July 27th, 2015 by John Scheidt
SAVINGS ACCOUNT (July 22): Four year old turf filly for Tom Proctor tried the second allowance
condition on Wednesday at a flat mile on the main track, which had been favoring speed all day. Off at
even money in this 7 horse field, she was kept well off the pace under Mike Smith, a good 6 to 7 lengths
behind the pace setter down the back side. She started her move just past the 1/4 pole, engaged the leader
at the 1/8th pole, and gradually pulled away at the wire to win it by a half. This was an extra good race
for this filly as she favors the grass, and it was tough to overcome speed on the main track Wednesday.
She won this race strictly on class. Proctor should have her back on the grass next time and she is ready
for stakes competition. Up the ladder.
BRIMSTONED (July 25): Four year old gelding for Tom Bell got gelded and dropped in class in
Saturday’s opener and was the easiest of winners at 4/1. Coming off a brief freshening, Brimstoned broke
with the field in this maiden $50 claimer at six and a half on the main track, challenged for the lead at the
1/4 pole, then promptly opened up six at the head of the lane and cruised home under a hand ride. He has
lots of options now for his connections and will probably return in a starters race, non winners of two. Up
KISS AT MIDNIGHT (July 25): Three year old filly for Richard Baltas tried the Fleet Treat stakes on
Saturday for $200k at 7 furlongs on the main track for Cal bred 3 year old fillies. Off at 7/1 in a six horse
field, she broke with the field early, then settled in just off the pace. She made her move to contend at the
1/4 pole, stuck her nose in front turning for home, then just got outrun late to finish second by two
lengths at the wire. This filly now has hit the board in all 7 of her starts and still has the Cal bred first
allowance condition available. She is sitting on a victory and though the Baltas barn has been cold lately,
they should find a winning spot for this daughter of Decarchy in the very near future. Follow.
DRESSED IN HERMES (July 25): Two year old gelding for Janet Armstrong made his debut in
Saturday’s sixth event, a maiden special weight for two year olds on the main track at six furlongs. Off at
10/1 in an 11 horse field, “Hermes” broke a step slow and then was bumped sideways at the start to be
away last. His rider, Valdez, got him to the outside to avoid the kickback by the half mile pole, and then
he put in an eye opening move 5 wide around horses, to stick his nose in front at the top of the stretch. It
was a huge move, but he was done after that and coasted in 4th beaten 5 lengths. With a better start he
could have been right there and the effort should help him immensely. Armstrong doesn’t win too many
with her small barn but she has a runner on her hands with this one.
RARE CANDY (July 26) Two year old colt for Dave Hofmans made his second career start in
Sunday’s 5th, a mile on the turf for maiden special weights. Off as the 2/1 choice in a field of 10, he
made the running right from the start and set a comfortable lead through early fractions of 23.51 and
48.68 for the half. Two opponents came to him at the 1/4 pole, but he had plenty left, pulled away late
under a hand ride to win by two and a half at the wire. It’s not easy to go wire to wire on this turf course
at a mile, but this son of the good sire Twirling Candy, made it look easy. Hofmans knows what to do
when he has a good one. Allowance races won’t fill at this time of year for two year olds, so look for
“Candy” September 5 in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf. He’ll be tough in there.
July 27th, 2015 by John Scheidt
There are two weeks in the books at Del Mar with six to go, and finding winners at this Oceanside
track are becoming increasingly difficult. They installed a new dirt surface this year, and though it
has the same ingredients as the Santa Anita track, they are totally different. It might be that Del Mar
sits on the ocean and that Santa Anita is so far inland, but whatever it is, they are different. The first
two days of the meet the track played “fair.” The times were slow and the track was deep and tiring,
but there was no bias. Then the rains came over the weekend and the track never did dry out on the
inside. Coming into Sunday, the inside was dead, and jockeys were steering their mounts off the rail,
even when they were on the lead. The rail post at six furlongs was 0/34 and it was not the place to be.
When handicapping, you just threw out the one horse in sprints. That all changed on Sunday as 3
winners went wire to wire from the rail. Now the two year old Songbird made some sense, as this
filly is a star in the making and just outclassed her field, but the other two were upsets at $22.20 and
$10.80. So much for the “dead” rail. At least you could count on the turf course, where closers were
having their way in two turn races. Then came Sunday. They had 3 one mile races on the grass and
the winner went wire to wire in every one of them. So much for the closers bias on the turf. All the
players/handicappers were having a tough time, and the pick six was carried over TWICE in the
same week. Going into Wednesday, the two day c/o is $562,765 and should hit $2.5 million. The
Super High Five is also c/o to the tune of $25,486. And the “suits” who manage this place just love it.
Nothing improves the handle more in Southern California than a pick six c/o, and if it’s a double c/o,
all the better. Odds on favorites have won just once in six tries at the meet.
• They ran the San Diego Handicap on Saturday, a Grade 2 prep for the Pacific Classic in late August,
and they had some “stars” show up. But the race was sort of “ugly.” Bayern, who won the Breeders
Cup Classic last year was the favorite. But he never got a breather from Appealing Tale and never
really handled the track. He finished third and the improving Catch a Flight got the money at $8.40,
but he was life and death to catch “Tale” in the final jump. The time was slow and it looked like they
were all staggering to the wire. Appealing Tale was the most impressive, but he is not a mile and a
quarter horse and will target the 7 furlong Pat O’Brien on August 22 for his next start, and he will be
tough in there. The Pacific Classic looks like it’s prime picking for an Eastern shipper this year.
They ran the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at six furlongs on the main track Sunday and Masochistic, who is
the best sprinter on the West Coast was bet to 2 to 5. He had a perfect trip sitting behind a fast pace,
took the lead at the head of the stretch, and looked like an easy winner. But Hollendorfer’s Wild
Dude got to him late at $24.60 and Masochistic had to settle for second. I don’t know if it was the
“tiring” track that got to the favorite or if trainer Ron Ellis ran him back too soon, but Masochistic is
the better sprinter. If they meet in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship in September, Masochistic
• This week they run the Clement L. Hirsch, a Grade 1 for fillies/mares on the main track Saturday
and Beholder will be the heavy favorite. Six will challenge her with the main contenders being
Warren’s Veneda, Sam’s Sister, and the 3 year old, Stellar Wind. Bob Baffert’s Gimme Da Lute
heads up Sunday’s feature at 7 furlongs on the main track for Cal breds with a $200,000 pot.
American Pharoah will run in the Haskell this Sunday in New Jersey and will have only 5
• Some rules make no sense in racing and the over whipping of a horse down the stretch by a jockey is
one of them. The racing office is handing out fines daily to the riders for whip violations in the range
of $200/$300. But it won’t change, as it is more important for a rider to win a race than to pay a
$200 fine. Once again, the California Horse Racing Board doesn’t have a clue about how to operate
racing in this State. And as Sonny and Cher used to say, “The Beat Goes On.”
July 20th, 2015 by John Scheidt
HOT LIGHTNING (July 16): Three year old gelding for Vann Belvoir finally got his chance to go two
turns and ran huge in Thursday’s 7th event, a starter allowance race for non winners twice who broke
their maiden for $50,000 or less. Off at 6/1 in a full field of runners, he broke well to set the pace, but
never got a breather the entire trip. He put the other speed away at the 1/4 pole, but then had to hold off
the late runners and was extremely game the entire length of the stretch. He got nailed right at the wire
but it was a very impressive performance. Belvoir always does well at this meet and this one is sitting on
a victory as long as they keep him at two turns. He’s “single” material next time out.
FINEST CITY (July 16): Three year old filly for Eric Kruljac made her debut in Thursday’s ninth, a
maiden special weight event for fillies/mares 3 and up on the main track at six furlongs. Off at 33/1 in a
12 horse field, she made the running from the 12 hole right from the start, and contended for the lead
throughout under Nakatani. She stuck her nose in front at the top of the lane and continued gamely down
the stretch, but got nailed very late to lose by a half. They paid $85k for her at the Keeneland yearling
sale and being by City Zip, she is bred to win early. Kruljac rarely has all the screws tightened in their
debut and does much better second time out. She should get her diploma at this meet.
RAMONA’S WILDCAT (July 17): Four year old filly for Doug O’Neill is rounding to form and she
tried the second allowance condition on Friday at 5 furlongs on the grass for fillies/mares 3 and up. Off at
10/1 in a 10 horse field, she broke well but was pretty much void of any speed and quickly fell 7 lengths
off the pace. Jockey Alex Solis kept her wide all the way and took the overland route turning for home
and she was a good six to seven lengths wide. She kept to her task but couldn’t catch the favorite and was
beaten 3/4 at the wire. O’Neill has been trying her in stakes which are just too tough for her, and five
furlongs on the grass is a tad too short for her. But her dirt races are good and as long as he keeps her at
this allowance condition, she can find the winners circle. Tab and follow.
UNCLE LINO (July 18): Two year old colt for Gary Sherlock made his debut in Saturday’s third event
at 5 furlongs over a sloppy race track for maiden juveniles. Off at 15/1 in a “salty” group of 8 debut
runners, he broke a step slow, but quickly engaged the 4/5 favorite for the lead. He put him away at the
top of the lane then gamely held off a filly on the outside, but then got nailed in the final jump. This son
of Uncle Mo brought $52K at the Keeneland yearling sale and he is cut out to be a runner. He tipped his
hand with a strong 46.6 gate drill on July 5 and he won’t be a maiden much longer. Should get his
diploma at this meet.
DREAMY ART (July 19) Two year old filly for Adam Kitchingman made her debut in Sunday’s sixth,
a five furlong dash on a sloppy track that was as dead as can be. Off at 15/1 in a seven horse field,
reduced due to late scratches, she made the running but couldn’t keep up with a very fast Baffert runner,
who was the even money favorite. She got close to her at the top of the lane, but the favorite pulled away
late to win by 4. Still, she beat some awfully nice other fillies, and the winner seems like a monster.
“Dreamy” will break her maiden shortly as she is a runner.
July 20th, 2015 by John Scheidt
Del Mar got off to their normally strong start last Thursday with 40,304 patrons going through the
wickets, but that was 4% less than last year on opening day. Plus they came to party more than
wager as on track handle was down more than 7% vs. last year. However, that’s not a bad thing at
this place as the concession prices are through the roof and there’s plenty of profit to go around.
With Saratoga still a week away from opening, the overall handle was up 2.6% and came in over
$15 million. Throw in the fact that this was the 12th consecutive year that the opening day crowd
surpassed 40,000 and you can see that this is the place to be. What other track in this country can say
that? However, those numbers dropped dramatically over the weekend as Mother Nature got in the
way and dropped a half inch of rain on the track Saturday morning along with thunder and lightning.
The lightning postponed the first race Saturday 15 minutes. And to make things worse, it rained
through most of the Sunday card forcing races off the grass, lots of late scratches, and a sloppy
surface which became difficult to handicap. Southern California just doesn’t get rain at this time of
year, ever. But this was the remnants of Hurricane Delores coming up from Mexico and hitting the
San Diego area pretty hard. The horses out here just aren’t use to thunder and lightning, and many of
the humans are not as well. Management had to be proud however as both the main track and the
turf course held up well. The track played “fair” the first two days and then early on Saturday, there
was a pro-speed bias for the first 5 races. But after that, the track played fair on Sunday and the
second half of the program Saturday. They rated the turf course “yielding” but that was incorrect as
it was “good” both days and the times were very good considering the amount of rainfall. Three
races were taken off the grass Saturday and two on Sunday. Attendance on Saturday was 12,609 and
was up to 14,952 on Sunday; not bad considering both afternoons were rainy with plenty of
• The stakes races did stay on the grass over the weekend and both were won by stretch runners
putting in powerful moves to overtake the front runners. Gabriel Charles won the Grade 1 Eddie
Read on Saturday coming from well off the pace to pay $11.40 for trainer Jeff Mullins, who won 4
races the first week. Then on Sunday, Santiago Gonzalez, who won 4 races on the day, came from
dead last for Jim Cassidy in the Grade 2 San Clemente, and got the money on Prize Exhibit at $9.20.
Mullins also won the opening day feature, the Oceanside stakes for three year olds, with Soul Driver
at $7.80 also coming from well off the pace. So far, the late runners are pretty much prevailing on
the turf. Soul Driver will be pointed for the Del Mar Derby at the end of the meet.
• The rain should be over for the meet as racing begins again this Wednesday with a very good stakes
race on tap called the Wicker. It is for older runners at a mile on the grass and the field is pretty
evenly matched throughout 11 runners. We’re siding with Footstepsinbronze, and he should be a
decent price because there is no stand out in the race. There are two stakes on Saturday led by the
Grade 2 San Diego which is a mile and a sixteenth on the main. Bayern, who won the Breeders Cup
Classic last year heads up that field, but he is no slam dunk by any means. Baffert will also run
Hoppertunity there as this is the prep for the Grade 1 Pacific Classic in late August. Then there are
two stakes on Sunday headed up by the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at six furlongs on the main track for
• It’s funny how things in life always have a way of working out. In last week’s column, we were
criticizing the principle owner of California Chrome for totaling mismanaging the 2014 Horse of the
Year. Now we learn he will return to Art Sherman’s stable at Los Alamitos in 90 days and be trained
to race in 2016, after recovering from a bruised cannon bone. Sherman is excited as can be to have
his stable star back and you can bet he will make a fine handicap runner out of him, including the
Pacific Classic right here at Del Mar.
July 14th, 2015 by John Scheidt
Del Mar kicks off their 76th season with full fields and a ton of excitement. The opening day card
with 10 races, averaged 12.2 horses per race and Friday’s card is just as full. For the first time in 9
years they have a pure dirt surface for the main track and it is the same dirt, the El Segundo Sand” as
they have at Santa Anita. The turf course has had another full year to mature and last year’s issues
should be behind them. First post will be 2PM on all days but Fridays, where they will stick with the
8 race card and a first post of 4PM. Papacoolpapacool and Soul Driver head up the field for the
Oceanside stakes on Thursday with 10 other three year olds in a very contentious race. Rafael
Bejarano is back to defend his riding title against a room full of talented riders along with a
newcomer, James Graham from the Midwest. They anticipate another overflow crowd on Opening
Day with around 44,000 going through the turnstiles.
• Why is Del Mar so popular? First and foremost, they have the best dates. July and August are prime
“vacation” months for thousands of horseplayers. Secondly, they have the location. Sitting right on
the Pacific Ocean, just 25 miles north of San Diego, they get the cool breezes off the ocean each and
every day. Third, they know how to market their product. “Cool As Ever” is their slogan and they
have re-branded their audience as a “social scene”, not a race track. It’s become a place to go and
hang out with friends, and while you’re at it, bet on a few ponies. Get this, 70% of their attendance is
between 18 and 49 years of age, and 45% of their attendance are women. What other race track in
the world can boast those statistics. They have found success with their Summer concert series as
well as craft beer festivals. They are one of the great success stories of North American
• It’s been reported this past week that California Chrome has a bruised cannon bone and will
probably not race the rest of the year. He is in Chicago, as he was preparing for the Arlington
Million on August 15, after not being able to race in Europe due to a bruised foot which occurred in
training there. This horse has been as poorly managed by his principle owner, Perry Martin, as
anyone could deem possible. Art Sherman, his California trainer, has never been consulted to where
or when he races, and is primarily responsible for making him the champion that he is. Sherman, a
class act all the way, certainly deserves better.
• Triple Crown winner American Pharoah next race will be at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, the
Grade 1 Haskell stakes for 3 year olds on Sunday, August 2nd. The track is going all out for his
arrival and is planning a three day Pharoah Phan Phestival. Trainer Bob Baffert has won this race 7
times and he will probably win it again this year, as “Pharoah” is up to 5/8 in his drills and shows no
wear and tear from the Triple Crown. They are predicting a crowd of 60,000 on August 2. If all goes
well, he will probably race at Saratoga in the Travers at the end of August and stay with three year
• Trainers to watch at Del Mar on what they do best: 1. Mike Puype is deadly in maiden races for Cal
breds. In the last 5 years he is 12 for 50 with a positive ROI of $3.07 at Del Mar. 2. Peter Miller is
11 for 26 when he debuts maidens in a claiming race with an ROI of $4.17, see Friday’s opening
race. 3. Bob Baffert with first time starters in maiden special weights at 3/1 or lower. He is 15 for 32
with a positive ROI of $2.20. Follow the money with Baffert and it may make for some nice
“singles” in the exotic wagering format.
June 29th, 2015 by John Scheidt
GETOFFMYBACK (June 26): Two year old colt for Mark Casse made his debut in Friday’s sixth
event, a five furlong dash on the main track. Drawing the rail slot in a full field and off at 5/1, he got
wiped out at the start as both the two and the three horse came over on him bumping him hard. He was
last and fell a good 8 lengths off the pace, which is difficult to make up at 5 furlongs. Talamo did a good
job of getting him to the outside at the top of the stretch and he put in an impressive run to get 4th and
was only beaten two at the wire. This son of Good Journey had worked well coming into his debut and
probably would have won this race with any other post position. He ran the last quarter in 24 flat which is
pretty good for a two year old at this time of year. He should get his diploma at Del Mar.
JOVITA’S TUFFY (June 27): Five year old gelding for Javier Sierra had been away from the races for
7 months and returned in Saturday’s opener, a sprint on the main track for a claiming price of $10,000.
Off at 20/1 in a 7 horse field, he broke running from the six hole to contest the early pace, made his bid
turning for home, and rallied gamely in the lane to just miss by three parts of a length to the 2/1 favorite.
He came into this race “protected” from the claim price with the CHRB ruling and his works were better
than average. He beat “open” claimers for double this price last year and seems to have come back better
than ever. He likes this dirt surface and with Del Mar having the “same” dirt mix this year, he should do
well at the seaside. Sierra can hold his own when competing in the claiming game on this circuit. Follow.
SMOOTH ROLLER (June 27): It has taken awhile for this four year old gelding for Victor Garcia to
make his debut, but it was worth the wait as he was most impressive in winning Saturday’s fifth event, a
maiden special weight at 7 furlongs on the main track. Bet down to 2/1 from a morning line of 6/1, he
relaxed nicely off the pace down the back side about six lengths from the leaders. Baze found a seam at
the top of the stretch and he burst through it, wore down the leaders, and won going away by two and a
half. They paid a $160K for this son of Hard Spun at the Keeneland yearling sale three years ago so it
will take awhile before they are “out” on him, but he looks the type that will only get better as the
furlongs get longer. Up the ladder.
WHERE WAS EDDIE (June 27): Three year old colt for Ben Cecil made his debut in Saturday’s finale
at six and a half down the hill for Cal Bred maiden special weights. In a full field of sprinters, “Eddie”
actually went off as the wagering favorite at 2/1 off a series of sharp 5 and 6 furlong drills. He went right
to the front and set all the interior fractions of 21.57 and 43.72 while having two other runners lapped on
him. He put the other speed away at the head of the lane, found another gear to open up a length, and
then was caught very late at the wire by two others to miss by a head in a blanket finish. This son of In
Excess is bred to win early and bred to run on any surface. His next start will probably be at Del Mar and
he won’t be a maiden for very long, regardless of what surface Cecil puts him on.
June 29th, 2015 by John Scheidt
Santa Anita’s long 27 week Winter/Spring, Spring/Summer meet came to an end this past weekend
with two very good 10 race programs. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah paraded between the
7th and 8th race on Saturday and all fans in attendance got a good look at this outstanding race horse.
On track attendance was up over 9000 people vs. the corresponding Gold Cup day last year,
however on track handle was actually down a tad. That means the “newbies” who came out to see
Pharoah simply watched but didn’t wager. Hopefully they liked what they saw and will be back
another day to put some dollars through the machines. The all-sources handle overall was strong and
topped last year by almost $2 million. 27 weeks of continuous racing takes it’s toll on both the main
track and the turf course, and the maintenance crew at Santa Anita did an excellent job of
maintaining both surfaces in tip top shape. For those that like to bet on favorites, chalk players were
in their glory as favorites won at a 40% clip throughout the meet, 7 points above the National
average. In the money favorites were at 74% while odds on favorites won at nearly 90% for the meet.
Rafael Bejarano once again easily won the riding title by 12 wins over Tyler Baze with Joe Talamo
third. Two other riders who had outstanding meets were Fernando Perez and top turf rider Flavian
Prat. On the trainers side, both Peter Miller and Doug O’Neill each won a race closing day and were
deadlocked at 22 wins apiece. The best turf trainer on the circuit, Phil D’Amato, had an outstanding
meet and was third with 20 victories. Other trainers with outstanding meets were Richard Baltas,
Richard Mandella and Eddie Truman.
• They ran 4 graded stakes on Saturday with the Grade 1 Gold Cup highlighting the card. Hard Aces
at $17.80 slipped through on the fence to catch 8/5 favorite Catch a Flight, then had to hold off a
furious rally by Hoppertunity to prevail by a nose. The fractions were awfully fast early and set the
race up for the closers. Overall the field was fairly weak for a Grade 1 and the final time portrayed
that fact in 2:02 and change, on a track playing very fast. Shared Belief missed the race recovering
from an injury and California Chrome is on a world wide tour trying to become a grass horse. The
top 3 finishers will now aim for the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in late August. For the second time
this month, trainer John Sadler and his owners, the Hronis brothers, won an all fees paid trip to the
Breeders Cup in Keeneland October 31 with their victory. The other Grade 1 on the card was won
by a true Grade 1 horse and that was the Triple Bend stakes at 7 furlongs on the main track. The
even money favorite Masochistic toyed with this field and won easily in race horse time of 1:20.25
by three and a half lengths. Trainer Ron Ellis, who has had this horse for such a short time, has
really been able to get him to relax early. Tyler Baze never really asked him to run till the 1/8th pole
and he had plenty left in the tank. His long term goal is the Breeders Cup Sprint on October 31 but
will race once or twice at Del Mar, either the Bing Crosby on July 26 or the Pat O’Brien stakes on
August 22. Hard knocking speedster Fanticola ($10.20), took the Grade 2 Royal Heroine on
Saturday at a flat mile on the turf. She has been knocking heads with the best fillies/mares on this
circuit recently without getting a victory, but she put it all together Saturday for top turf trainer Phil
D’Amato. She also will be racing at Del Mar this Summer. Ed Moger’s classy mare, Stormy Lucy,
ran a good third in here at 10/1 after being on the sidelines for about 8 months.
• The circuit now moves to Los Alamitos for two weeks starting this Thursday. We will NOT be
doing selections for this two week meet, as we will gear up for a terrific 8 week meet at Del Mar
with opening day on Thursday, July 16. Del Mar races five days per week while it’s only 4 days the
rest of the year. We will be notifying you of the costs for Del Mar’s selections by email or a “flyer.”
• Texas Red, who won the Breeders Cup Juvenile last year at Santa Anita, had his final work over the
weekend and will ship East this week to run in the $500,000 Dwyer stakes at Belmont on the 4th of
July. Keith Desormeaux trains this 3 year old and is part owner as well. Brother Kent will have the
June 22nd, 2015 by John Scheidt
URLOVENEVERFAILS (June 19): Three year old filly for Jerry Hollendorfer made her debut in
Friday’s opener, a maiden special weight event at the tough distance of 7 furlongs on the main track. Off
at 2/1 and the second choice in the wagering off a solid set of drills, she broke with the leaders early, then
settled in off the pace about 3 lengths back. She moved to contend at the 1/4 pole, stuck her nose in front
at the 1/8th pole, but then was out gamed by the favorite late and lost by 3/4. All in all it was an excellent
debut and this Tommy Town runner won’t be a maiden much longer. Although she’s bred to be just a
sprinter, she has the look of a runner that can get two turns as well. Tab and follow.
PERDONA (June 20): Three year old filly for Peter Eurton made her second career start in Saturday’s
5th event, a maiden special weight sprint at 6.5 furlongs on the main track for fillies/mares. Off at 3/1
from a morning line of 8/1, she showed good speed from the inside but was hooked every step of the
way. With the late scratch of the one horse, she ended up on the rail on a day when it was better to be on
the outside. She ran well till the 1/8th pole, then gave it up and finished fifth beaten 6 lengths. Her debut
wasn’t any better as she had a very rough trip that day. She cost $250K at the Keeneland yearling sale
and she is cut out to be a nice filly, by the good win early sire Blame, the conqueror of Zenyatta. She just
needs a good draw and a clean trip and she should be able to get her diploma. Most of Eurton’s stock has
to be raced into shape and this one will still offer good wagering value.
SOUL DRIVER (June 20): Three year old colt for Jeff Mullins had been off for 3 months and tried the
Singletary stakes on Saturday at a flat mile on the lawn for 3 year olds. Off at 7/2 in a full 12 horse field,
he relaxed nicely down the back side a good 10 lengths off a fairly quick pace. He took the overland
route on the far turn and with a quick turn of foot, exploded to the lead and opened up quickly under
Gary Stevens. He won easily by 5 and was geared down the final sixteenth. This race sets him up nicely
for the 3 year old series down at Del Mar with the Oceanside stakes on Opening Day, the La Jolla
Handicap on August 9, and then the Del Mar Derby on Sept. 6, all 3 races for 3 year olds on the grass.
This one likes the turf and when he gets a clean trip, he’s an awfully nice colt.
MADAME AAMOURA (June 21): Three year old filly for Bob Baffert made her 11th start Sunday in
an attempt to break her maiden and it was to no avail. However, after a brief freshening, she ran a much
better race and she looks like the diploma could be in sight. Off at 11/1 in an 8 horse field at a mile on the
lawn for maiden special weights, she broke running and was amongst the leaders into the clubhouse turn,
although she was 4 wide. She picked up the tempo considerably at the half mile pole and quickly opened
up 3 on the field. The winner caught her at the 1/8th pole but she dug in down the lane and was beaten
2.5 lengths at the wire finishing third. All in all, it was an improved performance and she may be sitting
on a win at Del Mar. Baffert, who has lousy stats on the turf, figures to keep her on the grass and she may
be able to win at nice odds. She has been 11/1, 9/1, 15/1, and 11/1 in her last 4 starts.
June 22nd, 2015 by John Scheidt
With just one week to go in the long Santa Anita meet, which started way back on December 26,
both the turf course and the main track continue to play fair, and continue to hold up very well. They
“aerated” the turf course once again Sunday morning as warmer weather continues to tighten up the
course. The temp has been above 90 in the afternoons for most of this past week. They are also
using the course quite a bit as they continue to card 4 turf races per day.
• The only graded stakes over the weekend was won by the 2/5 favorite Stellar Wind, but she didn’t
win like a 2/5 choice as she was life and death to prevail over Tara’s Tango, a Turfdom Best Bet at
9/2. “Tango” stuck her nose in front at the sixteenth pole and for a second it looked like she would
win, but “Stellar” showed her class and got up by a whisker right at the wire. Both fillies are going
for the big money later on this summer, as both are pointing for the $1 million Cotillion stakes in
Pennsylvania at Parx Racing. The companion stakes race on the Saturday program was called the
Singletary stakes for 3 year olds at a mile on the grass, named for the former Breeders Cup winner.
Soul Driver, with Gary Stevens up, rallied from well off the pace and was an easy winner at $9.20
for trainer Jeff Mullins. He will be pointed for the 3 year old series at Del Mar starting with the
Oceanside stakes on Opening Day, July 16. He made our HTW list off this impressive performance.
• As mentioned earlier, this will be the final week of racing at the Great Race Place. We will be taking
two weeks off as the circuit moves to Los Alamitos the following Thursday, but will be all geared
up for the opening of Del Mar on July 16. Santa Anita will end with a flourish this week with 4
graded stakes on Saturday headed up by the Grade 1 Gold Cup at a mile and a quarter on the main
track. They have 9 confirmed for this race as of Monday morning and the field will be headed up by
Catch a Flight, who just won the Grade 2 Californian. Other contenders will be Moreno, 2nd in the
Santa Anita Handicap to Shared Belief, Motown Men, who recently won the Tiznow stakes,
Majestic City, coming off a win in the Grade 3 Lone Star Handicap, Finnegans Wake, a graded
stakes winner on the turf, and salty runners such as Hard Aces and Big Cazanova. Baffert is on the
fence with Grade 1 winner Hoppertunity. Also on tap will be the Grade 1 Triple Bend stakes at 7
furlongs for older runners. That field will include Masochistic, Wild Dude, Sahara Sky, Appealing
Tale, and San Onofre among others. Older fillies/mares will be in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine at a
mile on the turf, and that field will include Blingismything, Birdlover, Alexis Tangier, Famous Alice,
Fanticola, and Queen of the Sand. That may be the best wagering race of them all. The Grade 3
Senorita stakes rounds out the stakes program. On closing day, Sunday, they will have the San Juan
Capistrano at mile and three quarters on the grass for older runners. Ashleyluvssugar would be the
favorite in this race, but instead is heading East to Monmouth Park for the Grade 1 United Nations
worth a half million dollars on July 5. Gary Stevens will keep the mount and travel with her.
• In the jockey colony, both Rafael Bejarano and Gary Stevens changed agents this past week.
Stevens was understandable as he was sharing the same agent with Tyler Baze, and Baze seemed to
be getting the better mounts, but Bejarano’s departure from Joe Ferrer is a bit more puzzling.
Bejarano continues to dominate all the meets he rides in and Ferrer has always been an excellent
agent. Tora Yamaguchi is the new agent for Bejarano. Steven’s agent will now be Ron Ebanks, who
has been out of racing for the last 3 years.
• Everybody is trying to lure Triple Crown winner American Pharoah to their race track for his next
few starts. Del Mar is “exploring” the possibility of a $5million bonus if he runs in the Pacific
Classic on August 22. If he does, he will have to face older horses. My guess is that he goes East and
stays with 3 year olds for his next two starts, the Haskell at Monmouth August 2 and then the
Travers at Saratoga on August 29. The colt’s owner, Ahmed Zayat, lives in New Jersey.
June 15th, 2015 by John Scheidt
LONG HOT SUMMER (June 12): Three year old filly for Phil D’Amato went back to the turf for her
5th career start in a first allowance condition race down the hill for three year old fillies. Off as the heavy
wagering choice, she made short work of this field winning off by 4 under a hand ride. Talamo never
asked her until the 1/8th pole, then she opened up quickly on the field. She has never tried two turns but
this daughter of Street Boss should be able to get at least a mile. As long as D’Amato keeps her on the
grass, this Cal bred is ready for stakes competition. There is nothing for her until Del Mar, but she should
have a profitable long, hot summer!!
WONDERFUL LIE (June 13): Four year old filly for Dan Blacker had been away from the races for 11
months, and tried the first condition allowance for Cal breds in Saturday’s opener at a flat mile on the
main track. Off as the wagering favorite in a short field of five, she broke sharply from the rail to contest
the lead into the clubhouse turn. She then let a speed horse open up by five on the back side, content to
lay second. She caught the leader turning for home and looked liked a winner at the 1/16th pole, but got
caught very late in the race and had to settle for second. This was her sixth career start and she has only
missed the board once. She can go short or long, turf or dirt, and was stakes placed as a three year old.
She looks like she has returned to the races better than ever and knocking out this first condition should
just be a formality. Blacker has a pretty small barn and this filly just may be his star performer.
PICA (June 14): Five year old mare for Peter Miller tried the down hill turf course on Sunday for a
$40,000 claiming tag for older fillies/mares. Bet down from a morning line of 6/1 to 2/1, she engaged in
a pace duel right from the start but rated kindly on the outside through moderate fractions down the hill
under Tyler Baze. She was put to a drive after the dirt cross over and held off all the late runners in a
rather “game” performance to prevail by a neck at the wire. This was just her second start on the grass
and she has run very well in both starts, although not really bred for the surface. She should fit very
nicely in those 5 furlong dashes they have at Del Mar on the lawn. She has a nice combination of speed
and stamina and her career record now stands with 4 wins and 4 seconds from just 13 starts. She was
claimed in this race by the red hot Eddie Truman.
DR. FAGER’S GAL (June 14): Three year old filly for Jerry Hollendorfer, who was bred in New York,
tried the first allowance condition sprinting on the main track for fillies/mares 3 and up on Sunday. Off at
13/1 in a full field, she ran quite well although beaten by six lengths. She broke alertly from the outside,
settled in 6th about 6 lengths back, moved to contend at the top of the lane, but was no match for the
stakes placed favorite, and settled for a distant second. It was 2.5 lengths further back to the third horse.
The time was very fast as the winner finished up six and a half in 1:15.15 and they ran 3/4 in 1:08.65.
“Fager” looks good enough to win this first condition sprinting and this was just her 4th career start. She
may surface at Los Al in 3 to 4 weeks or they may wait for Del Mar. Either way she looks like a “soon”