Life imitates art at Santa Anita on Friday?

Trainer Julio Canani saddled longshot Wild Revenge to a win in the first race Friday at Santa Anita. The horse was ridden by Kayla Stra.

In the first episode of HBO’s new horse racing-based show ‘Luck’, Turo Escalante, a character played by John Ortiz and is modeled after Canani, put a rookie jockey on a longshot that he had primed to win and could not lose unless the jockey bricked it. Well, in the show, the jockey bricks it and the horse still wins.

Although Kayla Stra isn’t a rookie (or apprentice), she often leaves a lot to be desired with her rides. And for Canani to use her on a horse says that either he thought the horse had no prayer, or he was, as in the show, trying to “put one over” to cash a ticket.

Wild Revenge paid $26.20.

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41 Responses to Life imitates art at Santa Anita on Friday?

  1. Marquez says:

    There is no doubt that this is a move used by many trainers to try and get a good price on a horse. (just another handicapping angle which makes this game so much fun and challenging).

    If your example was a “set-up” Canani was pretty quiet about it,because his winners usually pay far less than that.He also had used Kayla Stra on this horse in his prior race, he was 26-1 that day and finished up the track.

    No relation to the Luck show,but a great example of this was in the recently run Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. Doug O’Neill used little known rider (around here anyway) Mario Gutierrez for the first time and the horse won easily at 43-1.

    Hopefully your post helped “Luck” viewers appreciate the realism that the show does bring.

  2. Aram says:


    This is what Bob Selvin put out in an email today:

    Are you watching the HBO series, “Luck?” Turo Escalante (Julio Canani) struck with longshot Wild Revenge at $26.20 using female jockey Kayla Stra. I was smart enough to write four lines of positive copy in my analysis about Wild Revenge, but not smart enough to use him on top in my exacta play (only in two hole). The class raise off a bad race was a signal. The crafty Canani, who was the trainer of the last horse I part-owned, had to have put this one over !

    Here’s to fast horses & big mutuels,

    Bob Selvin

  3. Leave our Kayla alone!
    Cheers, Brian Blackwell, editor, Practical Punting magazine

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