News and Notes July 5, 2017 – Rod Young Turfdom

•     The long six and a half month Santa Anita meet came to an end on Tuesday, the 4th. The meet had more than their share of issues, losing 3 days of racing due to heavy rains in the winter, losing two days of racing due to lack of entries, and finally being forced to just 3 days of racing per week twice in June. But the meet finished on an upbeat note with five days of racing the final week and most of those days had good field size. The pick six carried over into the final day and the payout including the single ticket jackpot was a whopping $478,128 and there were several winners. Young apprentice Evin Roman tied for the riding title with Flavian Prat with 41 winners apiece, and it went down to the final race. No apprentice rider had won a riding title at

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News and Notes June 20 – by Rod Young Turfdom

The weather has been hot around Southern California and the entire Southwest for that matter, and it’s going to stay hot up until this Friday. That works well for the horses as racing resumes this Friday with another three day week, which so far has worked out well for the bettors with full fields and good prices throughout the card. And you know management loves those pick six carryovers that really make a difference in the overall handle. However, this doesn’t work for everyone. It’s less money for all the employees as they are not on salaries. They get paid by the hour and less work means less take home pay. And from what I hear, most of the horsemen are not crazy about 3 day weeks as well. It’s still fewer races per week and bigger fields make it tougher to win races. Santa Anita closes the following week

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News and Notes June 13 – by Rod Young Turfdom

For a change, Santa Anita Park decided to give the fans and the players what they want, instead of just catering to the owners and the trainers. Instead of running 4 days per week the next two weeks, they have cancelled the Thursday cards and will run just 3 days per week. They did that this past week and it resulted in fuller fields and better handle overall. This week they will have 10 races each day, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and based on Friday’s entries, it’s a winning formula. Overall, they lose 4 races, 34 on a 4 day week vs. 30 on a 3 day week. Can they make up the handle of those 4 lost races with fuller fields? They don’t know, and that’s why it’s just an experiment at this stage. But they do plan on running five days the final week, Friday through Tuesday, which

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News and Notes June 6 – by Rod Young Turfdom

This is a tough time for thoroughbred racing in Southern California, and it always has been, even when Hollywood Park was running. However, the shortage of horse inventory seems to be worse today than it was in years gone by. The culprit for this time of year is Del Mar. They start their 7 week summer season on July 19, and with purses anywhere from 20 to 30% higher, owners/trainers want to save their stock for that meet, and who can blame them. Horses aren’t machines, they need some down time and R and R just like us humans. And this time of year on the calendar always takes a beating. There is no racing this Thursday at Santa Anita Park, and the reason is, insufficient entries. Friday’s card is quite good, but it should be, they have crammed two days of racing into one good 9 race card. The

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Horses to Watch May 30 – by Rod Young Turfdom

ABBEY VALE (May 26): 7 year old gelding for Phil D’Amato made his third start off a one year layoff in Friday’s opener and couldn’t have won in more easier fashion. Off at 3/1 in just a six horse field of older $50,000 claimers at a mile on the lawn, he laid much closer to the pace than usual, easily took control of the race at the top of the lane, and won in hand by two at the wire over the 6/5 favorite. This was his 2nd consecutive win off the layoff and he still has the third allowance condition available. When a turf horse gets good for D’Amato, they continue right up the ladder, and though he is 7 years old, this was just his 27th start, so there are still some good races left in this gelding. Follow. ECKERSLEY (May 26): Five year old full horse for

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News and Notes May 30 – by Rod Young Turfdom

There was only one day of a strong track bias this past week at Santa Anita, and that was on Sunday when the inside and early speed dominated throughout the day. The main track returned to playing fair on Monday. The turf course continues to play fair and hold up very well with all of the turf racing scheduled. After a five day race week this past week, where entries held up very well, the Great Race Place returns to their normal 4 day week beginning this Thursday. First post will continue to be 1 PM for both weekends and weekdays. There is a c/o in the Super High Five into Thursday’s card of $30,907 and the single ticket jackpot of the pick six continues to grow and stands at $397,862. The best day of racing this past week for quality was Saturday, with 4 graded stakes led by the

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News and Notes May 23 – by Rod Young Turfdom

After months of rain and off tracks, summer came fast to the Arcadia oval and it was just plain “hot” most of the race week. Horses can handle rain, snow, and cold temps but they don’t like the heat. Temps cool off this week as we head into Memorial Day weekend, back into the mid seventies, but there is a good chance of rain on Thursday and Friday. The weekend is clear. For the most part, both the main track and the turf course played “fair” for the week. The turf course has really held up well with all of the racing that goes with a meet that basically runs straight for six and a half months. The pick six was hit Sunday for $90K plus, but there was more than one ticket, so the single ticket jackpot climbs to $253,350 for Thursday. This is a five day race week,

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News and Notes May 16 – by Rod Young Turfdom

In Major League Baseball, around the month of August, they call it the “dog days” of summer. Well summer hasn’t reached Santa Anita Park yet, at least not by the calendar, but that’s the way it feels with the programs they are churning out each day at the “Great Race Place.” Small five and six horse fields are very common in the first half of every program, most of the stakes races have small fields with overwhelming favorites, and the programs are dominated with six and seven dollar winners, or lower. In fact, this past week, they had a five horse field in the morning of low level claimers, one was a late scratch making the field just four, then there were two very late scratches at the post due to the unsoundness of the horses. That left just two at the gate. So they ran a match race with

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News and Notes May 9 – by Rod Young Turfdom

Once again rain wreaked havoc with the weekend cards at Santa Anita Park. Over the two days, 4 races were taken off the turf, all four down the hill, and the fields were cut in half due to late scratches. The two turn races remained on the grass, but there were still numerous scratches from fields that were already small from a horse shortage at this time of year. The main track was wet fast both days, had been sealed the night before, and like most wet/fast, sloppy tracks, speed was good early, and then late runners dominated later in the race card. It’s unusual for Southern California to get rain this late in the Spring, but this has been an unusual winter/spring for the state of California. Water has become a precious commodity in the state and the precipitation is more than welcome overall. Racing resumes this Thursday with

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News and Notes May 2 – by Rod Young Turfdom

Racing returns to its normal four day race week beginning with this Thursday and both weekdays have better than average field size. They have 65 horses entered for Thursday and Friday has a full slate as well. With warm weather in the forecast, the turf course is being used a bit more and the first two year old race of the year is slated for Thursday. Plus it’s Kentucky Derby week as well so Saturday will have an early post of 12 noon with 11 races on the schedule. Back in Louisville the forecast is a 60% chance of showers on Friday and 30% chance on Saturday with temps in the mid sixties. The lone c/o into Thursday’s racing is the single ticket jackpot of the pick six which now stands at $349,793. The main track and the turf course both played “fair” over the weekend. They ran two Grade

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