July 21st, 2014 by John Scheidt
HAIL MARY (July 17): Four year old filly for Phil D’Amato had been on the shelf for 10 months and
returned on Opening Day in this second allowance condition sprinting on the main track. Off at 5/2 and
coming off a series of strong drills, “Mary” broke running but got caught in a speed duel down the back
side and she was caught right in the middle. The runner on the outside had the best trip and she got away
from “Mary” at the top of the lane, but Hail Mary never stopped trying and came back on to miss by just
a half at the wire in a very “game” performance. She has a good combination of speed and staying power,
plus she won over this track last Summer. She can win this condition for a barn that’s been pretty hot this
year. She is just a cut below some of the top sprinters on the grounds in my opinion and should be posing
for pictures in the very near future.
ANKENY HILL (July 18): Four year old colt for Mark Glatt came back to the races after a 5 month
sabbatical in Friday’s sixth race at 5 furlongs on the turf for the third allowance condition in a pretty
“salty” field. Off at 10/1 in a 7 horse field, “Hill” made the running right from the start and raced close up
to the very fast Rosengold. He put him away at the 1/4 pole, opened up two into the lane, but got caught
very late by the classy Pure Tactics. He only lost by 3/4 of a length and was pretty game down the lane.
This fast sprinter likes the grass and these 5/8 turf events fit his style nicely. He was actually one
condition above his level, as he is eligible for the second allowance condition. Glatt will find the right
spot for this lightly raced colt in the very near future. Tab and follow.
LUCKY J LANE (July 18): Three year old gelding for Richard Baltas made his second career start in
Friday’s finale and gave a good account of himself after being off since last November. This was a Cal
Bred maiden special weight event at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf and he was sent off at 17/1 under
Nakatani. Breaking from the two hole, he had a pretty good trip the entire way and was able to save
ground on all 3 turns. He laid 4th down the back side just 3 lengths off the pace and had a lot of horse
turning for home but had to wait for a seam to open. The leader drifted out at the top of the stretch and
“Lucky” scooted through but got nailed right at the wire by the favorite. It was a strong performance
considering he had been off for so long and it was just his second career start. He took to the turf nicely
and did get gelded as well while on vacation. He’ll be visiting the Winners Circle very shortly for a
strong, yet underrated stable.
FOOTSTEPSINBRONZE (July 19): Three year old colt for Simon Callaghan tried the first allowance
condition for 3 year olds in Saturday’s third event, at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass, but was
unfortunate to draw the outside #11 post. Off at 11/1 and with two quick left hand turns, he had to be
used right out of the gate from the outside, and was done so, to settle in second position early on. He
tracked the pace through fairly quick fractions, assumed the lead turning for home, and then was very
game down the entire length of the stretch to just miss at the wire. This was his first race in 15 weeks and
he ran fairly hard the entire trip in a race he must have needed. Never worse than second in 3 races on the
lawn, this race sets him up nicely to win this condition next time to the post. This one has a lot of talent
and can probably win even if he has to face older. Be ready!!
July 21st, 2014 by John Scheidt
They opened Del Mar on a Thursday this year instead of the usual Wednesday, to try and get
everything in order after the Del Mar Fair, and plus to work on their new turf course, which had been
re-sod and expanded. However, they forgot to put the wax in the main track which seals the
fibres/binders together, and that made it pretty “dusty” out there for the riders trying to come from
off the pace. The wax will be put in on Monday. The main track favored inside speed on both
Thursday and Friday but that changed significantly on the weekend with closers winning their fair
share. The turf course played fair for all 4 days but “deep closers” really had no chance with the
short stretch. The course plays very fast, much like Santa Anita and the grass is cut pretty short for
this early in the meet. The Opening Day crowd was still very good at 42,021 but they were hoping
for 45,000. The overall handle was up 1% but the on track handle was down 3.6% vs. last year. On
the weekend, only one winning ticket each day hit the pick six and the payoff was $167,330 on
Saturday and $125,187 on Sunday.
• The San Diego Handicap, a Grade 2 on the main track at a mile and a sixteenth for older horses, and
a key prep for the Pacific Classic, heads up the card for this Saturday. The field looks to have about
8 runners with plenty of speed signed on headed up by Fury Kapcori, Fed Biz, Imperative,
Footbridge, Frac Daddy, Dance With Fate, Handsome Mike, and Soi Phet. The Fleet Treat stakes for
3 year old fillies at 7 furlongs, a Cal Bred event for $200k is also on the card. Sunday’s action will
feature the 69th running of the Bing Crosby stakes, a Grade 1 for sprinters on the main track.
• Much like Saratoga in New York, Del Mar is the meet out West when many top two year olds are
unveiled. Ones you might want to keep an eye on that individual trainers feel good about are as
follows: Our First Gal (a filly for Sadler), Daddy D T, (a colt for Sadler), Bench Warrant ( a colt for
Sadler that won his debut impressively Saturday and paid 15.00), Achiever’s Legacy ( a filly for
Hollendorfer), Queen of Kings ( a filly for O’Neill), Joshie Hit a Homer ( a colt for O’Neill), Fancy
and Flashy, ( a filly for Miller), Conquest Eclipse and Unbridled Reward (two fillies for Casse),
Educating and Lake Shore Gal ( two fillies for Proctor), Hauler ( a colt for Mike McCarthy), and
finally Long Hot Summer ( a filly for Phil D’Amato).
• Jockey Eswan Flores, who has struggled to get mounts the last couple of months, was suspended by
the stewards for 60 days for failing to show up for a drug test in late June. Flores, 21 years old, has
won just 6 races this year out of 79 mounts.
• Now that opening week has concluded, racing at Del Mar will return to their normal pattern of
Wednesday through Sunday racing for the remainder of the meet. First post will always be 4 pm for
Fridays and 2 pm for the rest of the week. There will be special racing on Monday, Labor Day Sept.
1 as well, making that a 6 day race week.
July 14th, 2014 by John Scheidt
OMAR LITTLE (July 11): Four year old gelding for Mike Puype, who just broke his maiden at the
bottom at Santa Anita, was entered Friday in a non winners twice for a claiming tag of $16,000 at Los Al
at 6 furlongs. With the aid of two late scratches he went to the post as the even money favorite, and on a
fair race track he would have won this condition. But breaking from the inside on a track that was
favoring outside closers all day, he had no chance and had to settle for second. This was just his fifth
lifetime start and he has shown good speed now in his last 4 races. He will probably catch more of a fair
track at Del Mar as he had a “double bias” to overcome here. He can win this condition and advance into
“open” company. This barn always does well at Del Mar and they should be able to get a victory with
SACRED OVATION (July 12): Four year old gelding for Art Sherman, had been on the shelf since
November of last year, but returned with solid drills in a conditioned claimer for $10,000 in Saturday’s
first race sprinting at 6furlongs. Off at 3/5 in just a 4 horse field shortened by late scratches, he made
very short work of this crew in the good time of 1:09.45 and was never asked to run at any point in the
race. He broke alertly to grab the early lead, then settled in off the pace setter, went to the lead on his
own turning for home, and won handily in the easiest of fashion by 3 lengths. Surprisingly, he escaped
the claim box here and can win right back in “open” company at Del Mar. Tab and follow.
SHANIEL (July 12): Three year old colt for Doug O’Neill, who is also co-owner with his brother, made
his debut on Saturday in a sprint at 6.5 furlongs on the main at Los Al. Off at 5/2 and second choice in
the wagering, he broke pretty slow from the gate, then was rushed up to reach contention down the back
side, settled in second chasing the pace setter, got up to terms with him at the 1/8th pole, but then
weakened to finish second by 3 lengths. The slow start and the lack of experience did him in. However
he will get a lot out of this race and will probably break much better in start number 2. They paid $95k
for him at the Barretts sale as a two year old and he had been training forwardly for his debut. He’s a Cal
Bred and he should be able to get his diploma at Del Mar vs. other Cal Breds. Looks to have a good
future ahead of him.
COVEY (July 13): Three year old filly for Ron Ellis made her career debut in Sunday’s sixth event, a
$30,000 claimer for 3 and up at 6 furlongs. Off as the 7/5 choice in just a field of five, as there were two
late scratches at the gate, she got away a step slow and trailed the field down the back side. Talamo found
a seam with her at the head of the lane and she went through it to reach contention, but ended up on the
rail, and was out finished by a perfect tripper on the outside. Covey got the “kiss of death” prior to the
start, by breaking through the gate as well. Throw in the fact that Ellis hardly ever tries with debut
runners and her second place finish was about right. This barn has an excellent win percentage with
second time starters and he will find the appropriate spot at the Seaside for this one. Her sire, Tiz
Wonderful, has terrific win early pedigree. Be
July 14th, 2014 by John Scheidt
Well, the two week experiment for thoroughbred racing at Los Alamitos has been completed and in
my opinion, it was not very exciting, or even successful for that matter. It’s always tough to have
race dates before such a terrific meet as Del Mar, because owners/trainers want to race at Del Mar,
and will ultimately save their horses for that meet. Hollywood Park always struggled the last 3
weeks of their spring/summer meet trying to fill races. But at Los Al, they write cheaper races for the
most part than what competes at tracks like Del Mar, and they couldn’t even attract those horses.
Fans can tolerate “cheap” races, providing they have 9 to 12 horses in them. But the 4 and 5 horse
fields that Los Al turned out day after day was pretty bad. It really resembled the “dog days” at GGF
or some Nor Cal fair meet. If they don’t improve on their product later on this year when they get
another opportunity, Los Al will go back to being just a quarter horse track. My personal
handicapping was very poor at the 8 day meet. I never did get a “feel” for the surface, at least not
until the final day, and by then it was too little, too late. But as Scarlet O’Hara said in the great movie
“Gone With the Wind”, “tomorrow is another day”. Del Mar opens this Thursday and I can already
feel those cool ocean breezes coming in off the Pacific.
• They have 123 horses entered for Thursday’s program at Del Mar, that would be 3 days of racing at
Los Al. Of course, they won’t all run as they have also eligible lists in 7 of the 10 races, but the point
is, they will have full fields, and that’s what attracts the wagering dollar. They will race Wednesday
through Sunday each day with a first post of 2 PM on all days but Friday, which will have a 4 PM
post. Including Labor Day, Monday Sept. 1, they will race 36 days. We will have selections on
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each week, but no Thursdays, with the exception of
Opening Day. And yes grass racing has returned, with a new expanded grass course that can handle
up to 12 horses for two turn races and 10 horses for those 5 furlong sprints. The Opening Day feature
will be the Oceanside stakes for 3 year olds going a flat mile on the turf. They have 13 horses signed
up, only 12 will go, and the field is headed up by Texas Ryano, Home School, Diamond Bachelor,
and Enterprising in a wide open handicapping event. The exciting stretch runner, Caracortado,
returns in a turf sprint on Friday, and top rider Rafael Bejarano has 7 mounts on Opening Day, and I
wouldn’t bet against him in his first race back, which will be aboard Fit to Rule in the first. There are
two stakes races on Saturday, both on the grass, and then Sunday offers the Grade 1 Eddie Read
Stakes for older horses at 9 furlongs on the turf, which will be minus Jeranimo, who just announced
his retirement at age 8. The synthetic surface, the polytrack, will stay in place for both this meet and
the Fall meet in November, and then be replaced with a “dirt” track for 2015. Del Mar will host the
Breeders Cup in 2017.
• In jockey news, Gary Stevens, 51 years young, will be off 6 to 8 months for replacement knee
surgery. His knee has continued to swell up and the time has come to have it replaced. Stevens has
won more than 5000 races in his career and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997. Trainer Mark
Casse will invade Del Mar for the first time and will bring in 36 head, along with his regular rider,
Stewart Elliott, who will ride at Del Mar for the very first time. Elliott is best known for being the
winning jockey on Smarty Jones in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. In other news,
owner B.J. Wright passed away from cancer at age 76 this past week. Wright owned and
campaigned such top horses as Jeranimo, Ultimate Eagle, and Boat Trip. Mike Pender was his
trainer. Boat Trip runs in Friday’s sixth race at 5 furlongs on the turf.
July 7th, 2014 by John Scheidt
MY SLEW (July 4): Six year old gelding for Victor Garcia is very sharp right now and should be
sitting on a big effort at Del Mar in his next start. Off at 2/1 on Friday in this “open” allowance condition
race at the first level, he broke a tad slow and was last in the early going in this 6 furlong sprint, but only
4 lengths off the pace. He was still 5th in a field of 7 turning for home, but put in a good run at the 1/8th
pole down on the inside and just missed by a half length to a Baffert horse that had opened up 3 at the top
of the stretch. This was just his 18th career start and this one can run on any surface, as he broke his
maiden at Del Mar on the synthetic, and then won at 5 furlongs on the grass at Del Mar last Summer.
Garcia claimed him just 2 starts back for 20K and is already “out” on him. Tab for his next start at the
HANDSOME MIKE (July 4): This talented 5 year old full horse for Doug O’Neill has consistently
been misplaced throughout his career in graded stakes that are just too difficult for him. He got the
chance on Friday to run in a non graded stakes at Los Al, the American Flag, and ran a big race though
finishing second. Off at 3/1, he tracked the leaders throughout this race in third place just 2 lengths off
the lead. He found room and swung out wide at the top of the lane and it took another graded stakes
winner to beat him as he put in a solid finish to miss by just a half at the wire. Much like My Slew, he has
won on all 3 surfaces, and he hits Del Mar just right providing O’Neill places him back where he belongs
and keeps him out of those graded events. He hasn’t won since April of 2013, but since that time he has
been in 3 Grade ones, 3 Grade twos, and 4 Grade threes. Definitely worth following.
CAPRAIA (July 5): Three year old filly for Neil Drysdale made her debut in Saturday’s opener at a flat
mile for maiden special weights. Off at 28/1 in an 8 horse field, she broke slowly to be last into the
clubhouse turn, was a good 10 lengths back of the leaders down the back side, but put in a nice rally
starting at the 3/8 pole. Although going pretty wide at the top of the lane, she sustained the rally out in
the middle of the track to finish second, beaten 2.5 lengths at the wire. She was no threat to the winner
who happened to be the favorite, but her style should fit her nicely on the polytrack surface at Del Mar.
She is bred to be a nice filly and Drysdale never has his debut runners fully cranked up anyways. If she
adds Lasix next time, so much the better. Tab at Del Mar.
PRONTEZZO (July 5): Three year old filly for Phil D’Amato made her debut in Saturday’s sixth event,
a maiden special weight event at 6 furlongs on the main track for 3 and up. Off at 9/2 in a 9 horse field,
she broke a tad slow, but was then rushed up a bit to get into contention and was third down the back
side, down on the rail, just two lengths back of the leaders. She found a seam at the top of the lane and
went through the hole under Talamo to challenge for the lead, but then got out finished by a runner who
had already run 3 times in the past. She is bred to win early being out of Exchange Rate and this
experience will do her a world of good. She was a $90K yearling purchase at Keeneland and she hits Del
Mar just right. Her sire is an A+ sire for the poly track. She wins first time out at Del
July 7th, 2014 by John Scheidt
With a week in the books of the “new” Los Alamitos race meet, the caliber of racing and the entries
reminds me very much of a Fairplex meet at Pomona. Although Fairplex is still a “bull ring”, 5/8
mile track, and Los Al is now a full mile, the type of racing seems relatively the same. Other than the
$500k Los Al Derby, which was run on Saturday, this cast of characters is very familiar. The dirt
surface itself seems to be fairly “kind” to most horses although some don’t seem to get a hold of it.
From a bias standpoint, the track plays fair. One can win from on or off the pace, depending on the
early fractions and whether there is any type of speed duel. Many horses have gone wire to wire
when able to secure a 3 or 4 length lead early on. In sprints, the rail is not the place to be, unless one
is quick enough to flee the field and establish that early lead on their own. Half way down the back
stretch, there is a slight right hand turn, something I’ve never seen before. It doesn’t seem to be a big
factor in the outcome of the race, but it does force horses on the outside to go wide into the first turn,
wider than normal. The stretch is undoubtedly long, 1380 feet to be exact, and it is the longest
stretch in the United States. The 1/4 pole is already placed on the straightaway, much like the 1/8th
pole would be on a normal track. Many riders start their moves at the 3/8th pole here and many times
that is premature, because they think that this is the 1/4 pole. Idiosyncrasies such as these give this
track the “County Fair” feel. There is a pick six c/o of $42,460 into this Thursdays card. Oh well,
one more week, and then Del Mar starts.
• As mentioned earlier, they ran the $500k Los Al Derby for 3 year olds on Saturday at 9 furlongs.
They made the champion two year old, Shared Belief, the 3/5 favorite off just one sprint prep at
GGF. Plus he had never raced on real dirt, synthetic only, and he had never traveled as far as a mile
and an eighth. He seemed very vulnerable to me, plus he was facing some pretty solid horses. Didn’t
matter. He cruised around there as easy as can be under Mike Smith and was the easiest of winners.
The time was very good, 1:47, he won by 4, and Smith never touched him with the whip. He is the
“real deal”. He probably has more raw talent than California Chrome, the other 3 year old star that
resides at this track, but he has a long way to go to accomplish what Chrome has already done. But
Shared Belief is a gelding and they will run him as long as he holds together. He has one of the best
trainers in the Country in Hollendorfer and he will be sure to space his racing accordingly. Next stop
will be the Pacific Classic in late August where he will hook up against Game On Dude, Majestic
Harbor, etc. Chrome will not make that race, but I can see Chrome going up against Shared Belief
later in the Breeders Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 1. That would be something.
• Racing is pretty thin this Thursday and Friday at Los Al as many owners/trainers are saving their
stock for Del Mar, and who could blame them. The purse structure is anywhere from 50-70% higher
at Del Mar vs. Los Al. But Saturday and Sunday should be pretty good, as they run a Grade 2 on
Saturday called the Great Lady M stakes at 6.5 furlongs for older fillies and mares. Hollendorfer
could have as many as 4 runners in there headed up by Scherzinger, Top Kisser, and Broken Sword.
Plus they have two hundred granders on Sunday, both for two year olds, and they have plenty of
nominees for both races.
• As mentioned last week, 48 year old Martin Pedroza is back after having a shin injury, and he won
his first race back on Thursday aboard Chattering Class for trainer Peter Miller. Rafael Bejarano is
back working horses in the morning and will be ready to go when Del Mar opens their doors on July
17. Apprentice Drayden Van Dyke, who rides like a journeyman, won the first 4 races on Sunday’s
June 30th, 2014 by John Scheidt
SKY PREACHER (June 27): Two year old colt for Doug O’Neill made the third start of his career on
Friday and found his calling with his first try going two turns and first try on the grass. Off at 3/5 in this 9
horse field of “straight” maiden runners, he made the lead into the first turn but was quickly joined on his
outside by an equally fast Kenji’s Thunder. They raced as a team down the back side through quick
fractions of 22.98 and 46.72 with Preacher down on the rail. But at the 1/4 pole, Preacher put away the
other speed, opened up by 4 very quickly, and then cruised home to win by 7 under a hand ride. It was
visually an impressive performance as he was hooked for 6 furlongs by the other runner. An $80,000
purchase at the Ocala 2 year old sale, and being out of Sky Mesa, he is cut out to be a good grass horse.
Off this race, he could fit right into a stakes race, but there is none for two year olds on the grass until
August 28. Perhaps they will have an allowance race fill before then at Del Mar. Either way, this one has
a good future. Tab and follow.
EVERLOVIN WOMAN (June 28): Three year old filly for unheralded trainer Joe Herrick, made her
debut in Saturday’s 4th event at 6 furlongs on the main track for fillies/mares 3 and up. Off at 23/1, she
broke with the field, then fell way back, and was some 13/14 lengths back of the leaders down the back
side. She put in a nice move at the 1/4 pole, but was still well back, got fanned 7 wide turning for home,
then finished with a flourish to be beaten some 3 lengths at the wire. This filly out of Stevie Wonderboy
can run and there were some decent horses behind her in this race. She should be able to get her diploma
at Del Mar and the experience of this race will help her tremendously. This barn usually gets about one
win every Summer at Del Mar and this could very well be the one. Follow.
SNAPS (June 28): Five year old gelding for Richard Mandella, off since February, tried the first
allowance condition on Saturday at a mile on the lawn and ran too good to lose. Off at 4/1 in a full 12
horse field, he broke running and settled in behind the pace setter down the back side, took over the lead
at the 1/4 pole, opened up a length down the lane and just failed to hold in a driving finish. In a race he
desperately needed, this should set him up nicely for a race at Del Mar at this level. He has a ton of speed
but can be rated as he was today. He’s had his share of health issues, but when Mandella can get him to
the races, he runs. Watch for him in the entries at Del Mar.
CONSCIENCE (June 29): Three year old gelding for Tom Proctor made his debut in Sunday’s 4th
event, a sprint on the main track for maiden special weights, 3 and up. Off at 4/1 in a six horse field,
Conscience broke with the field and had a good trip sitting third just off the leaders through very fast
fractions of 21.34 and 44.38. He stuck his nose in front at the top of the lane and then raced very greenly
throughout the stretch run weaving in and out. But he didn’t stop running and was only beaten a length
and a half at the wire. He will get a lot out of this race and Proctor does much better with second time
starters than debut runners. This son of Indian Charlie, who is bred to win early, should be in the winners
circle at Del Mar in start #2.
June 30th, 2014 by John Scheidt
Well, Santa Anita survived their long 6 month plus season just fine which ended last Sunday. Both
the turf course and the main track held up well and the handle was actually up vs. the corresponding
Hollywood Park meet, although the final numbers are not yet available. In fact in the Racing Office,
they are talking about a retro refund to owners/trainers, as the handle exceeded the revenue
designated for purses. Now it’s onto Los Alamitos in Orange County for two weeks (8 racing days)
opening this Thursday, and then 7 weeks at the seaside in Del Mar, which opens July 17.
• Majestic Harbor pulled off the upset ($30.80) in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita on Saturday when Fury
Kapcori and Game On Dude set some blistering early fractions of 22.38 and 45.39 for a mile and a
quarter race. This was supposed to be a jockey’s race with two veteran Hall of Famers (Smith and
Stevens) on the two front runners, but neither one of them showed much intelligence allowing their
horses to go that fast for 10 furlongs. Only horses like Dr. Fager and Affirmed can run that fast early
and still stick around late, and the Dude and Fury will never be in the same league as those two. Both
were done by the quarter pole and “Harbor” inherited the lead and went on with it. Let’s give some
credit to the winner though, he received a 111 Beyer figure and a free pass to the Breeders Cup. He
will start next in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 24. Baffert should probably retire Game
On Dude. He has lost a number of steps, he’s 7 years old, and he’s done enough.
• Baffet’s Declassify ($6.60) took the other Grade 1 on Saturday, the 7 furlong Triple Bend stakes, in
a gutty performance coming back on the rail when passed by Cyclometer. The favorite, Sahara Sky,
had plenty of pace to run at, but just didn’t fire, for the second consecutive race. Hollendorfer
survived the day by getting Parranda home in the Grade 2 Royal Heroine stakes on the grass under a
strong ride by newcomer Elvis Trujillo, who had a very good meet. Kathleen Rose, at 4/1, ran her
eyeballs out the entire trip and just failed to hold. Victor Espinoza capped off a big month of June by
going wire to wire in the San Juan Capistrano with Big Kick ($11.60), a former claimer.
• As mentioned earlier, Los Alamitos opens this Thursday for 8 days of thoroughbred racing, first post
is 2 PM. They have changed the main track from 5/8 of a mile to a full mile in circumference. They
will also boast having the longest stretch in the Country, which means stretch runners may have an
edge. On Saturday they will offer a half million dollar Los Al Derby at 9 furlongs on the main track,
there will be no turf racing here. The field is headed up by the two year old champion, Shared Belief,
who is undefeated in 4 starts. Baffert’s Can the Man will also be in the race as will Top Fortitude,
who just ran a good second in the Woody Stephens at 7 furlongs at Belmont Park. With all that
speed in the lineup, it may just set it up for Candy Boy, who will probably be 15 lengths back at
some point in the race. They will have stakes races every single day on opening week. The veteran
Ed Burgart, 62 years young, who calls the quarter horse races at Los Al will be the announcer. He
will probably have to slow down his voice some, if that is possible.
• Effective this week, owners/trainers may check a box on the claim slip to accept a horse after the
race, even if the State vet says the horse is unsound. This is really just a band aid to the real issue.
Who in their right mind wants to accept a horse that is deemed unsound, except maybe for breeding
purposes. During the Santa Anita meet, 50 claims were voided due to the vet saying the horse was
unsound after the race. That’s a lot.
June 23rd, 2014 by John Scheidt
GO WEST MARIE (June 20): Three year old filly, who just recently shipped in from New York and is
now in the Eddie Truman barn, tried the second allowance condition in Friday’s 4th race at 6 and 1/2
furlongs down the hill. With a very late scratch at the gate, just 4 went to the post, but it was a “salty”
group of runners just the same. The late scratch was the speed of the race who got cut up in the gate and
that hurt “Marie’s” chances, as she needs some pace to run at. Velvet Mesquite thus became the pace
setter and she wired the field for her 4th win down the hill in just 5 attempts. But “Marie” was only
beaten a length at the wire and was just a nose away from second. This was just her third start on the turf
and she now has a win and a third. Being a granddaughter of Gone West, she is bred to love the turf and
she has the style to get two turns as well, although she has never tried it. With some pace to run at, she
can win this condition out here in California. A good one to follow.
ARGYLE CUT (June 21): Three year old colt for William E. Morey, a top trainer on the Nor Cal
circuit, ventured south on Saturday to try the Singletary stakes at a flat mile on the turf for 3 year olds.
Off at 13/1 in this 9 horse field, he trailed all of them on the back side by about 10 lengths from the
leaders and the pace was not particularly fast. Nakatani tried to get cute with him turning for home and
come through on the inside instead of going around, and “Argyle” was forced to check twice in the lane,
which easily cost him the race. The favorite, Home Run Kitten, had clear sailing on the outside and
prevailed at the wire 1/2 length. “Kitten” has a huge turn of foot in the lane and will be favored in one of
the divisions of the Oceanside Stakes on Opening Day at Del Mar, but “Argyle” is right there with him
and will offer much better odds. He has never been worse than second in 5 starts on the turf and I’m sure
Morey will run him at Del Mar off this performance. Their stakes races for 3 year olds at Del Mar is
outstanding with the Oceanside Stakes, the La Jolla Handicap, and then finally the Del Mar Derby. Tab
COUNTY LINEMAN (June 21): There are bad trips and then there are “horrible” trips, and this one
experienced the latter in Saturday’s 7th race, a third level condition race for older horses at a flat mile on
the turf. Off at 9/2 in a 10 horse race, “Lineman” stayed in the middle of the pack down the back side,
well off the suicidal pace set up front by the dueling leaders. He stayed on the inside and Desormeaux
checked and steadied him too many times to count from the 1/4 pole, all the way to the wire. In spite of
that trip, he gets beat a half length at the wire by a 11/1 shot who had clear sailing on the outside.
Needless to say, he was much the best. This former Canadian runner has a touch of class, can go short or
long, and has won on the poly track at Woodbine, much like the surface at Del Mar. He may even surface
in a stakes race as he is stakes placed twice in his career. Will win at Del Mar, follow.
STORY TO TELL (June 22): Two year old colt for Dan Hendricks tried the Santa Anita Juvenile
stakes on Sunday in just his second career start and gave a good account of himself with a strong second
place finish. Off at 4/1 in this 7 horse field, he was mid pack down the back side in this 5.5 furlong
sprint. He was still 4th at the top of the lane and really never got going until late in the race, but he
finished strongly under Talamo and galloped out nicely past the wire. He has the look of a horse who will
only get better as the distances increase and he’ll get his opportunity at Del Mar. They paid 200k for him
at the Barrett’s sale so he has a license to be a “nice” colt. Tab and follow.
June 23rd, 2014 by John Scheidt
Just one week left of the very long Santa Anita season which started way back on December 26. The
main track has been playing fair for the most part but there was somewhat of an inside speed bias on
both Thursday and Friday of last week. The turf course is holding up well as they have never raced
on it this long ever before without giving the course a break. It continues to play fair these days
whether the rails are in or out. The rails will be 15 feet out for this Thursday and Friday and should
be all the way in for the weekend.
• Although there is not much to get excited about on Thursday or Friday’s card this week, the weekend
should be very good. Of course, the headliner will be the Santa Anita Gold Cup on Saturday,
formerly called the Hollywood Gold Cup, and the veteran Game On Dude heads up a probable six
horse field. He won the Big Cap back in early March but then was upset by Imperative for the rich
Charles Town Classic on April 19. “The Dude” has lost a step for sure, but this field comes up pretty
weak for a Grade 1 this year. Fury Kapcori should keep the Dude busy on the front end, and the race
should set up for a closer or stalker in the likes of Clubhouse Ride, Majestic Harbor, or the above
mentioned Imperative. Of course, they have to keep the track playing fair and that’s always a big “if”
on big days at Santa Anita. Game On Dude has now won over $6.4 million in his career and will be
the post time favorite. There are 3 other stakes on the card, the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap for
older sprinters at 7 furlongs, the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Stakes for older fillies/mares at a flat mile
on the grass, and the Grade 3 Seniorita Stakes for 3 year old fillies at a mile on the lawn. The Grade
2 San Juan Capistrano at a mile and three quarters on the grass heads up Sunday’s activities.
• On July 3 Los Alamitos opens for two weeks of thoroughbred racing and then Del Mar’s exciting 7
week meet follows. It is now official, Los Alamitos will follow Del Mar with 11 days of racing from
September 5 through the 21st. The L.A. County Fair at Fairplex, which has hosted racing since 1933,
will no longer have a meet. They would need an estimated $40 million dollars to upgrade the facility
and nobody wants to come up with the money. But Los Alamitos has spent the money to improve
their facility and they are excited to have thoroughbred racing in Orange County. The purse levels at
Los Al will be about $1 million more than at Fairplex last year.
• Both Keeneland and Del Mar will be switching over to dirt tracks from synthetic within the next
year and both have been awarded Breeders Cup at their respective sites. Keeneland Race Course will
host the Cup in 2015, Santa Anita in 2016, and then Del Mar in 2017. The problem at both Del Mar
and Keeneland is that the tracks are not large enough to hold 50 to 60,000 people. Keeneland’s
record attendance is 40,617 and Del Mar maxes out at about 45,000. Should be interesting. Most
people knock Santa Anita for having the Breeders Cup each year, but that facility can easily handle
70,000 patrons and the weather is always ideal.
• Joe Talamo will win the riding title at Santa Anita for their “second” season, but his nemesis, Rafael
Bejarano is healing fast from his injuries and he will be ready to go when Del Mar opens their doors
on July 17 and they usually hit 45,000 in attendance that day, even though it’s a Thursday. The
veteran Martin Pedroza, also off for some time due to a fractured shin, is back and had his first
mount in the finale on Sunday.