of California Breeders Champions Night on Sat., July 27. The Governor’s Cup Futurity is the richest race on Champions Night and it is usually won by a runner that goes on to challenge for top honors in the major futurities held at Los Alamitos in November and December.

“Champion J Fire Up won the 2017 running of the Governor’s Cup before winning the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Golden State Million Futurity. Past winners since 1997 have included champions Your First Moon, Old Habits, Separatist and Corona Cash. The trials will be races two through eight on Saturday night.

“Up And Coming will head the field in opening trial race. The Kiddy Up gelding broke his maiden by 1 ¼ lengths on May 11 and then returned to win his Ed Burke Million trial by a half-length on June 9. Purchased for $67,000 at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale, Up And Coming could still improve off of that trial victory and appears to be well drawn in the opening trial. He’ll be facing Diamond Rock, who posted a tremendous maiden victory by three lengths on April 20. He was a daylight winner in his trial to the Kindergarten Futurity, but started slow in the final and finished ninth in the 300-yard dash. The Jose Flores-trainee will start from the two while stretching out to 350 yards for the first time.

“Nineteen sophomores will be in Sunday’s trials to the $195,000 Governor’s Cup Derby for Cal-breds at 400 yards. The 10 fastest will advance to July 27 final. Top 3-year-olds include Powerful Favorite, looking for a Governor’s Cup series sweep, plus Cole Man 47 and Wicked Affair, a pair of Grade 2 futurity winners in 2018.

“The winner of the Grade 1 $155,100 Vessels Maturity last Sunday night was the underrated 6-year-old gelding Katies Easy Moves, who recorded his first ever Grade 1 victory after holding off 2017 Vessels Maturity winner BH Lisas Boy by a half-length. Sent off at 11-1, Katies Easy Moves covered the 400 yards in 19.473 seconds. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio, Katies Easy Moves earned a provisional berth to the prestigious Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions.”

Ed Burgart’s LA pick of the day

FOURTH RACE: No. 5 Fashion Icon (3-1)

She ran better than looked when fifth in last Arizona futurity outing 10 weeks ago while lugging in steadily from the rail post. Her trainer Matt Fales is hitting at 23% win clip this season and this filly galloped out with big strides in 12.4 gate drill on July 2 after lugging in solidly early when working on the inside of a rival who went 12.6. She now draws a comfortable number five post in the six-horse field for her first local try.

Final thought

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Now, the star of the show, Friday’s entries.

Los Alamitos Race Course Entries for Friday, July 12.

Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 8th day of a 10-day meet.


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $13,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $8,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Lucky Patrick J.C. Diaz, Jr. 117 Marcelo Polanco 7-2 8,000
2 Summer Buddha Jorge Velez 117 Lorenzo Ruiz 8-1 8,000
3 Moon Juice Eswan Flores 124 Philip A. Oviedo 2-1 8,000
4 Royal Seeker Ferrin Peterson 117 Marcelo Polanco 5-2 8,000
5 Skagit River Christian Aragon 124 Patricia Harrington 15-1 8,000
6 Frankie Machine Ignacio Puglisi 124 Paul G. Aguirre 3-1 8,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $17,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Union Ride Eswan Flores 123 Hector O. Palma 3-1 30,000
2 Acadia Fleet Tiago Pereira 118 Charles R. Stutts 30-1 30,000
3 Street Image Martin Garcia 123 Philip D’Amato 9-5 30,000
4 My Way Out Ruben Fuentes 123 Andrew Lerner 6-1 30,000
5 The Supply Program Martin Pedroza 123 Eddie Truman 5-1 30,000
6 Dairy Kid Edgar Payeras 118 Robert J. Lucas 20-1 30,000
7 Vermeer Jorge Velez 116 Jerry Hollendorfer 5-2 30,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $12,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Seattle Encounter Juan Sanchez 124 Sergio Morfin 6-1 6,250
2 Rmanie’s Grey Suit Jorge Velez 117 Samuel Nichols 8-1 6,250
3 It’s Just Bob Vinnie Bednar 124 Daniel Azcarate 3-1 6,250
4 Calie View Minor Arana 124 Robert A. Bean 6-1 6,250
5 Curly’s Mark Tiago Pereira 124 Philip A. Oviedo 2-1 6,250
6 Mr Bingley Modesto Linares 120 Vernon E. Aguayo 20-1 6,250
7 Capes Hot Rocket Christian Aragon 124 Angela Maria Aquino 7-2 6,250


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Rolinga Ruben Fuentes 120 Edward R. Freeman 5-1 20,000
2 Chocolatita for Me La De 120 Felix L. Gonzalez 20-1 20,000
3 La Purissima Martin Pedroza 120 John W. Sadler 9-5 20,000
4 Summer in Cyprus Jorge Velez 113 George Papaprodromou 6-1 20,000
5 Havasu Hunni Vinnie Bednar 120 Roman Figueroa 15-1 20,000
6 Derby Royalty Edgar Payeras 120 Ruben Gomez 20-1 20,000
7 Laker Jet Abel Cedillo 120 Doug F. O’Neill 4-1 20,000
8 Fuega Martin Garcia 124 Kristin Mulhall 5-2 20,000


1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Rocket Ship Aaron Gryder 120 Sean McCarthy 5-2 20,000
2 King Parker Jorge Velez 111 Craig Anthony Lewis 12-1 18,000
3 Refractometer Abel Cedillo 120 Philip D’Amato 4-1 20,000
4 Fort Dodge Jose Leon 115 Bobby Wayne Grayson 12-1 20,000
5 Nileist Ruben Fuentes 124 Andrew Lerner 2-1 20,000
6 Dawood Agapito Delgadillo 124 Richard Baltas 3-1 20,000
7 Temple View J.C. Diaz, Jr. 113 Robert O. Allen 12-1 20,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 All Tea All Shade J.C. Diaz, Jr. 116 Jorge Periban 5-2 20,000
2 Staythirstymyamigo Ruben Fuentes 123 Edward R. Freeman 6-1 20,000
3 Bam Bams Lil River Assael Espinoza 123 Jerry Hollendorfer 2-1 20,000
4 Time for Kisses Edgar Payeras 123 Gary Sherlock 12-1 20,000
5 Gadot Tiago Pereira 123 Vladimir Cerin 4-1 20,000
6 Tick Tock Jorge Velez 116 Andrew Lerner 3-1 20,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $12,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Spectacular Storm Ramon Guce 124 Jorge Gutierrez 5-1 6,250
2 Gayebird Christian Aragon 120 Patricia Harrington 12-1 6,250
3 Miss Napper Tandy Jose Leon 119 Samuel Nichols 12-1 6,250
4 Tiger Mom Jorge Velez 117 Lorenzo Ruiz 5-2 6,250
5 Luv Is All U Need J.C. Diaz, Jr. 117 Charles S. Treece 3-1 6,250
6 Sharp Image Vinnie Bednar 120 Mike Harrington 5-1 6,250
7 Forbidden Command Edgar Payeras 124 Justin B. Clark 6-1 6,250
8 She’sluckythatway Ferrin Peterson 117 James F. Sayler 15-1 6,250
9 G Money Rules Barrington Harvey 124 Angela Maria Aquino 15-1 6,250


1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Twinkle Dream Eswan Flores 120 Patrick Gallagher 8-1 20,000
2 Info’s Treasure Efrain Hernandez 120 Ian Kruljac 15-1 20,000
3 Reds Sacred Appeal Evin Roman 118 Lisa Bernard 9-2 18,000
4 Solarium Assael Espinoza 124 James M. Cassidy 8-1 20,000
5 Oligarchy Abel Cedillo 120 Steven Miyadi 7-2 20,000
6 Decorated for Gold Brayan Pena 120 Genaro Vallejo 4-1 20,000
7 Gallantlystreaming Jorge Velez 111 Peter Miller 9-2 18,000
8 Miss Omnipotent J.C. Diaz, Jr. 111 George Papaprodromou 12-1 18,000
9 Derby Lady Edgar Payeras 118 Ruben Gomez 6-1 18,000

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