Santa Anita Racing — 12/28/2008

We blanked with two horses Saturday. Both Seth the Candeyman and Rochelle’s Jimmy ran off the board. We’re off to a slow start out of the gate, but I’m confident we’ll hit our stride. There are a couple of strong bets today, although no long shots of 20-1 or higher that I like a lot.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28
5th — $40 to win on Raise the River at 5-2 or higher
6th — $20 to win on Wild Diplomat

SATURDAY — Minus $60
OVERALL — Minus $140
BANKROLL (started with $2,000) — $1,860

Good luck today!!

Santa Anita Racing — 12/27/2008

We blanked yesterday, although Indian Weaver ran third at 31-1 and could have threatened the winner with a stronger ride. The horse drifted out badly on the turn for home and lost a ton of ground.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 27
1st — $20 to win on Seth the Candeyman at 20-1 or higher
2nd — $20 to win on Mama Lor
3rd — $20 to win on Cajun Gent at 5-2 or higher
6th — $40 to win on Rochelle’s Jimmy at 2-1 or higher

FRIDAY — Minus $80
OVERALL — Minus $80
BANKROLL REMAINING — $1,920

Good luck today!!

Leftovers from opening day at Santa Anita

Bob Black Jack’s victory in the $250,000 Malibu Stakes on Friday at Santa Anita was only the second Grade I win for a Cal-bred in 2008. Cost of Freedom won the Grade I Ancient Title during the Oak Tree meet.

There’s a $171,220.28 pick-six carryover heading into the first Saturday card of the 84-day meet. There were no huge upsets Friday, just a number of 6-1 and 7-1 outsiders to give the pick-six players fits.

Garrett Gomez, 2007 Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s top jockey, has a shot to break Jerry Bailey’s single-year record for earnings by a North American jockey with four days left in the 2008 racing season. After earning $118,560 with his mounts Friday, including $60,000 for his win aboard Gio Ponti in the $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes, Gomez has $23,137,979 compared to Bailey’s record of $23,354,960 established in 2003.

David Flores, who won all three opening-day stakes at Santa Anita a year ago with Johnny Eves in the Malibu, Monterey Jazz in the Sir Beaufort and Bob Black Jack in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes, made it back-to-back Malibus aboard Bob Black Jack and finished second in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes with 3-1 favorite Feisty Suances. He didn’t have a mount in this year’s Sir Beaufort.

Rafael Bejarano, who recently joined Chris McCarron (1983) and Patrick Valenzuela (2003) as the only riders to sweep the five major meets in Southern California in one year, Gomez and Mike Smith all had riding doubles Friday.

Triphon B. Dahl, a 44-year-old Fairplex Park-based trainer, scored the first stakes victory of his career when All Saint came charging home through the stretch to win the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at 7-1 under Bejarano. Dahl has eight horses in his barn, all for owner Eduardo Gamez, a Pomona resident.

It’s time to open Santa Anita

Opening day today. Santa Anita kicks off its 72nd winter-spring meet with a tremendous card, including the $250,000 Malibu Stakes. Three Grade I winners in the field, and I like Colonel John, who I believe is the class of the class in the seven-horse field. I’m surprised he’s not the morning-line favorite. Into Mischief is 2-1 and Colonel John is 5-2. I think Colonel John will go postward as the favorite.

Today we’re going to begin a daily rundown of bettable races and track how we do during the 84-day meet. Remember, I’m a long-shot player. I won’t bet a lot of the horses I think have a shot unless they are 20-1 or higher. Send me your picks daily, who you like, and let’s see who can finish with the highest mythical bankroll on closing day, April 19.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26

1st — $20 to win on Halo’s Highway at 20-1 or higher.
4th — $40 to win on Luhuk’s Dancer
5th — $20 to win on Indian Weaver at 20-1 or higher
9th — $20 to win on Warren’s Cat Time at 20-1 or higher

We’ll start with a mythical bankroll of $2,000 and see how we do.

Good luck today!!

We’re back at the Great Race Place


I just did a quick check of the entries for opening day Friday at Santa Anita, and much to my delight we have BOTH full fields and quality races. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing that irritates me more than a mess of five- and six-horse fields. I keep saying, we have too much racing in Southern California.

Opening day, which begins at noon, includes a nine-race card with full fields in six of the nine. Unbelievable. And there are nine in the third and 10 in the fifth. The big stakes of the afternoon, the Grade I Malibu, shapes up as a super race. There are only seven entered, but it’s a quality seven, including Grade I winners Colonel John, Into Mischief and Georgie Boy.

I’m looking forward to opening day!

Cocoa Beach is Hollypark Horse of the Meet

Cocoa Beach (pictured), winner of the $500,000 Matriarch during the Turf Festival, was voted top horse of Hollywood Park’s 40-day autumn meet, which concluded Sunday.

Cocoa Beach, owned by Godolphin Stable and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, was a unanimous winner in voting by the media. She defeated defending Matriarch champion Precious Kitten by a half-length in her first turf race since her career debut in Chile in January 2007.

Pioneerof the Nile, winner of Saturday’s $750,000 CashCall Futurity, was a unanimous pick as 2-year-old and 2-year-old male of the year. Pioneerof the Nile beat I Want Revenge by a nose in the Grade I Futurity.

Other winners:
2-year-old filly: Laragh (unanimous)
3-year-old: Court Vision (unanimous)
3-year-old male: Court Vision
3-year-old filly: Briecat
Older male: Slew’s Tizzy
Turf Horse: Hyperbaric
Claiming horse: Soupy
Sprinter: Johnny Eves, in a 5-4 vote over California Flag
Trainer: Doug O’Neill (unanimous)
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano (unanimous)
Apprentice jockey: Pedro Arambula

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There could be an Exotic Story today

Looking for an early daily double wheel horse or single in the early pick four? Take a look at Exotic Story in the second race. The 3-year-old gelding ran a strong third last out and Aaron Gryder sticks with him in this starter allowance event. He’s 4-1 on the morning line and looks really live in this spot.

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Now THAT’S more like it!!

After getting blanked by short prices and even smaller fields Thursday, we had a nice day Friday, delivering a couple of nice wins — KHUN DAN at $25.60 and MAT THE MAITER’D at $27.20. Let’s try again today. There are a few good plays at Hollywood Park on CashCall Futurity Day, but I don’t know as if we’ll get any 11-1 or 12-1 shots.

1st — BONJOUR, WESTERLY MAGIC and MAN TO MAN all have shots here. Don’t let the 15-1 morning-line price on Man to Man scare you. He’s got a shot.

2nd — BROOKER is a Ted West-trained gelding who just missed at $12,500 and is being raised to $16,000. You have to love that move up in class.

4th — BE REALISTIC and BAD BIG AL should both be closing in the stretch.

7th — I love TOMMYS LUCK in this spot. He drops back into a sprint and is dipped in class. Martin Garcia wins 24 percent of the time when he rides for Jeff Mullins. This guy is my best bet of the day.

9th — MR. CHAIRMAN and ISIPINGO both have big shots in this $80,000 optional claimer.

10th — Tread very lightly, but I got a hunch that this is going to finally be the day that PINK POLKADOTS gets her picture taken. Mike Mitchell drops her back to the level he claimed her at. If she doesn’t win today, a move up to Golden Gate Fields might be in order. If you’re looking for an upsetter, try LIL LEGAL LINDA, a first-timer for Doug O’Neill.

Good luck today!!

Here’s hoping the price is right today

To me, there is nothing worse in horse racing than short prices and even shorter fields, both of which were in abundance Thursday at Hollywood Park. Let’s hope things are different today.

2nd — KHUN DAN has one quality that is important for winning these days over this track — speed. Don’t get sucked into too low a number with this guy because he’s 1 for 16 lifetime, but if you can get 4-1 or better, I think he’s worth a wager.

4th — MOONLIGHT TIZZY raced wide in her last but showed improvement. She’ll be tough in this maiden special weight for California breds.

5th — My best best of the day, SCHILL, may go postward at only 2-1, but she’s a great single in the pick six and late pick four. She’s won 4 of 12 and I think she’s going to be very, very tough here.

6th — MAT THE MAITER’D hopped in the air in his debut at 76-1 and still got beat only 3 3/4 lengths in a 13-horse field. You’ll get a real nice price on this guy and I think he’s worth an across-the-board play.

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Home of the short fields and favorites

Hollywood Park was not the place to be Thursday if you were looking for value. Tough to get value when all you’re doing is playing five- and six-horse fields. I thought synthetic tracks were supposed to lead to a higher horse population and bigger fields.

Four of the eight races consisted of five horses. FIVE!!! Three had six horses and the finale included a whopping seven.

The pick six paid $155.20, quite a life-changing experience, and it was puncuated by horses that returned $4, $6.40, $3.60, $4, $4.80 and $3.60. Yeah, it beats the heck out of a return you’ll get from a Bank of America savings account these days, but when the biggest long shot of the day is $8.60, courtesy of Stormy Racer and the hottest jockey on the planet, Joel Rosario, well, that kind of sums up the day.