September 2nd, 2014 by John Scheidt
PRETTYPRICEYGIRL (August 29): Five year old mare for Leonard Powell ran a bang up race in
Friday’s fifth event, a salty $40,000 starter race for horses who ran for a claiming tag of $40,000 or less
in 2013/2014. Off at 15/1 in this 10 horse field on the lawn, she went right for the lead and dueled with
another horse through fairly solid fractions. She put that one away at the 1/4 pole, opened up a one length
lead turning for home, then got ran down late by two others near the wire. She was beaten a length in the
end but she was pretty game all the way, on a course that has been playing strong to off the pace runners.
Her next start will be her third off a six month layoff, often a horse’s best performance, and speed will
hold better up on the Arcadia surface. She is sitting on a victory if properly placed by the Powell
connections and the value should still be there. Tab and follow.
ALFA BIRD (August 30): Three year old son of Birdstone, trained by Victor Garcia is fast, and he
made his debut in Saturday’s second event at 6.5 furlongs on the main for maiden special weights. Off at
6/1 in a full field, he broke a step slow, but then quickly made the lead and held it throughout until the
favorite came to him at the 1/8th pole. He dug in gamely the last furlong and just failed to last missing by
a half at the wire. His works coming into this race were fast at both this track and Santa Anita and he’ll be
hard to beat when they get back on the regular dirt over at Arcadia. He cost $70k at the Keeneland
yearling sale and he’s cut out to be nice colt. This one is a “single” next time you see him in the entries.
MOONS OVER ME (August 30): Two year old filly for Jim Cassidy made her debut in Saturday’s 6th
race, a 5.5 furlong sprint for special weights. She took a lot of early money in the wagering but ended up
at 8/1 in a full filed of juveniles. She broke well, then dropped back on her own under Mike Smith, and
was a good 10 lengths off the pace at the half mile pole. She picked it up on the far turn and made a good
move turning for home but was a well beaten third at the wire, about 4 lengths. But all in all it was a
good debut and Cassidy seldom has them cranked up first time out. She probably won’t race again till the
Anita Fall meet but she has all the earmarks of a soon winner. A good to file away for the near future.
ELEMENTAR (August 31): Two year old filly for Richard Mandella found her hole card when they
stretched her out to a mile on the turf in Sunday’s third for maiden special weights. Off at 5/1 in a 10
horse field, jockey Tiago Pereira sent her right to the lead and she went quite fast for the first quarter. She
was able to slow it down some for the second quarter and still maintain her lead. She opened up on them
turning for home, but true to this turf course, she just couldn’t hang on and a 7/2 shot caught her very late.
It was a still a big race and this daughter of More Than Ready should get her diploma on the turf at Santa
Anita. She is a $280k purchase at the Keeneland yearling sale and is in good hands with Mandella. Don’t
be surprised if you see them add Lasix for start number 3.
September 2nd, 2014 by John Scheidt
After six weeks of frustration with the inconsistencies of the main track, this past week the track has
played “fair” and one could comfortably predict an outcome based on all the handicapping
probabilities, i.e class, pace, connections, etc. Unfortunately, as I write this, there is only one race
day left in the meet, which is tomorrow. As they have tried to soften the turf course, with more
watering and aerations, the course has been a haven for stretch runners. And although Midnight
Storm did go wire to wire in the Del Mar Derby Sunday at $36.60, this is the exception, not the rule.
All 3 winners from Monday came from off the pace. Tomorrow will end another Summer of racing
at Del Mar with a 10 race card highlighted by the Grade 1 Futurity for 2 year olds at 7 furlongs. And
although the final numbers will show decreases in most areas, i.e. attendance and handle, I would
still think the meet was very successful. They did have 5 fatalities early in the meet, that may or may
not have been caused by the turf course, but the Saratoga meet, which ended yesterday, had 11
fatalities, and they raced 2 days less. I think it’s the nature of the game. The thoroughbred race horse
is a very fragile animal and they can attain injuries in any number of countless ways.
• There were 3 graded stakes over the Labor Day weekend with one to go on Wednesday. Sunset
Glow, the 4/5 favorite, took the Grade 1 Debutante on Saturday in a thrilling stretch duel with Her
Emmynency, and prevailed by a neck. Trainer Wesley Ward will now prepare her for the Breeders
Cup. On Sunday, in a race pretty much void of early speed, jockey Tyler Baze took Midnight Storm
right to the lead and stayed there the entire 9 furlongs for the 17/1 upset in the Grade 2 Del Mar
Derby. He easily won by 3.5 lengths and the stretch runners never had a chance, all this on a course
that has been favoring late runners for 3 straight weeks. We have criticized Baze’s poor rides at this
meet, but this was a masterful performance, and a good training job by Phil D’Amato. Then on
Monday, Brice Blanc came off the shelf from an injury in a spill, and got the money for Ron
McAnally in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon for fillies/mares on the grass at $11.20. It was Blanc’s first
mount in 5 weeks. A total of two lengths covered the first 4 runners in this 8 horse field, with Stormy
Lucy having the toughest trip, trying to find running room in the lane, with Bejarano having lots of
horse. She finished fourth.
• Jockey Rafael Bejarano won 12 races over the last 3 days and turned a tight jockey race into a
runaway for his third consecutive Del Mar riding title. He now has a 11 win lead with just one day to
go. The race is for second place with Desormeaux one up on Trujillo and Mike Smith 4 back.
However, the training title may go down to the final race on Wednesday. Peter Miller won 3 on
Monday and now trails Jerry Hollendorfer by just one, 20 to 19. They both have 6 entered on
Wednesday and Miller could very well pull it off, as his Reneesgotzip looks like a mortal lock in the
4th. They each have a horse in the final race on the card.
• Trainer Mike Pender has been fined $5000 and suspended for 3 weeks by the Stewards for having
five class 4 medication infractions within a 12 month period. Pender has been cited for 4 overages of
phenylbutazone (aspirin) and one overage of methocarbamol (muscle relaxant). If he has any more
violations within the next year, he will be suspended for six months. Sounds pretty severe to me, as
these are very common and legal medications on the backstretch. Pender is appealing the decision
with his attorney.
August 25th, 2014 by John Scheidt
SHYSHEISNOT (August 20): Three year old filly for John Sadler tried her first trip around two turns
in Wednesday’s 5th and may have been best while having to settle for a well beaten second. Off at 5/1 in
a 10 horse field, she broke well but was taken back by the bug boy Van Dyke, and was about 5 lengths
back at the half mile pole. She worked her way up to a contending position turning for home, but was
down on the inside and couldn’t find a “seam” to break through, as the jock had plenty of horse. She was
bottled up the entire length of the stretch, then finally burst through very late but the race was over and
she was beaten almost 3 lengths. This was just her third start this year and first in this Cal Bred allowance
condition. This daughter of the good California sire Tribal Rule is bred to go long and like the turf, being
out of a Dynaformer mare. She’s in good hands with Sadler and she’ll break through next time if she can
get a better trip. Definitely worth following.
PLAY HARD TO GET (August 23): Three year old gelding for Eric Kruljak couldn’t have been more
impressive in breaking his maiden in Saturday’s third at 9 furlongs on the grass for maiden special
weights. Off at 3/1 under the best grass rider in the jock’s room, he settled in fifth early about 6 or 7
lengths back at the half mile pole. He started his move at the 1/4 pole, caught the leaders at the top of the
lane, and widened without Nakatani ever moving his hands through the lane. He won by 5 at the wire but
it easily could have been 10 as he was geared down at the 1/16th pole. This was his 4th career start and
the son of Purim is destined to have a good future. Kruljak probably won’t race him again until Santa
Anita, and then he should have no trouble with the first allowance condition. Tab and follow.
UNBRIDLED COMMAND (August 23): Five year old roan horse for Peter Miller tried the Grade 2
Del Mar Handicap at 11 furlongs on the turf Saturday, and although he got beat 7 lengths at the wire and
finished 5th, he ran a big race. Off at 10/1 in this marathon distance, he settled in early in 5th place about
5 lengths back of the leaders. Going by the finish line the first time, he put in a big run to catch the
leaders and then opened up about 5 by the 3/8th pole. He moved much too soon for this distance and the
favorite inhaled him turning for home, but he didn’t give it up till very late in the race. This was the 4th
start back in his comeback and this sets him up perfectly for a race at Santa Anita at anywhere from 8 to
9 furlongs on the grass. He’s a former Grade 1 winner as a sophomore so he has plenty of back class to
call upon. I think Miller will have him ready for either the Grade 2 John Henry stakes on Sept. 28 or the
City of Hope Mile on October 4. He’ll be tough in either spot.
UPBEAT MOOD (August 24): Four year old filly for Mike Puype stretched out to a mile and a
sixteenth on the turf for the second allowance condition on Sunday and ran a big race at 7/1. She was sent
right to the lead with fairly quick fractions of 22.65 and 46.17 and led all the way to the sixteenth pole,
where she got tired and ended up third beaten a length. The course has favored off the pace runners the
last two weeks so she definitely was racing against the bias. Plus she was above her conditions as well as
she is still eligible for the first allowance condition. Plus she is a much better sprinter and this race sets
her up perfectly for a race down the hill at Santa Anita for her next start. She is very steady as she is now
9 for 12 hitting the board. If she returns to a sprint for the first condition next, she wins.
August 25th, 2014 by John Scheidt
The main track at Del Mar continues to be erratic from week to week but at least they had it “fair”
for their biggest day on Sunday. Unfortunately the fans didn’t turn out like they had hoped as
Management was hoping for 40,000, and the actual attendance was 28,290. Due to the
inconsistencies of the poly track, the “big” bettors have stayed away from Del Mar and instead have
focused on Saratoga back East. On track handle was down 14% vs. last year and overall handle
down almost 8% vs. last year through Saturday. On track attendance is down 8% as well. The poly
track will be replaced with a dirt oval for 2015. Of course the issues with the “new” turf course also
play into the scenario as sprints and claimers have been ruled off the grass and the course isn’t used
like it has been in years past. The closers bias continues on the grass, regardless of where the inner
rails are placed, and it even got to the 1/2 favorite yesterday in the Del Mar Mile.
• There were 4 graded stakes over the weekend and the wagering public got it right in just about
every one of them. Undefeated Shared Belief went 6/6 in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic as the 6/5
choice and had far from a perfect trip. He just keeps improving and he may just be the best 3 year
old in the country. This was his first time on poly track, his first time at 10 furlongs, and just his
second race against older. No problem, he dominated once again. Next stop, the Breeders Cup
Classic. Goldencents went wire to wire in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien at 7 furlongs just one race earlier
and was the 8/5 second choice in the wagering. He set a fast pace but it was uncontested, ran the last
furlong in 12 seconds, and set a new track record while doing so in 1:20.99. Next stop, the Breeders
Cup dirt Mile, and he’s the defending champ. The favorite didn’t win the Del Mar mile yesterday, as
Obviously stumbled at the start, then went out and set blistering fractions against a strong anti-speed
bias, and paid the price in the lane as Tom’s Tribute (8.20) sailed right on by as the second choice.
“Tom” is an excellent miler but he may not be up to the caliber of the Euro’s for the B.C. Mile on the
turf. Big John B took the Del Mar Handicap on Saturday in impressive fashion as the post time
favorite, bet down from a morning line of 9/2. He will be in the same boat as Tom’s Tribute, hooking
some awfully good Euros in the B.C. Turf.
• This week will have 6 days of racing as next Monday is Labor Day, Sept. 1. Then the meet winds up
on Wednesday Sept. 3 with 4 stakes races including the Grade 1 Del Mar futurity for two years olds
at 7 furlongs. On Saturday is the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante for two year old fillies at 7 furlongs
and the field will be headed up by Sunset Glow with Her Emmynency and Manahatta as major
contenders. Then on Sunday is the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby for 3 year olds at 9 furlongs on the turf.
On Monday, it’s older fillies/mares in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon on the turf, headed up by Miss
Serendipity and Parranda. Then Mark Casse’s Skyway heads up the Grade 1 Futurity on closing day,
which should have a large field. Mark Casse, from Canada, will keep a 25 horse stable at Santa
Anita for the their Fall meet.
• As expected, jockey Mike Smith had a big day Sunday with 4 winners on the card and pulled into a
3 way tie for second in the jockey standings with 24 wins, the same as Kent Desormeaux and Elvis
Trujillo. Rafael Bejarano has the lead going into the last week with 26 but it’s still anybody’s race.
The best trainer in California, Jerry Hollendorfer, had the hat trick Sunday and is now 4 in front of
an ice cold Peter Miller in the trainer standings. Miller is in the midst of an 0/27 slump. Alex Solis,
who was just inducted into the Hall of Fame this Summer, is returning to ride in Southern California
on a regular basis. He has been gone since 2010 and his business has tailed off in Florida and New
August 18th, 2014 by John Scheidt
SHE’S COMPLETE (August 13): Two year old filly for Doug O’Neill made her U.S. debut in
Wednesday’s 5th event at a flat mile on the main for Special Weights. Off at 4/1 in a full 10 horse field,
she broke a step slow out of the gate, then her neighbor next door swerved over on her and she was
forced to check. Going into the clubhouse turn she was dead last and was 8 lengths back of the
uncontested leader. Bejarano let her settle and she relaxed nicely. She started to unwind at the 1/4 pole
and stayed wide while passing horses and was 5 wide at the top of the lane. At the sixteenth pole she
looked like she would get up, but the leader wasn’t quitting and she probably hung a tad to boot. She was
beaten a length and a half but was undoubtedly the best. This was just her third career start and first in
this Country. She will get a lot out of this race and should get the job done in her next trip to the post
with just a little luck. Tab especially if Bejarano takes the mount back.
LITTLE JERRY (August 13): While in the midst of a 46 race losing streak, Tyler Baze easily put up
the worst ride of the meet and got this 4 year old gelding beat for Richard Baltas. From a m/l of 5/1,
“Jerry” got bet to 5/2 (rightfully so) and was much the best in this 9 furlong route race for $32,000
claimers. In a perfect tracking position down the back side, Baze moved much too soon for the lead at the
3/8 pole and then couldn’t withstand the closing surge of Hog’s Hollow down the lane. This one had tons
of horse at the 1/4 pole and yet Baze went into an all out drive and burned this horse’s energy way, way
too soon. Baltas should have his head examined if he gives this mount back to Baze next time and I doubt
that he will. He can even win for a higher tag next time and Amir Cedeno or Kayla Stra would be a rider
upgrade. Watch for “Jerry” in the entries before the end of the meet.
SECRET COMMAND (August 16): Four year old gelding for Bob Hess Jr. is improving rapidly and
threw in a strong performance Saturday in the third for Starter Allowance horses which are non winners
twice and broke their maiden for $50,000 or less. Off at 12/1 in a 6.5 furlong sprint on the main in a field
of 7, he settled nicely on the outside and laid 4th down the back side about 4 lengths off the pace. Jockey
Kent Desormeaux is really riding well these days and he is allowing his horses to relax early much like
he did with Command. He started his move at the 3/8 pole and circled the field quickly and got the lead
at the top of the lane. He looked like he was home at the 1/8th pole but the even money favorite ran him
down very late and he missed by a half at the wire. This was only his third career start as he was quite
late getting to the races. But they paid $75k for him at Keeneland as a yearling so this son of Officer was
cut out to be a nice horse. He has a nice style for this track and already has a win and a second over it.
Hess will probably bring him right back at this level before the end of the meet and he should get the
MEGYNS GOLD (August 17): Two year old filly for Cody Autrey made her second career start in
Sunday’s 7th, a sprint on the main track for maiden special weights at 5.5 furlongs. Off at 10/1 in an 11
horse field, she zipped quickly out of the gate and had a two length lead by the 5/8 pole. She kept that
lead all the way around and was still in front by 2 with just a sixteenth to go. But she got wobbly late and
was run down by a long shot and was beaten 2 lengths at the wire. It was her first try with blinkers and
she probably went too fast too early, although the timer at the track wasn’t working. Her kind of speed is
dangerous and most of the winners were closing on today’s track so she may have been against a slight
bias. She can win in the near future. Tab and follow.
August 18th, 2014 by John Scheidt
The main track at Del Mar continues to change on a daily basis and hence the pick six c/o continues
on almost a daily basis. Sunday the track did play fair throughout the day but early speed totally
dominated in sprints and route races on Saturday. It will continue to be a “guessing” game this week,
especially with the running of the Pacific Classic on Sunday, the track’s signature race. On big days,
track maintenance has a tendency to “tighten up” the racing surface for faster times. The turf course
is as good as they can get it right now, and that’s very good. It favors closers like most turf courses
do, but there’s plenty of “bounce” to it and no injuries are occurring. Horses are skipping over the
surface easily and the times have slowed down quite a bit since opening week.
• The big races over the weekend provided some unexpected results with Personal Diary winning the
Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on the turf at $20.20 and a 11/1 shot, Stellaris, running second. Corey
Nakatani, who rode the winner, hadn’t raced in 3 days due to illness and this was his only mount on
Saturday. “Diary” won very easily by 3 lengths and won geared down. She’s the real deal and will
return to Kentucky and make her next start at Kentucky Downs for trainer Victoria Oliver in
September. Judy the Beauty won the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Stakes on Sunday quite easily as the
second choice in the wagering ($4.60) with a nice off the pace tally winning by a length and a
quarter. Reneesgotzip, the 4/5 favorite, stumbled at the start and never could make the lead. Jeff
Bonde’s Amaranth was intent on being on the lead and set quick fractions of 21.96 and 44.78. “Judy”
will head back East for trainer Wesley Ward but the second place finisher, Madame Cactus will stick
around and run at Santa Anita. She ran a bang up race at 6/1 for trainer Peter Eurton. In the other
stakes on Sunday’s card, Heat Du Jour, a $32,000 claim for Jerry Hollendorfer 2 starts back, took the
$150,000 Solana Beach Handicap quite easily by 3 lengths at $21.40. The “Dorf” has now won this
race 4 years in a row, quite an accomplishment. Ed Moger’s Qiaona ran a good second at 8/1.
• This weekend’s racing will be the best of the meet. On Saturday they will run the Del Mar Handicap
at 11 furlongs on the turf. The field will be headed up by Quick Casablanca, Fire With Fire, and
French import Aventador. Bright Thought, who just switched barns from Gutierrez to D’Amato, will
also run and may be hard to catch on the front end. Then on Sunday will be the Grade 2 Del Mar
Mile on the turf, the Grade 1 Pat O’Brien stakes at 7 furlongs on the main track, followed up by the
only million dollar race left in California, the 10 furlong Grade 1 Pacific Classic on the main track.
The Classic should have a full field of 12 runners with an import from Argentina, Mystery Train, a
shipper from England, Toast of New York, the undefeated two year old champion Shared Belief,
Santa Anita Gold Cup winner Majestic Harbor, and of course, the California Handicap star, Game
On Dude. If you want a “live” long shot in this race at 20/1 or so, it’s “You Know I Know”. He loves
this race track and finished third in his last start against a very strong speed bias. He’s a late runner
and all he needs is a fair track, which he may or may not get on Sunday.
• Tyler Baze, after going through an 0/46 slump, finally got his 2000th win on Thursday on a 2/1
favorite for trainer Ted West. Although he has 14 wins at the meet and is tied for fifth in the
standings, he is not riding well here. Bejarano won twice on Sunday to grab a share of the lead with
21 victories along with Kent Desormeaux. Kent is riding as well as he ever has. Elvis Trujillo is just
one back at 20 victories, and then Mike Smith won twice Sunday to get to 19. Hollendorfer, the
hardest working conditioner on the back side at 66 years of age, won twice Sunday and has caught
Peter Miller for leading trainer at 12 wins apiece. John Sadler and Bob Hess Jr. are tied for third with
9 wins apiece. Still think Sadler will put these guys away at the 1/8th pole.
August 11th, 2014 by John Scheidt
BEACH FEVER (August 6): Three year old gelding for Mark Glatt did everything but win in
Wednesday’s fifth event, a maiden special weight allowance for Cal Breds at a flat mile. Off at 4/1 in an
11 horse field, he made the running right from the start with a pretty fast quarter (22.50) which probably
cost him in the end. He put away the other speed at the top of the lane and dug in gamely in a long stretch
drive but came up a half length short at the wire to a 13/1 outsider. This was only his third career start
and each one is getting increasingly better. Desormeaux knows him well and he has taken to this track
nicely. He’ll get one more start before the end of the meet and that should be all he needs to get his
picture taken. Put this one in your stable watch for the entries.
EXPLICABLE (August 8): Three year old filly for Gary Mandella made her debut in Friday’s 5th
event at 6.5 furlongs on the main and had quite an eventful trip. Off at 5/2 in a field of 9, she broke ok,
but then bobbled just after the start to get away poorly, then was rushed up a bit by Bejarano to just be a
couple of lengths off the pace. But by the 3/8 pole she got shuffled back between horses and was now 6
lengths back. Bejarano swung her to the outside at the 1/4 pole and she started making up ground, but
then was fanned even wider turning for home and lost a lot of ground. She still found another gear and
finished strongly down the outside to nail down third beaten about 2 lengths. This daughter of Pioneer of
the Nile can run, but she was pretty green in her debut. When she puts it together, she will be a pretty
nice filly. She will get another chance before the end of the meet and this race will serve her well down
the road. Worth following.
OM (August 9): Two year colt for Dan Hendricks could not have been more impressive than he was in
Saturday’s 4th event, a maiden special weight event at 6.5 furlongs. Off at 22/1 in a 10 horse field,
underrated jockey Fernando Perez sent him right to the lead through fairly good fractions, yet he had two
other horses lapped on him from the outside. He put both of them away at the 1/4 pole and then just
opened up on the field to win by 8 and galloped out strong past the wire. This is a Kentucky bred son of
the new sire Munnings, who will be one of the top juvenile sires in the Country before the year is out,
cost $125,000 at the Barrett’s two year old sale. Off this race, Hendricks should point him to a graded
stakes race later in the meet, maybe even the Grade 1 Futurity on closing day Sept. 3. He can win that
BOOZER (August 9): Four year old gelding for Mark Glatt had a nightmarish trip in Saturday’s 8th
race at a mile on the turf for the first allowance condition. Off as the wagering favorite in a 10 horse
field, he broke well and secured a good trip on the rail into the clubhouse turn. But he was eager to run
and twice ran up on a horse’s heels and checked both times losing some momentum. Bejarano still had
tons of horse turning for home and waited patiently for a seam to open up, but that seam never came as
he was trapped down on the inside the entire length of the stretch. He got beat a length in the end and
checked in third but was much the best. He will probably get one more shot at this condition before the
end of the meet and he has already knocked off the second condition back in March coming down the hill
at Santa Anita. He won’t offer much wagering value but he’s a solid “single” for your exotics next time
you see this name in the entries.
August 11th, 2014 by John Scheidt
The main track at Del Mar has been difficult to figure day in and day out. On Saturday rally wide
closers won all but one race, but then on Sunday it was “fair” as horses won from on and off the pace.
There have been many days when there is a strong inside speed bias and many times the track will
change dramatically within the race card. One has to handicap for a fair track and hope for the best,
but at least the turf course has reopened, and that’s a good thing. There were 5 races run over the
weekend and they went without incident. Two were won on the front end and closers took the other
3. The inner rails were out 24 feet over the weekend and will be moved out to their max, 30 feet for
Wednesday and Thursday. Then they will be brought all the way in for Friday and the weekend. All
of the riders say the course is in excellent condition with plenty of “bounce” and that the horses just
skim over the surface. The times are quite a bit slower than they were and that’s a good thing. It was
a tough day for handicappers on Sunday with nobody even getting 5 in the pick six sequence, hence
the c/o of $171,914 to Wednesday. The overall pool should hit $1 million.
• With 4 weeks in the books at Del Mar, on track attendance is down about 6% and the wagering
handle is down 12%. Those are significant numbers and can be attributed to the lack of turf racing.
Turf races attract the better horses and stronger wagering pools. The overall handle from all sources
was down 6.6%.Those are numbers that will not be made up in the last 3 and a half weeks of racing.
• Jockey Mike Smith turned 49 years young on Sunday and he celebrated by winning the Grade 2
John Mabee stakes for older fillies/mares with Moulin de Mougin at $18.40 on the turf. He also won
the La Jolla Handicap on the turf Saturday with Enterprising at $5.00 for three year olds giving him
a sweep of the graded stakes for the weekend. Enterprising was most impressive for the second
consecutive race and will run next in the Del Mar Derby on August 31 where he will be a heavy
favorite for trainer Tom Proctor.
• After 4 weeks of racing the jockey race is extremely close with 3 riders tied at the top with 16 wins
apiece; Rafael Bejarano, Elvis Trujillo, and Kent Desormeaux. The 30 year old Trujillo was
suspended for 3 racing days last Friday but plans to appeal so he can continue riding until his case is
heard. Mike Smith won 3 over the weekend and is in 4th with 13 wins. Peter Miller leads all trainers
with 11 wins followed closely by Jerry Hollendorfer with 9. John Sadler has 7 wins but has the stock
to win this title when all is said and done.
• It’s only 13 days to the richest race of the meet, the Pacific Classic at a mile and a quarter on the
main track, and it’s going to be a dandy. Game On Dude worked 5/8 in 1:01.40 on Sunday and is fit
and ready to go for Baffert. Undefeated and untested Shared Belief continues to work up at GGF for
Hollendorfer and worked 3/4 in 1:13.40 on Tuesday. Clubhouse Ride went 7/8 on Saturday in
1:26.40 for trainer Craig Lewis. Those 3 will be joined in the lineup with Majestic Harbor, who won
the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, Frac Daddy, Imperative, Irish Surf, Sky Kingdom, and You Know I
Know (my long shot selection). One foreign runner is coming over from Europe, “Toast of New
York”. Sadler’s Candy Boy will pass this race and stay with 3 year olds on the East Coast.
August 4th, 2014 by John Scheidt
SPECTACULAR PROOF (August 1): Three year old filly for David Bernstein made her debut In
Friday’s first event, a sprint for Cal bred maidens in for a claiming tag of $50,000. Off at 7/1 in a six
horse field, she made the running right from the start and set the pace under moderate fractions,
responded when the winner came to her at the eighth pole, and just missed in a very good effort. The
winner did get to her late but not without a fight. She’s no world beater by any means, but she took nicely
to this surface and she can break her maiden with this kind in the near future. Trujillo handled her nicely
and is steadily making a name for himself in these parts. Her type of speed is always a plus and she
should be posing for pictures before the end of this meet.
GRAZEN SKY (August 1): Two year old Cal bred maiden for Steve Miyadi made his debut in Friday’s
4th event at 5.5 furlongs on the main. Off at a robust 26/1 and the longest price in this 10 horse field, he
got bumped around pretty hard at the start when the winner veered in from the 7 hole and wiped out 3
runners inside of him. “Grazen” took the bulk of this and got away poorly to be well back in the field
some 10 lengths off the pace. He was still 10 back at the top of the lane but took a hold of the bit and put
in a good run on the outside to finish a distant second. It was “visually” an impressive performance and
showed that this colt can run. They lodged an inquiry against the winner, but that was never going to hold
up as these “babies” seldom break in a straight line. Nonetheless, he is bred to win early and should find
a field he can beat in the very near future. Plus he will retain much of his wagering value. Follow.
CALL TO CONGRATS (August 2): Two year filly for John Sadler made her debut in Saturday’s fifth
event at 5.5 furlongs on the main for maiden special weights. Off at 8/1 in a full field, she was mid pack
down the back side about 5 lengths off the pace. Didn’t really make any headway until they hit the 1/8th
pole, then finished strongly on the outside to get second but was never a threat to the winner getting beat
3 lengths. This 330k purchase is in good hands and was very fit coming into her debut. She needs to be a
bit closer to the pace but will probably break better in start number two. She is cut out to be a nice filly
and it won’t be long before she is posing for pictures. A good one to follow.
ALPHA BULLET (August 3): Four year old colt for Bobby Grayson is all race horse. He tried the
second allowance condition on Sunday at a flat mile on the main and completely missed the start by
hopping in the air, and was away extremely poor falling 15 lengths out of the race. Off at 6/1 in this 10
horse field, from a morning line of 12/1, he put in a nice run at the 1/4 pole, but never reached
contention. He swung way wide at the top of the lane giving away another 3 lengths, and then kept on
trucking very wide through the stretch and ended up second beaten 3 lengths. This colt has never been
worse than second in 6 starts to the post and has tried all 3 racing surfaces with 3 wins to boot. He can go
short or long and is extremely underrated. He wins this race with a better start. Grayson should be able to
run him again before the end of the meet and it doesn’t matter what the surface or distance is. This one is
all race horse and always offers wagering value.
August 4th, 2014 by John Scheidt
It drizzled most of the day on Saturday and the track actually absorbed about an eighth of an inch of
rain, which seemed to tighten up the track and inside speed was deadly throughout the day especially
in the two turn affairs. Then on Sunday it was a complete contrast, as stretch runners had their way
closing on the outside in both sprints and routes. That’s what makes this game so tough, especially
on a synthetic track when a bias comes into play a number of times per week. Very few figured it out
Sunday and hence there is a pick six c/o into Wednesday of $195,206. The turf course remains
closed as they try to soften it up by aerating the course and continue watering. There have been 5
casualties, but I’m not sure any of them can be blamed on the turf course. These horses may have
went down on the main track just as easily. But the course was pretty hard and that just enhances any
problems these horses had to begin with, and most of them have various problems. The course will
reopen this Saturday and they will limit racing to just 2 turf races per day, and only for stakes,
allowances, and maiden special weights. Plus there will be no 5 furlong races on the grass the
remainder of the meet. The stakes races for those 5 furlong races will be shifted to the main track.
This place just isn’t the same without turf racing. They also “tweaked” the main track by adding wax
as a binder on Tuesday to slow down that surface, as they had 4 track records set the previous week.
It worked as the track is considerably slower but very inconsistent day to day.
• They ran two graded stakes over the weekend with Iotapa winning the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch
Stakes on Saturday as the even money favorite at a mile and a sixteenth, and then Skyway winning
the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes for two year olds at 6.5 furlongs as the 2/1 favorite. Iotapa proved she
didn’t need the lead to win on Saturday as Talamo kept her off the pace and she ran by a very
stubborn Broken Sword to win by just a half at the wire. She goes next in the Zenyatta Stakes at
Santa Anita on Sept. 27 to get ready for the Breeders Cup. Broken Sword is the one to take out of
this race down the road, as she set all the pace and hadn’t been out for 6 months. Skyway took
advantage of the of the rally wide outside bias to score in the Best Pal but on a fair race track, I still
think Bad Read Sanchez is the best horse. He raced inside against the bias and when they hook up
again at the end of this meet on Sept. 3 in the Futurity, it may be a different story.
• Grass racing will return this weekend with the La Jolla Handicap for 3 year olds on Saturday at a
mile and a sixteenth with probably just 7 or 8 runners. Enterprising, Argyle Cut, Tonito M, and
Schoolofhardrocks heads up the field. On Sunday they will run the Grade 2 John Mabee Stakes at 9
furlongs for older fillies/mares and Stormy Lucy, Miss Serendipity, and Wishing Gate head up that
cast. “Serendipity”, who hopes to have regular rider Brice Blanc back, will be tough to beat in the
Mabee for veteran trainer Ron McAnally.
• Rafael Bejarano, sidelined for two months with multiple injuries, is having a difficult time getting
his business back since he returned to the saddle on Opening Day of this meet. But he won two on
Sunday to give him 11 on the meet and now he is just two behind the leader Kent Desormeaux, who
has 13. Elvis Trujillo also won two on Sunday and is right between them with 12. Joe Talamo and
Tyler Baze each have 10 wins so even though it seems pretty contentious, I think Bejarano will run
away and hide the second half of the meet. He really is that good. Peter Miller has opened up 3
lengths over Doug O’Neill for the training title (10 to 7) but watch out for John Sadler. His stable is