January 26th, 2015 by John Scheidt
VERRACO (January 23): Three year old colt for Jim Cassidy had never been on the grass and has zero
turf breeding but nonetheless, they gave it a try in Friday’s 3rd race, a first condition allowance for 3 year
olds at a flat mile. Off at 6/1 in an 8 horse field under Trujillo, he settled nicely in 4th down the back side
about 4 lengths off the pace. Asked to run turning for home, he put in a nice run on the outside and was
finishing best down the lane and missed by just a half at the wire. The winner did bother him in the lane
and the rider called an inquiry but it was not allowed. This was just his 4th career start and this son of
Old Fashioned has a lot more doors open to him now that he has shown a fondness for the lawn. He
broke his maiden on the dirt in a gritty performance and Cassidy has a pretty good runner in his barn. He
should be able to knock out this condition in the very near future. Tab and follow.
PROHIBITION REPEAL (January 24): Four year old gelding for Eric Kruljac made his second career
start in Saturday’s second, a maiden special weight sprint for Cal Breds. Off at 9/1 and breaking from the
disadvantageous rail slot, “Repeal” broke ok but that had to check quickly 50 yards from the gate, as the
two horse came over on him. He then got shuffled all the way back to last and fell 10 lengths off the pace
by the half mile pole. He gradually started to pick up steam from there, started passing horses from the
outside, and then put in a good run down the lane and just missed second by a head. The winner was
gone and won easily by five. This son of Benchmark has some ability and with a better draw next time,
may be able to knock off this condition vs. Cal Breds. Kruljac’s stock always do better as they race
themselves into shape and this barn wins more than their fair share. Good one to follow.
HOME JOURNEY (January 24): Trainer Mike Puype has had trouble getting this 5 year old mare to
the races but when he does, she is one fast “cookie”. She made just her 11th career start in the Cal Cup
filly and mare sprint down the hill on Saturday, and in a field loaded with speed, none could compare
with her. She set fast fractions of 21.20 and 42.80 and was still clear at the 1/8th pole, but couldn’t hold
off one late runner and had to settle for second, beaten a length. She likes the turf and will surely get
another chance down the hill and still has the third allowance condition available. She is probably the
quickest mare there is stabled at this track and can win on the dirt as well. If Puype can keep her in one
piece, she can find the winners circle once again.
GROUND RULES (January 25): Three year old colt for Clifford Sise mad his debut in Sunday’s 4th, a
maiden special weight event at 7 furlongs. Off at 22/1, he got bumped badly at the start, steadied, and
was away in last. He then dropped off the radar and was at least 15 lengths back at the half mile pole.
However he kept to his task and put in a mild rally down the lane and finished mid pack beaten 10
lengths. Being out of Smart Strike, he definitely has the look of a two turn horse and I wouldn’t be
surprised if Sise stretched him out in start #2. His works were decent coming into his debut and I think
he’ll be in the winners circle in the near future. One for the stable watch.
January 26th, 2015 by John Scheidt
The main track played fair this past week in the fifth week of the long Santa Anita meet, which
extends all the way to June 28. However on the turf course, with the rails all the way in, 6 of the 7
winners came from well off the pace and the other winner, Alert Bay, was just off the pace in the
Cal Cup Classic. The turf rails are moved back to 24 feet out for this Thursday and Friday. Racing
returns to it’s normal 4 day week, Thursday through Sunday, and will stay that way until mid
• Saturday’s racing at the Great Race Place was very good with 5 stakes races totaling over $1 million
up for grabs for California bred horses. The Nor Cal horse, Alert Bay ($7.80), won the Classic at 9
furlongs on the grass, but had to survive a long inquiry for a bumping incident in the stretch. I think
the Stewards made the right call leaving him up as G.G. Ryder appeared to be out of horse, when
Alert Bay came over and took his path away at the 1/8th pole. Jockey Tyler Baze wasn’t as fortunate
as he was suspended 3 days for not maintaining a straight course. Alert Bay has now won 5
consecutive races and the connections are looking to the Kilroe Mile on Big Cap Day for number six.
Go West Marie ($13.00) won the Filly/Mare sprint coming down the hill Saturday under a clever
ride by Gary Stevens. “Marie” was 12/1 on the morning line and got bet down in half. Home
Journey set very fast fractions in this race and was ultra impressive in running second. Acceptance at
1/2, stopped on the far turn with no apparent excuse and Mischief Clem ($25.60) took over from
there and won the Cal Cup Derby under Kent Desormeaux, who is having an excellent meet. 75% of
the show money in the race was on Acceptance and as he finished 4th, the show payoffs in the race
were $13.40, $10.80, and $14.80 respectively. On Sunday, Pure Tactics came from well off the pace
($14.40) and won the Clockers Corner stakes at 6.5 furlongs down the hill. Both Hay Dude and
Sweet Swap, 2nd and 3rd respectively, both had tough trips in this 12 horse field and may have been
• Good racing continues this weekend with two Grade two races and a Grade one on Saturday, then
the Grade 2 San Vicente on Sunday for 3 year olds. Grade 1 winner Big Macher heads up the field
for the Grade 2 Palos Verdes for older sprinters on Saturday. He scratched out of the Cal Cup sprint
this past weekend when he drew the rail. He is hooking some real speed in this race with Distinctiv
Passion who is very quick along with Bob Baffert’s Chitu. Wild Dude, the very sharp Chief Lion,
Secret Circle, and Conquest Two Step make up the rest of the field. Chief Lion can win this race at
about 10/1, as he is razor sharp right now. Entries will be drawn on Wednesday. The Grade 1 on
Saturday is the Las Virgenes at one mile on the main for 3 year old fillies and the probables are
Achiever’s Legacy, Fantastic Style, Majestic Presence, Maybellene, Mio Me, Miss Mandate, and
Rainha Da Bateria. Then on Sunday, Breeders Cup winner Texas Red, makes his 3 year old debut in
the San Vicente squaring off against horses like Conquest Harlanday, Lord Nelson, Magic Taste,
Punctuate, Serbian Syclone, Sir Samson, and Tizcano. Trainer Keith Desormeaux plans on bringing
Texas Red back in 3 weeks after the San Vicente, shipping to New Orleans for the $400,000 Risen
Star at a mile and a sixteenth. So even though Texas Red will be favored on Saturday, this race is
just a prep for the race at the Fair Grounds, which means they won’t be going all out to win. The
other graded stakes on Saturday is the Arcadia, for older runners on the grass, a Grade 2 at a flat
mile. Avanzare, Kaigun, Home Run Kitten, Talco, and Za Approval head up the field.
• Rafael Bejarano didn’t win a single race over the weekend, but still has a healthy lead in the jockey
standings, 24/16 over runner up Kent Desormeaux. Tyler Baze is third with 13 wins. There is just a
two way race for leading trainer and Jerry Hollendorfer leads Peter Miller by 3, 15 to 12. “The
Dorf” also leads all trainers in money won in the Country at just over $1.3 million through Sunday.
January 20th, 2015 by John Scheidt
RADIANT JOURNEY (January 16): This 4 year old filly for Phil D’AMato is all race horse. She
made just the third start of her career in Friday’s third race, coming down the hill for the first allowance
condition for Cal breds. In all 3 of her starts she has been unfortunate to draw the rail post, but has
overcome that obstacle with a win and two seconds, all on different surfaces. On Friday, she was off at
3/1, got a decent trip coming down the hill while laying just off the speed, then had traffic trouble at the
top of the stretch. However she did get to the outside, rallied to clear, then could not hold off the favorite
on the outside very late. It was yet another good performance and this daughter of Good Journey can
easily win this condition and venture up the ladder. She’s a real trier!!
BLINGISMYTHING (January 17): Five year old mare for Eric Kruljac gives a good account of
herself every time to the post, and it was no different in Saturday’s 75k Megahertz stakes for older
fillies/mares at a mile on the grass. Off at 7/1 in a 10 horse field, she laid 4th down the back side but was
only about 3 lengths off the pace. Desormeaux kept her on the rail all the way around and at the top of
the lane, he had plenty of horse but nowhere to run. Every time he tried to slip through on the inside, the
front runner, Fanticola, would close the hole. She ended up second beaten a neck, but was much the best.
This was her 7th lifetime start and she has only missed the board once. She is capable of at least Grade 3
quality and is generally underrated on the tote board. She could come back in the Buena Vista, a Grade 2
on February 16, and she would be tough in that mile race.
JEAN EDWARD (January 18): Four year old filly for Kathy Walsh made her third career start in
Sunday’s opener, a sprint on the main track for maiden special weights. Off at 6/1 in a 7 horse field, she
showed good speed early to make the running, then settled in third down the back side. She moved into
contention at the 1/4 pole and sustained her rally to the 1/8th pole, but had no answer for the even money
favorite and she was a well beaten second. However, she’s a Cal bred, and she was facing “open”
company today, and these are much tougher. Look for Walsh to place her back with Cal breds next time
out and with her combination of speed and stamina, she should be able to nab that diploma. Pedroza fits
her nicely. Tab and follow.
CODED MESSAGE (January 18): Three year old filly for David Hofmans made her debut at the
bottom in a $30,000 claimer Sunday at five and a half furlongs on the main. Off at 5/1 in a full field of
runners, she broke a step slow from the gate, then rushed up a bit by Pedroza, then got shuffled back
some down on the inside. She got going again at the 1/4 pole, moved to the outside, and finished pretty
good to get second, but was no threat to the winner. She was training well coming into her debut and
though no monster, she will get a lot out of this race, taking dirt in the face, etc. Hofmans will probably
keep her at the bottom and she should be able to break through with this kind in the very near future.
January 20th, 2015 by John Scheidt
With five race days this past week due to the Holiday, Santa Anita has just 3 race days this week.
Friday has an 8 race card, Saturday has a 10 race card highlighting California breds called Cal Cup,
and then Sunday has a nine race card. There will be an early post on Saturday of 12 noon. After
rains hit the area the previous week and cancelled most of the turf racing, this past week has been
absolutely perfect with temps in the low seventies and sunny skies. The main track played fair the
entire week and the turf course also started to play fair, as there were a number of wire to wire
winners late in the week.
• There were 3 important stakes this past week and leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer won two of the
three. He is not only leading the meet in wins but he now has 7 stakes wins in just 4 weeks. He is the
best!! Sam’s Sister came from off the pace Monday and won the Grade 2 Santa Monica as the 6/5
favorite, and then on Saturday, Thegirlinthatsong ($15.00) got the money in the Grade 2 La Canada
for 4 year old fillies on the main track. The one stakes The Dorf didn’t win was the ungraded
Megahertz, at a mile on the grass for older runners, fillies/mares. Martin Garcia took Fanticola wire
to wire at $16.20 and held off the late charges of Blingismything and Rusty Slipper.
• Saturday will be a great day of racing with 5 stakes races totaling $1million in purses for Cal breds.
There will be full fields and many good wagering opportunities. Sheer Pleasure heads up the field
for the Oaks in race 5 and that man Hollendorfer has two contenders in Light One and Heat the
Rocks. The undefeated and untested Acceptance heads the field for the Cal Cup Derby in race 6. In
race 7, 14 fillies/mares are coming down the hill in the Filly/Mare sprint and the field has such solid
runners as Home Journey, Velvet Mesquite, Go West Marie, Doinghardtimeagain, Kathleen Rose,
and Heat Trap. Big Macher, who ran in the B.C. Sprint, heads the field in race 8 for the Cal Cup
Sprint, and although he has Bejarano and may be the best horse, he drew the dreaded rail and is far
from a “gimme”. Rousing Sermon (Hollendorfer) could be the upsetter. And then comes the Classic
at 9 furlongs on the grass, with such hard knockers as Alert Bay, Big Bane Theory, and Awesome
Return. A full field of 12 are slated to run. An excellent day of racing which looks like it will lead to
a pick six c/o.
• The Eclipse Awards were handed out last Saturday in Florida and California Chrome easily won
best 3 year old of the year and then just as easily, was voted the Horse of the Year. For Horse of the
Year, Chrome had 143 votes compared to just 53 for Main Sequence, the runner up. Bayern, who
won the Classic, was a distant third with just 36 votes. I’m never been a fan of trainer Bob Baffert,
but he showed a bit of class when asked about the voting results. He stated, “Bayern just never had
much of a following. Chrome deserved the award. The writers got it right.” Baffert did win best two
year old with the undefeated American Pharoah. Jockey Victor Espinoza, who was never considered
for an Eclipse award, was the regular rider for 3 winners on the evening; i.e. California Chrome,
American Pharoah, and two year old filly champion, Take Charge Brandi.
• Fairplex Park in Pomona, which closed for racing this past Summer, is now officially closed for
training as well come February 15. Many of those horses stabled there will be moved out to Galway
Downs in Temecula which can handle up to 400 horses. The only problem with that is Temecula is
way out near Palm Springs, and nowhere close to Santa Anita Park.
• The three top freshman sires in the country for 2014 in money won were, Quality Road, Super Saver,
and Lookin At Lucky. Keep that in mind when trying to handicap those tough maiden races with lots
of first time starters.
January 12th, 2015 by John Scheidt
INTERJECT (January 9): The word was out on this 4 year old filly for Neil Drysdale in Friday’s
opener, a mile contest for maiden special weights on the main track for older fillies/mares. This daughter
of Empire Maker was making just her second start in the U.S. and quickly opened at 3/5 and stayed there
through much of the wagering. She broke a step slow from the gate, was last early by about six lengths,
but when Bejarano asked her for run at the 1/4 pole, she inhaled the field and went onto to win by six.
Bejarano never touched her with the whip once. It was visually an impressive performance and although
this wasn’t that strong a field, this runner looked like stakes material. She will probably go through her
allowance conditions and will be a short price once again, but she is “single” material next time you see
her in the entries.
BLUEGRASS REWARD (January 9): Seven year old gelding for Javier Sierra is a hard knocker who
has been up and down the claiming ranks on this circuit. Coming off a good second at Los Al for
$12,500, he was moved up in class Friday to $16,000 and faced 7 other older runners at a mile and a
sixteenth on the main track. Off at 6/1 he had a good trip early laying third right behind the leaders. But
when they turned for home, the bug boy Pena tried to slip through on the rail where there was no room,
and “Reward” had to check twice and lost momentum. He finally swung him out at the 1/16th pole but
the leader was gone and he had to settle for second beaten a length. He easily galloped out past the
winner and was much the best today. It was poor decision making by the bug boy as he had room at the
top of the lane to get him to the outside, and he had plenty of horse. “Reward” likes this track and has 4
wins and 3 seconds here from 12 starts. Look for Sierra to wheel him back quickly and find the right race
as he is very sharp right now. Be ready!!
WILD AT HEART (January 10): Three year old filly for Richard Mandella made her debut in
Saturday’s second event for maiden special weights at six and a half on the main. Off as second choice in
the wagering to the 4/5 favorite “Glory”, she got away well at the gate and settled in third down the back
side just 2 lengths off the leaders. Asked to run at the 1/4 pole, she made a run at the leaders, but the 4/5
favorite had too much left in the tank and “Heart” couldn’t get to her down the lane. She checked in
second beaten two lengths in the good time of 1:15 flat. It was 10 lengths back to the third horse!! Sired
by win early sire Indian Charlie, she cost $450K at the Ocala two year old sale and she looks like she has
a good future. She’s in great hands with Hall of Famer Mandella and she figures to get her diploma next
trip to the post.
SECRETO PRIMERO (January 10): Three year old for Mike Machowsky, who was making his 1st
start since being gelded, ran an improved race Saturday in a maiden special weight field of 3 year olds on
the main track at six and a half, that was taken off the turf due to some light rain. Off at 4/1 in a 9 horse
field, he showed good speed out of the gate under Espinoza and dueled for the lead from between horses
for 4 furlongs. Put the other speed away at the 1/4 pole and then dueled the length of the stretch, still
down on the inside and lost a photo by a lip. He simply ran too good to lose but lose he did. Machowsky
has a good one here and he won’t be a maiden much longer.
January 12th, 2015 by John Scheidt
The rains came to Southern California over the weekend and five of the six grass races were
cancelled and switched over to the main track. On Sunday, this resulted in 22 late scratches on the
card. The main track favored early speed and 7 of the 9 races Sunday were won in wire to wire
fashion. But the rains have now moved eastward and this week’s racing should be fast and firm. Bob
Baffert’s Hoppertunity won the Grade 2 San Pasqual on Saturday and came from well off the pace to
do it. He was heavily favored at 4/5 coming off a Grade 1 win at Churchill in the Clark Handicap.
He only earned a 94 Beyer Saturday but he won by 4 and he was visually impressive. He was my
pick for the Kentucky Derby last year until injuries caught up with him just prior to the first
Saturday in May. With stable mate Bayern suffering a quarter crack this week, Hoppertunity may
just take his place on February 7 in the San Antonio vs. Chrome and Shared Belief. Earlier in the
program, Peter Miller’s good 3 year old Calculator ($3.20), won the ungraded Sham stakes in
spectacular fashion and earned a Beyer of 97 drawing off by 5 in the lane after being wide most of
the way. This was the first stakes for 3 year olds on the Derby trail and although Calculator was a
maiden coming into this race, he was second in two Grade 1′s as a two year old. The Santa Anita
Derby is his goal and he will have one race prior to that, probably the San Felipe on Big Cap Day,
• There are two stakes races this week with the Grade 2 La Canada for 4 year old fillies at a mile and a
sixteenth on the main track Saturday. Lexie Lou, who beat the boys in the Queen’s Plate at
Woodbine heads up the field, and other contenders will be Colonel Joan, who was third in the
Breeders Cup, Jojo Warrior, Ramona’s Wildcat, and Thegirlinthatsong. On the fence for this race are
Sam’s Sister, who won the Grade 1 La Brea opening day, and the undefeated Dancingthenightaway.
With special Holiday racing Monday, Martin Luther King Day, and a 5 day race week, the Grade 2
Santa Monica at 7 furlongs is the highlight race. Global Hottie, Harlington’s Rose, and My Sweet
Addiction head up that field for older fillies/mares and both Sam’s Sister and Dancingthenightaway
are also considerations.
• California Chrome worked a strong 3/4 in 1:11.60 Saturday at Los Alamitos as he continues toward
his showdown with Shared Belief and possibly Bayern February 7 in the San Antonio. He is going
awfully good right now and will be hard to beat but that race is still 4 weeks away. Bayern did
develop a quarter crack, they patched it up, but he did miss a drill. “Belief” continues to train
forwardly up at Golden Gate Fields.
• With 3 weeks in the books, Rafael Bejarano leads the jockey standings with 13 wins, no surprise
there. Tyler Baze is second with 10, and Kent Desormeaux and Elvis Trujillo each have 9. Peter
Miller won twice Sunday and is now tied with Hollendorfer with 9 wins apiece, and nobody else is
close in the trainer standings. Although Baffert won with Hoppertunity on Saturday, he is just 2 for
27 so far at this meet.
• Trainer Robertino Diodoro is the first trainer fined $750 for not noting that a horse has been gelded
prior to the entries. As you have probably noticed, horses that have been recently gelded are now
appearing in the Racing Form for the first time ever, valuable information for handicappers.
However, research has been done across the Country, and only 8% of all horses gelded win in their
next outing. That’s a surprisingly low figure. The CHRB is kicking around the notion that the horse
be scratched if trainers fail to report this change, but that is just talk at this stage.
January 7th, 2015 by John Scheidt
Today, more than ever before, thoroughbred horse racing has more competition from other forms of
gambling in the history of the sport. Many fans and players throughout the country complain that the
takeout is just too high for horse racing, so whatever gambling dollars they have available to them, many
would rather allocate those funds elsewhere such as casino gambling, lottery, online poker, etc. This has
led me to some in-depth research on the subject. I wanted to see where all that money goes and who has
their hand out for over 20% of the wagering dollar. I took last year’s Del Mar meet, which consisted of
37 days and had one of the highest daily handles in the country. The California Horse Racing Board
provided these figures. Total handle for the meet exceeded $342 million and here is a breakdown of
where the money ended up. Overall, 79.2% was returned to the bettors, meaning the overall takeout was
20.8% for all wagers. Some wagers had takeouts of just 14%, while others were as high as 26%; the
overall average was 20.8%. Of that amount, or $71,136,000, were distributed to the following parties:
1. THE HOST TRACK: Del Mar took 4.8% to put on the program. That consists of maintaining the
premises in park-like fashion, paying employees, and all other costs absolved in putting on a first
class meet. Very little money could be cut from this percentage.
2. PURSES FOR HORSEMEN: This totaled 5.3% and large purses are required to have full fields
and top horses. Del Mar does an excellent job of having full fields, which is what handicappers
want the most. No room to cut here.
3. IN-STATE SATELLITE WAGERING: The track paid 1.7% to have their signal simulcast to
about 25 locations within the State of California and 30% of the total handle came from these
locations. This is money well spent for the signal. No cutting here.
4. INTERSTATE LOCATION FEES: This is the biggest cut at 7.4% of the wagering dollar for 212
locations out of state, which handle the Del Mar signal. These locations make up only 23% of the
overall handle. If ever there was an area to have the takeout reduced, this seems the most likely.
I could not find the breakdown of this 7.4% as it relates to the Federal Government but because
this revenue is handled interstate, they must have their hand in there somewhere.
5. STATE OF CALIFORNIA: The state takes .7% and this is primarily for the California Horse
Racing Board, which operates on a lean staff. There is very little (if any) to cut here.
6. BREEDERS AWARDS: The California Breeders get .4% to pay out for Cal Bred awards
(winners bred in CA). This should be increased, not decreased.
7. WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: Workers comp insurance and equine research make up the
final .5%. This figure will be hard pressed to stay at this percentage, as insurance costs are
getting out of hand for everyone.
As you can see, it’s very difficult to lower the takeout in any one area without hurting the overall
program that the track is unveiling. The 7.4% for interstate location fees seems quite high when you
consider it only makes up 23% of the overall handle. The rest is bare bones necessity. The key is to
find wagers where the takeout is minimal, such as win wagering (15.3%, one of the lowest in the
nation) and the players pick 5 (at just 14%). These two wagers give average fans the best chance at
January 5th, 2015 by John Scheidt
AIRFOIL (January 1): Five year old gelding for Vladimir Cerin had been freshened up since mid
August and made his comeback in Thursday’s 7th, a sprint on the main track for the second allowance
condition. Off at 5/1 in a 9 horse field, he broke well but then was void of any early speed and quickly
fell 8 lengths off the pace down the back side. He started to move at the top of the lane, but on a track
favoring early speed, he just had too much work to do. He did find his best stride inside the sixteenth
pole and only missed by a half at the wire in a very good comeback race. Airfoil likes this track and has
now finished in the money in 9 of 11 starts right here. He just needs to lay a bit closer to the pace or find
more of a fair race track and he can knock off this condition. Talamo fits him nicely and I think he can
find the winners circle in the very near future.
HAY DUDE (January 2): There are bad rides and then there are those when the rider is so confident in
his mount, he literally falls asleep at the switch. The latter certainly fits this 5 year old gelding for Phil
D’Amato, who was making his third start off an 11 month layoff in this non winners of three allowance
other than in Friday’s sixth at a flat mile on the grass. Off at 4/1 in this 9 horse field, “the Dude” settled in
well off the pace as three others sat ding donging on the front end through fast splits. They backed up at
the 1/4 pole and Dude swept to the lead on his own and Desormeaux never moved a muscle. However
Nakatani had Mega Heat in full gear now and by the time the jock woke up on Dude, it was too late and
the favorite won by a half. It’s certainly no disgrace to lose to a horse who has won 7 times out of 9 races
at a mile on the grass, but this race belonged to Hay Dude. If D’Amato makes a rider switch, and he
really should, this gelding can easily win this condition. Tab and follow.
MAKENA (January 3): Three year old filly for Scott Hansen made her debut in Saturday’s 4th, a
maiden special weight at six and a half down the hill. Off at 14/1 in a full 12 horse field, she was
unfortunate to draw the rail, the worst possible post for this race, and she broke very slowly and was dead
last just 50 yards out of the gate. But Baze wisely got her off the inside and she rushed up and was in
contention by the time the field hit the dirt crossing. She then dove to the inside and finished quite
gamely on the rail to get third beaten two and a half lengths. She might have been best in here
considering the start and the poor draw. They paid $320k for her at the Barrett’s two year old sale and
being a daughter of Pioneer of the Nile, she is cut out to be a nice prospect. I’m sure she will be just as
effective on dirt and I don’t think she will be a maiden for very long.
CALLBACK (January 3): You won’t see many Baffert runners go off at 17/1 in a dirt sprint stakes, but
that was the case Saturday in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez stakes at six and half furlongs for newly turned 3
year old fillies. Callback broke well but couldn’t keep up early with the leaders over a speed favoring
surface. She kicked it in at the 1/4 pole but never could get to the pace setter and settled for second
beaten two lengths at the wire. This filly is on the improve and will probably come back in the 7 furlong
San Vicente on February 1, and that’s a race she can win. This daughter of Street Sense is bred to go long
as well and should have a nice future. Tab and
January 5th, 2015 by John Scheidt
With two weeks of racing in the books at Santa Anita there are some definite trends in place with
regards to track bias. The main track made up of “El Segundo Sand” has favored early speed in 90%
of the races, and so far, deep closers have zero chance of winning. Also the inside has been better
than the outside, especially this past weekend. Will it stay that way? Probably not. The track
maintenance crew hates having any type of bias, and with 3 dark days this week, there is a good
chance that the track will be “dug up”, rolled and harrowed, and made a bit deeper which means
times will be slower. Although the main track has been safe for horses, the times have been way too
quick. In contrast, the turf course has favored late runners in 90% of the races, regardless of the
placement of the inner rails, and that applies to both routes and sprints. The one thing the track does
like is the slew of long shots that have been coming in creating carryovers in the exotic pools. This
past Saturday, Management was in 7th heaven with c/o in the pick six ($87,742), the pick five
($392,388), and the Super High Five ($41,273). All 3 bets were hit on Sunday as form returned to
normal with the Super High Five having the biggest payout at $94,786 to 5 lucky winners. The
betting public added more than $2.1 million to the pick five pool and 3102 tickets cashed for $710
each. There were 25 winning tickets on the pick six at $15,659 each. This type of handle is good for
the track, good for the horseman purses, and anyone else who gets a piece of the 20.8% takeout.
• Finnegans Wake closed strongly to take the Grade 2 San Gabriel stakes on Saturday and yet was
another example of the bias aided course playing to late runners. He had just closed from well of the
pace to win at a mile and a half, was cutting back to a mile and an eighth, and the pace was moderate
to say the least. Yet he still managed to get up and pay $18 under a nice ride from Victor Espinoza.
The other Grade 2 on the program, the Santa Ynez stakes for 3 year old fillies was also bias aided as
Seduire went wire to wire from the rail and prevailed at 4/1. This race was loaded with speed and
Seduire still made the lead from the rail and the bias kept her going. The late runners had no chance.
Finnegans Wake is coming right back for Peter Miller in the Grade 2 San Marcos February 7 at a
mile and a quarter, and is on a pretty good roll. Bob Baffert’s Hoppertunity, who just recently won
the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, heads the field for this Saturday’s Grade 2 San
Pasqual stakes at a mile and a sixteenth. Other runners in the field that look like contenders are
Appealing Tale, Big Cazanova, Blue Tone, Majestic Harbor, and Tonito M. There is plenty of speed
in the lineup and you would normally look for a closer, but not the way the track is playing now.
The first 3 year old race leading up to the Santa Anita Derby, will be the Grade 3 Sham stakes also
to be run this Saturday. Calculator, Lord Nelson, Rock Shandy, and St. Joe Bay head up the cast of
newly turned 3 year olds.
• California Chrome and Bayern both put in strong works over the weekend and are pointing for the
San Antonio stakes on February 7. The recent Malibu winner, Shared Belief, is also going in that
race and it would be great for racing if all 3 make it, a rematch of the Breeders Cup Classic. Baffert
has stated there is a chance Bayern may run in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream on the very same
day. The purses are both a half million and Bayern is 3/3 at Santa Anita, so lets hope he stays here.
The Chrome is working lights out at Los Alamitos and Sherman is still on cloud 9 with this colt.
• Hall of Fame jockey Alex Solis gained his 5000th win of his career at Santa Anita this past
Thursday on yet another stakes winner for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The filly, Lutine Belle, was
19/1 and Alex’s son was part owner of the horse. Apprentice Brandon Boulanger, son of veteran
rider Gary Boulanger, got his first winner at Santa Anita on Saturday. He won the finale and paid
$176.20 to win. Looking at the horses past performances, he was an underlay.
December 29th, 2014 by John Scheidt
HOT LIGHTNING (December 26): Two year old colt for low profile trainer Alfredo Marquez had
nothing but trouble in the opening race of the 27 week season. Off as the 7/5 favorite for Cal Bred
maiden claimers for a tag of $50,000 at six furlongs on the main, he hopped at the start and then was
squeezed between two horses to be dead last just out of the gate. Bejarano then rushed him up and he was
fighting for the lead from between horses by the half mile pole, got bumped at the 1/8th pole, yet still
found another gear late to get second and was only beaten a length. He was just claimed by Marquez for
$32,000 and he fits nicely at this level for 50. He was the best horse today and the bad start definitely
cost him the race. Should be a solid “single” next time out if brought back at this level, especially if
Bejarano maintains the mount.
CONQUEST TWO STEP (December 26): Three year old colt for Mark Casse almost upset the apple
cart in the Grade 1 Malibu for 3 year olds at 7 furlongs on the main track Friday. Off at a robust 70/1 and
having to break from the rail, he got away slowly at the start and was last early after 100 yards, rushed up
on the inside, and was in contention by the far turn. The heavy favorite, Shared Belief, got the jump on
him turning for home but Two Step never gave up and the favorite was absolutely all out to beat him just
a head at the wire. “Two Step” still is eligible for the second allowance condition and has beaten older
horses in the past. Casse is loaded with options with this son of Henny Hughes who has only missed the
board just once now in 9 starts. He has won coming down the hill as well. Tab and follow.
APPEALING TALE (December 27): Four year old gelding for Peter Miller had been off since June,
but has been training really well for his comeback and Miller spotted him in the Midnight Lute stakes
Saturday against some very hard knocking sprinters at five and a half on the main. Off at 28/1 in a 7
horse field, he broke well but was nowhere near the lead as the winner carved out blistering fractions of
21.23 and 42.99 over a very fast surface. He got rolling at the quarter pole, got caught 4 wide turning for
home, was still 4or 5 wide down the lane, but ran on well and was beaten only two at the wire and just
nosed out of second. His best races are going two turns and this sprint sets him up nicely for a mile or a
mile and a sixteenth next time out. He’s no graded stakes horse, but he fits very nicely in many of the
overnight stakes carded at this meet and he still has the third allowance condition available as well. Be
ready for this one in the upcoming entries.
BOLO (December 27): Two year old colt for Carla Gaines tried the 75K Eddie Logan stakes at a mile
on the grass Saturday and couldn’t have been more impressive. He broke quickly from the 11 hole and
pressed a fast pace of 22.41 and 46.33 for the half, then burst away at the 1/4 pole, lengthened his lead in
the lane and won by 5 geared down. Jockey Mike Smith never hit him with the whip at all. I’m not sure
where they will go with him now as all the stakes coming up for newly turned 3 year olds are on the dirt,
and he seems to be strictly turf. But wherever he lands, and it may be out of town, put him on the stable
watch as he is ready for graded company.