May 26th, 2015 by John Scheidt
SIDEPOCKET RUN (May 23): Six year old mare for Phil D’Amato is really coming into her own these
days as she tried the $150k Spring Fever stakes on Saturday at six furlongs on the main. Off at 35/1 in
just a six horse field, she broke well and settled in 4th down the back side about 5 lengths off the pace,
which was set by her stable mate, the undefeated and 1/5 favorite, Sunday Rules. She started to gain on
the leaders at the 1/4 pole after some quick splits of 21.60 and 44.11, but the favorite slammed the door
on the field with a 24.42 final quarter. “Sidepocket” battled gamely down the lane and finished second
beaten just 3 lengths at the wire. She still has the first Cal bred allowance condition available to her and
she should be able to win that quite handily as she is in peak form right now. Watch for her in the entries.
CHATI’S ON TOP (May 23): Four year old filly for Mike Puype tried the Fran’s Valentine stakes on
Saturday at a mile on the turf for older fillies/mares which are Cal bred. Off at 7/1 in an 8 horse field, she
broke with the field but was void of early speed as usual, fell back to last on the back side, but only about
7 lengths behind the leaders. She started to pick it up at the 3/8 pole, circled most of the field at the top of
the lane, and looked like she would blow them away at the 1/8th pole. But the 3/5 favorite found another
gear and beat “Chati” a length and a half at the wire. This filly has now never been off the board in 9
career starts on the grass, winning two of the last 3. She is razor sharp and still has the second allowance
condition available. This Cal bred can go short or long and look for Puype to find a winning spot for her
before the end of the meet.
SPIRIT RULES (May 23): Six year old gelding for Paul Aguirre ran his eyeballs out in the Tiznow
stakes on Saturday for older runners at a flat mile, which are Cal breds. Off at 16/1 in a nine horse field,
jockey Iggy Puglisi sent this gelding hard from the gate to get the lead into the first turn with rapid
fractions of 22.55 and 45.59 for the half. He never really got a breather, and he kept right on motoring
into the lane and just got caught very late by the 4/5 favorite. “Spirit” is best at the sprint game and this
race sets him up nicely on the cut back. Not sure where Aguirre will run him, but this one gives his all
every time to the post. Tab and follow.
SUPER MAJESTY (May 24): Three year old filly for Jerry Hollendorfer made her debut in Sunday’s
fifth event, a sprint on the main track for fillies/mares three and up. Off at 3/5 and the heavy wagering
choice, Solis put this one in the race early and it was all over at the quarter pole. Her early fractions were
moderate at 22.21 and 45.14 for the half, but she shut the door on the field with a very quick final quarter
in 23.20 and was out in 1:08.54. Out of Super Saver and a Go For Gin mare, she is bred all over for two
turns and will only get better with the distance and the experience. She is a “single” next out wherever
the Dorf decides to run her.
May 26th, 2015 by John Scheidt
No rain this past week at the Great Race Place and the main track played fair for the five day week.
However, the turf course is playing slow and tiring and favoring off the pace runners, much like it
was back in January. There will be just a three day week this week, beginning on Friday with that 4
PM post, because they ran five days last week. There is a c/o in the Super High Five on Friday of
• They had 3 graded stakes over the weekend with Hard Not to Like ($9.20) nailing down the Grade 1
Gamely on Monday by sneaking through on the rail to just nip the front running Fanticola by a head.
It was a tough beat for Fanticola, who was off at 8/1 and led every step but the final one. She was
racing against a course bias as well that has been favoring late runners. Also on Monday, in just a 4
horse field due to late scratches, Distinctiv Passion wired the field in the Grade 3 Los Angeles stakes
in a quick 1:08 flat. He got away with a soft first quarter in 22.19 and the other runners had no
chance. He shut the door on them with a final quarter in 23.58 with 5/8 in a fast 55.98. San Onofre
rallied boldly to get second, but Smith took him back early in the race and he didn’t show his
customary early speed. Winning trainer Jeff Bonde said “Passion” will surface next in the Bing
Crosby early in the Del Mar meet. “Passion” paid $6.60 on Monday. On Sunday, the heavy favorite,
Ashleyluvssugar ($3.00), won the Grade 2 Whittingham stakes at a mile and a half on the grass
under a perfectly timed ride by Mike Smith. Ganesh ran a good second at 5/1 and just missed by a
half length. Both runners will target the mile and three quarters San Juan Capistrano on closing day,
June 28 for their next venture.
• A new ruling handed down by the CHRB that has caused a lot of controversy is the “Voided” claim.
Now when a State Vet voids a claim in the receiving barn after the race due to the unsoundness of
the horse, it will be noted in the past performances. The letter “v” in lower case, followed by a dash,
will precede the claiming price, much like the letter “c” is used when a horse gets claimed. This is a
bad ruling to begin with and the whole process should be “voided”, as it takes away from the poker
part of claiming. This ruling was initiated by Bo Derek when she was on the Board. She has since
been replaced by jockey Alex Solis, who knows a little bit more about racing than Derek did.
• Jockey Elvis Trujillo is moving his tack back to Monmouth Park this week and will no longer ride in
California on a regular basis. He has been the leading rider at Monmouth on 3 different occasions
and has had mixed success on this circuit. He is just 5 for 48 at the current meet, although he is a
very competent rider, and one that I have done very well with the last couple of years. Tyler Baze
still leads the standings with 20 wins through Monday but Rafael Bejarano is hot on his shoulders
and has narrowed the gap to just one. In the trainer standings, Phil D’Amato has a one win edge over
Doug O’Neill and Richard Baltas, 12 to 11.
• Del Mar, which opens for 40 days on July 16, wants to change the pick six format. They are seeking
approval from the CHRB to make the wager like it is at GGF and Gulfstream Park, where 20% of
the pool carries over until there is just a “single” winner. The wager has been in steep decline ever
since the 50 cent pick 5 was introduced with a 14% takeout. This is not the way to fix the pick six
though. They need to put this wager on level ground with the pick 5 if they want to increase revenue.
Right now, the pick 5 is a much better wager. Under the new format, if nobody hits six, the entire
pool is carried over and there is no consolation for those with five. That is not right.
• I know nothing about Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa., but I do know that Phil
D’Amato has been targeting this race this Saturday, for a month, for his turf runner,
Papacoolpapacool. The race is for three years only at a mile on the turf, for a purse of $500,000. I
think “Papa” gets the money. Regular rider, Elvis Trujillo, will be riding.
May 18th, 2015 by John Scheidt
BEN’S DUCHESS (May 16): Three year old filly for John Sadler tried the Angel’s Flight stakes on
Preakness day at 7 furlongs on the main for 3 year old fillies. Off at 9/2 in just a five horse field, she
broke with the leaders and was two lengths back of the leader at the half mile pole. She put in her run at
the 1/4 pole to get along side of the speedy Fantastic Style, but fell back in the lane when unable to get by
the Baffert speedster. She still finished gamely down the lane to finish third beaten 4 lengths. The
fractions were very strong in 22.39, 44.70 and 1:08.10 for 3/4. They finished up in near track record time
of 1:20.38 on a track rated “good.” “Duchess” still has the first allowance condition available and is a
“lock” to win that condition, even against older. They added the blinkers here and she did show more
early speed, but she can be rated as well. Sadler will find a winning spot for her shortly.
ATTA BOY PETE (May 16): Six year old gelding for Phil D’Amato, who just claimed this one for
$10k four weeks ago, tried the first allowance condition with an optional $20k claiming price at six and a
half down the hill on Saturday. Off at 6/1 in a full field, he went right to the lead under Baze, opened up
two down the hill and into the lane, found another gear at the 1/8th pole, and then just got beat in the
final jump by a late runner. This past classer has already won this condition, so he was in for the claiming
tag of $20k. He has good speed, can run on anything, and is in a top notch barn. D’Amato will find the
right spot, and he lost a heartbreaker today. Follow.
D’YA KNOWWHATIMEAN (May 16): Four year old filly for Peter Miller tried two turns in the first
condition allowance on Saturday on the main track for older runners. Off at 7/2 in a six horse field, she
went right to the lead for Talamo and opened up two on the back side. The favorite came to her at the 1/4
pole and she dug in and tried to fight back, but this filly is a sprinter through and through. She give it up
at the 1/16th pole and finished 4th. This was just her second start off a six month layoff, and this race
tuned her up beautifully for a return to the sprint game by putting ample oxygen into those lungs. She
was stakes placed as a sophomore and now can knock off this first condition. The Miller barn is hitting
on all cylinders these days.
SHAPELY (May 16): Three year old filly for Ron Ellis returned to the races on Saturday after being off
for 10 months in a first condition allowance race sprinting on the main track. Off at 5/2 in a 9 horse field,
she broke a step slow under Talamo and was last early, after unseating her rider in the gate prior to the
start. She fell 11 lengths out of it by the half mile pole, but put in a nice run down the lane to be beaten
about four and a half at the wire, while finishing fourth. Her best races are at two turns and this was a
good prep for her. She can handle turf or dirt and has the talent to win this first condition. Ellis is as good
as they are at spotting his stock correctly, so she should find the winners circle in the very near future.
May 18th, 2015 by John Scheidt
For the second consecutive week, rain came to Southern California (very unusual for mid May), and
with it came some off tracks and biased conditions. With the track “sealed” both Thursday and
Friday, a strong speed bias was in place for Saturday and nothing could come from off the pace. Plus
the track registered some very quick times, and Baffert’s Fantastic Style was very close to the 7
furlong track record in winning the Angel’s Flight stakes. Many good priced horses found their way
to the winner’s circle and thus created a pick six c/o of over $80,000. That was promptly hit on
Sunday for a tidy sum of $151,855. The track returned to play fair on Sunday. The turf course, when
it was used, played fair and was rated “good” most of the week. Good weather is forecast for this
week and it will be a five day week, with Memorial Day this Monday, the 25th. Plus starting this
Friday, the first post will be 4PM for the rest of the meet for all Fridays, which runs through June 28.
• All eyes on Saturday were on Baltimore for the Preakness and the favorite, American Pharoah, did
not disappoint. As Baffert fretted all week about the bad draw being stuck on the rail, the Gods
turned on the fountains 10 minutes prior to post, turned a fast track into a sloppy one, and turned a
bad position into a good one. The rail was the place to be, and “Pharoah” once he got out of the gate,
just rambled home to win by 7. One thing about sloppy tracks though. They make the winner look
much better than they really are, and they make the rest of the field look worse than they really are.
No doubt Pharoah is a very good horse, and if he can win at Belmont in 3 weeks, he can be called a
“great” horse. But that will be no easy task. It will be his fifth start in just 11 weeks and we all know
that distance will be a “killer.” Then throw in the fact that some very good runners, who skipped the
Preakness, i.e. Frosted, Carpe Diem, and Materiality, will be waiting for him and will be a tad more
fresh. It will take a tremendous effort for him to pull it off. This year’s crop of three year olds is a
very good one, and many of them chose to not run this past Saturday. But at least it creates a “buzz”
about thoroughbred horse racing for the next 3 weeks, and that’s a good thing.
• The stakes picture was very bleak at Santa Anita this past weekend, but they will more than make up
for that this week. It’s Cal bred stakes day on Saturday with five stakes races, ranging in purses from
$125,000 to $200,000, and two of them are going long on the turf. The Cal bred day always offers
full fields and good wagering opportunities. Then on Sunday, it’s the Grade 2 Whittingham stakes at
a mile and a half on the turf for older runners. Aptly named because when Whittingham was alive,
he would have 3 runners in a race like this, and every one of them would have a good chance of
winning. Ashleyluvssugar, Ganesh, Big John B, and Drysdale’s South American import, Going
Somewhere, head the field. Then on Monday, they have the Grade 1 Gamely at 9 furlongs on the
grass for older fillies/mares and the Los Angeles stakes for older sprinters going six furlongs on the
main. Distinctiv Passion, Wild Dude, and San Onofre head the field for the L.A. Stakes. Masochistic,
now in the Ron Ellis barn, will pass this race and wait for the Grade 1 Triple Bend stakes on June 27.
• After spending two years in Singapore riding, 47 year old David Flores is back riding this circuit. He
was suspended for a year over there for not going all out to win with one of his mounts, but the
CHRB overturned that ruling and has allowed him to ride here. For once, the CHRB made the right
call. Speaking of riders, Tyler Baze is on top for the current meet with 16 wins, 4 more than Flavian
Prat, who is an excellent turf rider. Bejarano is third with 11 wins. Doug O’Neill tops the trainers
with 9 wins, closely followed by Phil D’Amato and Peter Miller with 8 each. But the trainers with
high win percentages are Eddie Truman, who has won 5 out of 11, and Richard Mandella, who has
won 6 out of 18. Both trainers have gotten many double digit payoffs.
May 12th, 2015 by John Scheidt
FOOTSTEPSINBRONZE (May 8): Four year old colt for Simon Callaghan made his first start since
last August in Friday’s third race, a second condition allowance race at 9 furlongs on the grass. Off as the
3 to 2 wagering choice in a field of 7, he went right to the lead on a turf course rated “good” due to
overnight rains, but one playing extremely slow. He never could get a breather, as he was hooked at the
3/8 pole from the winner, who dogged him all the way to the wire. He dug in as gamely as he could and
never stopped trying, but the layoff took it’s course, and he was beaten two lengths at the wire. The race
will do him a lot of good and Bejarano fits him like a glove. He is a bit better when he has a target to run
at, but due to the lack of speed here, he had to be used early. He can win this condition and this Irish bred
has the look of a stakes performer later on this year. He has never been worse than second in 5 trips to the
post on the grass.
MATRICULATE (May 9): Trainer Bill Spawr doesn’t win with many first time starters, but he had this
one buttoned down in Saturday’s opener, a sprint on the main track for Cal bred maiden special weights.
Off at 5/2, and third choice in the wagering, this son of Lucky Pulpit (California Chrome) attended the
early pace, put the other speed away at the top of the lane, and cruised on home to win by six under
jockey Elvis Trujillo. It was the jock’s 2000th career victory. He had a really solid work tab coming into
this race and based on this win, he should have no trouble winning the first allowance condition next out.
He is bred to get two turns as well so there are many options for the Spawr stable.
SILVER MOJAVE (May 9): Five year old mare for Mike Puype had not been to the post since August
of last year up in Northern California, but she surfaced here Saturday in a starter allowance non winners
twice at six and half down the hill. Off at 7/1 in a full field, she sat in third down the hill just 4 lengths off
the pace. She went after the leaders at the top of the lane, then Baze sent her inside for the drive, which
may have not been the best footing. She came in third beaten a long neck at the wire, but she may have
been best in here, as the two who finished ahead of her were on the outside with perhaps better footing.
This daughter of McCann’s Mojave shows up every time and rarely throws in a bad race. She likes the
turf and has never been worse than second in 3 tries over the lawn. She has hit the board in 9 of 13 starts
and has all of her conditions available. Look for Puype to find the right spot in her next trip to the post.
Tab and follow.
BRONZE STAR (May 9): Three year old colt for Jerry Hollendorfer came back to the races from six
months of down time in Saturday’s 7th event, a first condition allowance race at six furlongs on the main
track. Off at 8/1 in a full field of 13 runners, he lay mid pack down the back stretch about 5 lengths off a
pretty good pace. He made his bid turning for home but had no chance of catching a speed horse over a
speed laden surface that hit the finish line in 1:09 flat. “Star” closed steadily under Smith and was beaten
about 4 lengths at the wire. This was just his 4th career start and he will do his best work around two
turns. Look for the “Dorf” to stretch him out next time and this $500k Keeneland purchase will get the
job done and polish off this condition. He has the makings of a stakes horse later on this year.
May 12th, 2015 by John Scheidt
Springtime showers hit the Great Race Place this past week and created a strong inside speed bias
on the main track Friday. Early speed was still dominant on Saturday but the inside/outside evened
out. On Sunday the track was back to playing fair once again. The turf course played fair throughout
the week. A 67/1 shot took the night cap Sunday and triggered a pick six c/o of $129,769 into this
Thursday’s card. The Super High Five also carried over to the tune of $27,421. Through the first 3
weeks of the Spring/Summer meet, favorites have been winning at a 31% clip, 28.57% on the main
track and 36.67% on the turf.
• They ran three graded stakes over the weekend and favorites won two out of three. Kentuckian
($4.00) took the Grade 3 Laz Barrera stakes on Sunday at 7 furlongs on the main track for 3 year
olds. He ran the distance in a quick 120.97, won by six going away under Mike Smith, and will be
even better when they stretch him out to two turns. He is owned by Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms as
he completed a stakes double over the weekend. His Bal a Bali took the Grade 3 American stakes at
a mile on the turf Saturday, with an electrifying turn of foot late at a flat mile on the turf. He had
won 11 of 12 down in South America and was odds on in 10 of those starts. He was every bit as
good as advertised and Porter plans to race both horses on this circuit this year. Hollendorfer trains
Kentuckian, who will go next in the Affirmed stakes at a mile and a sixteenth on June 6. Richard
Mandella trains Bal a Bali, who will go next in the Shoemaker Mile on June 13, a Grade 1. Both
trainers are in the Hall of Fame and it’s hard to imagine either of these horses losing next time out.
The big race on Saturday was supposed to be the Grade 1 Vanity at 9 furlongs on the main track and
pit Beholder vs. Warren’s Veneda. But Beholder spiked a fever two days prior to the race and had to
be scratched. That only left 4 horses in the race and they sent “Veneda” off at 1 to 9. This mare had
won 3 straight stakes, but is a stretch runner who needs a decent pace in front of her to be effective.
She didn’t get it on Saturday, as wise old Mike Smith slowed the pace to a crawl on My Sweet
Addiction, and easily wired the field at $11.20. “Veneda” didn’t even get second and the place prices
came back at $17.20 and $22.00 in a four horse field. This outcome really wasn’t that hard to predict
and every once in awhile, we get it right.
• There are no graded stakes this weekend at Santa Anita. They will hang their hat on the Preakness
Stakes at Pimlico this Saturday, in order to create excitement at the track. As of Monday, it looks
like a small field for the race as Pletcher is on the fence with both Carpe Diem and Materiality.
Pletcher hates to bring a horse back in two weeks or less, has only done it 14 times in his career, and
is 0 for 14 when doing so. It’s hard to imagine Dortmund or Firing Line running any better than they
did in the Derby, and yet “Pharoah” still has some room for improvement. The newcomers aren’t
much, Tale of Verve and Bodhisattva, and will be outsiders in the wagering. Danzig Moon, who ran
fifth in the Derby is in, and has a chance to hit the board. I do like Materiality if he goes, as he had a
horrible trip in the Derby, yet still finished well to get sixth. It’s definitely Pharoah’s race to lose, and
at 4 to 5, one cannot play him to win. It may just be the kind of race to sit and watch, and then root
for a Triple Crown winner. After all, Baffert has won 5 Preakness stakes, and this could very well be
• Growing up in Southern California as a teenager, I had two things I wanted to do on the weekend.
Either play golf or go to the track, and I didn’t really have the money for either of them. One day I
hooked up with a person on the back nine at Ontario National (it was called Whispering Lakes at
that time), and his name was Bud Johnston. He and his parents owned a breeding farm called Old
English Rancho, not far from the course. He invited me to visit and I was overwhelmed by the
beauty and magnitude of his ranch. Bud passed away in his sleep this past week at the age of 77. Old
English Rancho was the leading breeder in the State of California 13 different years and they sired
over 200 stakes winners, including Eclipse award winner Acclimation in 2011. Bud was a neat guy.
May God rest his soul.
May 4th, 2015 by John Scheidt
MOONS OVER ME (May 1): Three year old filly for Jim Cassidy made her first start of the year in
Friday’s second, the Ultra Fleet stakes at six and a half down the hill. Off at 36/1 in just a six horse field,
she broke with her field and settled in last but was just 5 lengths off the pace. She put in her run at the 1/4
pole, then got fanned 7 wide on the cross over onto the dirt, re-rallied again at the 1/8th pole to finish
strong and just miss by a head. This was her first start on the grass and she is bred top and bottom to
excel on this surface. She has never been two turns as well but is bred to get at least a mile. She just has a
maiden win in her 3 starts so Cassidy has all kinds of options. This one is a runner and she will be in the
winners circle in the near future. Tab and follow.
THE CLEANERS (May 1): Five year old gelding for Mike Machowsky had been off 9 months and
returned Friday in a sprint for older horses, non winners of 3 lifetime, carrying a $16,000 price tag. He
made the running right from the start from the advantageous outside slot, put away the other speed
turning for home, and hung in doggedly down the lane to miss by a half. He had worked well for his
comeback and has many conditions available to him. He has the kind of speed that can wire a field and
he has performed well on the turf as well. This was just his 12th career start so he should have a good
year in front of him for 2015. Tab and follow.
DIAMOND MAJESTY (May 2): Three year old colt for Patrick Biancone tried the 75K Desert Code
stakes on Derby Day at six and a half down the hill for three year olds. Breaking from the
disadvantageous rail slot, and off at 9/1, he volleyed for the lead from the inside, put the other speed
away at the top of the lane, and dug in gamely to miss by a head at the wire. His normal style is to sit and
rally from off the pace, but the rail forced his hand on Saturday, and he should resort back to his normal
pattern next time. He still has the first allowance condition available as his lone win was a maiden, and
that was accomplished down the hill. This one is sitting on a victory for the low profile Biancone barn.
MOTOWN MEN (May 2): Six year old gelding for Ted West has found a new dimension since being
claimed two starts back. He tried the Grade 3 Precisionist stakes on Saturday at a mile and a sixteenth on
the main track for older horses. Off at 7/2 in a 9 horse field and breaking from the 9 hole, he showed
good speed to track the leaders into the clubhouse turn. The fractions were good early at 22.88 and 46.11
for the half. Motown was very tractible and relaxed on the outside, and was only 3 back down the back
side. He moved to challenge at the top of the lane and put in a game rally to finish third beaten two and a
half at the wire. This one was a solid front runner with his previous connections but has learned to relax
and come from off pace recently. He has burned both allowance conditions but is eligible for the third
condition and can be very competitive in ungraded stakes. Tab and follow.
May 4th, 2015 by John Scheidt
The main track played fair at Santa Anita 3 out of the 4 days last week with the exception being on
Friday where rally wide closers had a pretty big advantage. For the most part the track has played
fair throughout the Winter and Spring and the early pace determines most of the winners. The turf
course continues to play fair and now early speed gets more than their fair share of winners. They
had a good crowd on hand at the track on Saturday with 25,486 patrons going through the wickets.
Trainer Richard Mandella got his 2000th victory when his charge, Catch a Flight ($4.60), won the
Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes at two turns on the main track. Trainer Richard Baltas continues to roll
and his good Cal Bred filly, Spanish Queen ($8.00), got the money on Sunday capturing the Grade 2
Honeymoon stakes for 3 year old fillies at 9 furlongs on the lawn.
• Of course, it was all about Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday and America’s favorite race, the
Kentucky Derby. Under blue skies and a perfect temp of 75 degrees, they broke the all time mark in
attendance by 5000 people at 170, 513. The previous mark was set in 2012. They also broke the all
time attendance record the day before on the Kentucky Oaks program. Wagering from all sources
also broke the record with over $194 million bet on the Derby program, 4% higher than last year. On
a track that most handicappers said played “fair” throughout the day, the California horses ran one,
two, three in the main event and for the third consecutive year, the favorite won the race. And if you
liked the favorite, and most people did, $7.80 was not a bad price for a horse that many think can
win the Triple Crown. And for the third consecutive race, American Pharoah had a perfect trip
stalking a somewhat slow pace from the outside, and nailing a very stubborn Firing Line in the last
100 yards. Dortmund set a reasonable pace and had no excuses, other than 9 furlongs is not his best
trip. Firing Line got a perfect ride from Gary Stevens, ran a superb race, but at crunch time, simply
wasn’t good enough. Frosted, who ran 4th, was only the closer in the race, and that may be important
in the Preakness. Much of the early speed in the race just didn’t materialize as Ocho Ocho Ocho
never got away cleanly from the rail post and the speedy Stanford was a late scratch early in the day.
The top 3 finishers all plan on shipping to Baltimore to contest the Preakness. New shooters will be
International Star, who was a late scratch for the Derby due to a foot issue, Divining Rod, who won
the Lexington stakes, and speed horse Bodhisattva. I’m sure there will be others from the Derby
lineup who will take a shot as well. Of the 3 Triple Crown races, the Derby is the toughest to win,
primarily because of the size of the field. The Preakness is the easiest of the 3 to win because the
field will be cut in half. With the talent that American Pharoah has, there is an excellent chance he
can capture the second leg, and once again we would be looking at a possible Triple Crown winner.
But this year’s crop of 3 year olds is pretty deep and it’s still a horse race, so I think Pharoah should
be a bet against two weeks from now, especially since he will be odds on in the wagering.
• This week at the Great Race Place there are 3 graded stakes over the weekend, highlighted by the
Grade 1 Vanity for older fillies/mares at 9 furlongs on the main track. Champion Beholder squares
off against the ultra sharp Warren’s Veneda, who has won 3 graded stakes in a row. Unfortunately it
will be a small field, Beholder will be 4 to 5, and based on her last race, she probably won’t be
beaten. The better race will be the Grade 3 American stakes for older runners on the grass at a flat
mile. Bal A Bali, winner of 11 of 12 in Brazil, makes his U.S. debut for Richard Mandella. This one
has been favored at odds on in 10 of his 12 starts, so he obviously is a runner. Other contenders in
the race will be Grade 1 winner Winning Prize for Drysdale, recent winner Talco from the good
John Sadler barn, and the fast closing Gabriel Charles for Jeff Mullins. Sunday’s card will be the
Grade 3 Laz Barrera stakes for 3 year olds at 7 furlongs on the main track..
April 27th, 2015 by John Scheidt
GOUYEN (April 24): Four year old filly for Mark Glatt had zero luck going for her in Friday’s jaunt
down the hill for state bred fillies/mares in for the first allowance condition. Off at 7/2 in an 8 horse field
and adding blinkers for the first time in her career, she jumped out of the gate and dueled for the lead
down the hill with the outside filly. Gouyen took up halfway down the hill when the outside horse came
over on her, but regained her run and was back challenging the lead turning for home. She did bump into
another horse at the top of the lane, but dug in gamely down the stretch to prevail by a half at the wire.
She was disqualified and placed fifth for the bumping incident in a gross misjustice, as the other horse
wasn’t going anywhere to begin with. The other one ran fifth and the bumping would not have created a
better placing for her. Gouyen has now had 3 trips down the hill and finished first twice and second by a
nose in the other. The blinkers did help her and she will win this condition next time out, if the Stews
don’t take it away from her.
WAR ACADEMY (April 25): Only 4 went to the post in the second race Saturday when a late scratch
shortened the field, and Baffert had two of the four remaining. “Academy” went off as the 6/5 choice in
this second allowance condition sprint on the main track, which also had an optional claiming tag of
$62,500, of which he was entered. He basically toyed with this field as he went wire to wire under
Espinoza with soft early fractions of 22.59 and 45.61. However he ran the last 1/4 in 23.09 and shut the
door on the field. He may be ready for stakes competition as he went off as the favorite in the 2013
Arkansas Derby. He can go short or long and with his breeding (Giant’s Causeway, out of an A.P. Indy
mare) he is probably better going long. Trainer Emily Mode dropped the claim slip. Up the ladder.
SWEET (April 25): Three year old filly for Richard Mandella made her second career start and first
going two turns in Saturday’s sixth, a flat mile on the turf for fillies/mares 3 and up. Off at 6/1 in an 11
horse field, Sweet lagged early and was last into the first turn, was still about 9 lengths back at the half
mile pole, and was even further back at the 1/4 pole. However she put in a nice rally down the lane but
was still beaten 5 lengths by a wire to wire winner. She is bred top and bottom for the grass and for a
distance of ground, and she will only get better under the patient handling of Mandella. She hasn’t needed
Lasix yet but may get it in her next start. She should be able to find a field she can handle in the very near
future as this was a huge improvement over her debut. Tab and follow.
RULE HE WILL (April 25): Four year old gelding for Mark Glatt tried the first allowance condition
for Cal breds sprinting on the main track in Saturday’s 7th event. Off at 2/1 in a 9 horse field loaded with
early speed, “Rule” could not make the early lead and had to sit in 4th down the back side. This was his
4th career start and the first time he had not made the lead early. There was light rain falling most of the
afternoon and a strong inside speed bias was in place. Coming out of the 8 hole, “Rule” was caught wide
most of the way, but he put in a good run down the lane to get second in the very fast time of 1:08.28. He
was beaten 4 lengths, but it was a very good race racing against a double bias throughout. With his
tactical speed and on a fair race track, he can knock out this condition very soon.
April 27th, 2015 by John Scheidt
Santa Anita kicked off their Spring/Summer meet this past week and they had trouble filling races.
Many of the fields were just 5 and 6 horses, and then on Sunday they could only come up with 8
races where they normally have 9. Their response was that a lot of horses shipped out of town along
with many riders as well to pursue other venues, but I’m not sure that was the right answer. They are
planning 9 races for this Friday, where they would normally have 8, and then 11 on Saturday for
Derby Day, so we’ll see how that goes. On the main track, inside early speed was quite strong on
both Friday and Saturday, but then played very fair on Sunday. They did get a light rain most of
Saturday afternoon and that tightened up the track, and there were two six furlong clockings of 1:08
and change. It took the stewards six full minutes to determine the photo in the Grade 3 Wilshire on
Sunday and by an eighth of an inch, they gave it to Blingismything ($7.40). Smoove It ran too good
to lose and that may be the closest photo I have ever seen by not calling it a dead heat. But Bling
was best as she had to come through down on the inside, which is always deeper on this turf course.
She will go next in the Grade 1 Gamely stakes on Memorial Day. On Saturday, trainer Darrell
Vienna put the blinkers on Si Sage, and he romped home at 42-1 to capture the Grade 3 Last Tycoon
stakes, and spark a c/o in the pick six. The horse to take out of this race was the distant runner up,
Ganesh, and both of them will probably come back in the Grade 2 Whittingham stakes at a mile and
a half on May 24, with the latter having the edge at that distance.
• All eyes will be on Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky this week with the Kentucky Oaks on
Friday and the Run for the Roses on Saturday. On both days we will have our selections for both
races and the Santa Anita card available by 6:30 PM PST the night before. Santa Anita will have an
early first post that day of 11:30 AM with a proposed 11 race card. The highlight will be some very
good older horses such as Blue Tone and Catch a Flight in the Grade 3 Precisionist stakes at a mile
and a sixteenth on the main track. I’m a Chatterbox will probably go favored in the Kentucky Oaks,
but trainer John Sadler is sending a very sharp horse east in Stellar Wind, and if she handles that
track, she is the one to beat. Puca for Bill Mott gets a long look as a long shot in that race. The
Derby looks like it’s American Pharoah’s to lose, as he has done everything so effortlessly in both
his races and his works. Espinoza just sits on him and never asks him for run. He’ll probably have to
ask him this Saturday as he has never seen 20 horses in the same race before. The post position draw
on Wednesday will be crucial. Right now, both Firing Line and International Star have flown under
the radar and both look like “live” long shots. The latter has more qualifying points than any horse in
the race. Dortmund is not only undefeated in six trips to the post, but one of those victories was over
the Churchill Downs strip. This is the strongest group of three year olds I have seen for this race in
many a year. Once the morning line odds are determined and the post positions are drawn, we’ll put
the “Osterman” formula to work and see what we come up with.
• Del Mar has completed the installation of their new dirt track, replacing the polytrack that had been
in place for at least eight years. The same dirt, known as “El Segundo” sand, is now in place on all 3
Southern California surfaces, i.e. Santa Anita, Los Alamitos, and Del Mar. The new surface will be
open for training on May 26 in advance of Barrett’s two year old sale May 28. 31,000 tons of dirt
have been installed at a cost of about $5 million. Del Mar opens their 7 week meet on Thursday,
July 16, and will have some of the best thoroughbred racing in the nation.
• Santa Anita’s on track attendance Sunday was 7046 patrons. That little track up North, called
Golden Gate Fields, had 10,848 on hand and put together a very nice 9 race program. I guess racing
isn’t dead up North after all.