Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 6 — lost $300

Trainer Sal Gonzalez combined with Joel Rosario to win with Ale's Pride

Trainer Sal Gonzalez combined with Joel Rosario to win with Ale's Pride

When the best horse in the race gets the best trip in the race the other runners don’t stand a chance.

Trained by Sal Gonzalez, #2 Ale’s Pride appeared to be the best horse when examining the past performances, as she earned the top two Beyer Speed Figures. But funny things happen at the race track.

However, nothing unusual happened in this race and if horse racing was this easy we’d all be calling our bets in from our boats docked at the Miami Yacht Club.

As the race began, #4 Irridescent Red went to the front while jockey Joel Rosario, riding Ale’s Pride, was content to sit in the middle of the eight-horse field. But entering the turn, Ale’s Pride scraped the paint to  challenge  the leader up the rail as the two dueled until the top of the stretch.

In the lane, Ale’s Pride was strong and Irredescent Red was no match.

I liked Ale’s Pride, but needed 5-to-2. When her post time odds were 8-to-5, I instead bet $150 on both #5 I Can Hear, at 4/1, and #8 Christy’s Bullet, a 9/2 shot.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Ruffled Feathers (CA) Sorenson D Gallagher P 20.80 3
2 2 Ale’s Pride (CA) Rosario J Gonzalez S 1.60 1
3 3 Goal Girl Michele (CA) Stra K Chew M 42.80 5
4 4 Irridescent Red (CA) Talamo J Becerra R 3.10 2
5 5 I Can Hear (CA) Valdivia, Jr. J Cassidy J 4.40 4
6 6 Mama Rosa (CA) Bejarano R Abrams B 5.80 6
8 7 Christy’s Bullet (CA) Solis A Dominguez C 4.70 7
SCR Unusual Counter (CA) Delgadillo A Stute M
Pgm Win Place Show
2 $5.20 $2.80 $2.60
4 $3.80 $3.20
1 $4.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $9.00 (2-4)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $24.00 (8-2-2)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $234.70

Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 4 — lost $200


After trying route races, trainer Bob Baffert found that Hurley's Way likes 7 furlongs

On Aug. 15, Hurley’s Way ran sixth in a Del Mar sprint and afterward Bob Baffert claimed him for $100,000. Over the next five months, Baffert raced his new runner in three route races, two of which were in the maiden special weight ranks, but Hurley’s Way never hit the board.

Finally on Jan. 19, Baffert bit the bullet and dropped Hurley’s Way into a 7-furlong maiden $32,000 claiming sprint, and the colt responded by almost winning after an extremely wide trip.

The race must have showed Baffert that his best chance with Hurley’s Way would be in the claiming ranks at 7 furlongs. So, the trainer spent the last few months tuning up his runner, then waited for the racing secretary to write a 7-furlong race for $32,000 claimers.

And like a baseball player waiting for his pitch, when Baffert finally got a fat one down the middle he knocked it for a loop.

When this race began, jockey Joel Rosario took Hurley’s Way to the back of the nine-horse field then made his move by riding the rail on the turn. In the stretch, Hurley’s Way rolled by pace setter #9 Olympic Magic with Rosario giving his mount a couple of swats of the whip 50 yards from the wire just to let the colt know that the race wasn’t over yet.

About the only thing wrong with this whole scenario was that Hurley’s Way’s price dipped below my 2-to-1 minimum acceptable odds. What can I say, but that I’m greedy. Not only do I want the best horse in the race, but I want good odds on him, too.

So, I ended up going to Plan B, which was to forget about my $250 Hurley’s Way bet and put $200 on the longer of #4 Mont La Salle and #9 Olympic Magic. Since Mont La Salle was 7/1, he got the money.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Warren’s Peanut (CA) Hill C Van Berg J 35.00 9
2 2 New York Baby (VA) Talamo J Knapp S 3.10 7
3 3 Class Dismissed (KY) Quinonez A Dunham D 50.60 3
4 4 Mont La Salle (FL) Delgadillo A Garcia V 7.50 8
5 5 Rogue River (CA) Blanc B Pender M 10.20 5
6 6 Late Nite Devil (CA) Garcia M Harty E 57.30 4
7 7 El Diablito (KY) Sorenson D Glatt M 28.10 6
8 8 Hurley’s Way (OH) Rosario J Baffert B 1.60 1
9 9 Olympic Magic (CA) Valdivia, Jr. J Ellis R 2.90 2
Pgm Win Place Show
8 $5.20 $2.80 $2.60
9 $3.80 $3.20
3 $11.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $7.30 (8-9)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $334.40 (1-6-8)
$1.00 Pick 4 paid

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 6 — 3:05 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                          Morning line

#2 Ale’s Pride                                   5/2
#5 I Can Hear                                  4/1
#8 Christy’s Bullet                             5/1

On paper, the best horse in this race looks like #2 Ale’s Pride, who has the two top Beyer Speed Figures. But horse races aren’t run on paper, they are run on flat screen televisions and inside of computers.

On Feb. 8, Ale’s Pride ran a 90 Beyer Speed Figure after breaking outward at the start and running wide in the stretch. I don’t usually question the speed numbers in the racing form, but this one seems a bit high, as Ale’s Pride never got close to this number in her past.

Regardless, based on her Jan. 9 race she would still have the top overall Beyer of this group. Second-time starters #5 I Can Hear and #8 Christy’s Bullet wouldn’t need to improve much to win.

I adjusted I Can Hear’s Beyer from 69 to 74 when I added points because of her wide trip and the fact that jockey David Flores chose to duck inside to rally rather than staying on the outside where there are fewer distractions.

At the window, I will bet $200 on #2 Ale’s Pride at 5/2 or more. If she is bet below that, then I will instead wager $150 on both #5 I Can Hear and #8 Christy’s Bullet at odds of 3/1 or more.

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 4 — 2:03 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $32,000, 7 furlongs, 3 yo’s

Possible overlays                          Morning line

#4 Mont La Salle                                 4/1
#8 Hurley’s Way                                  5/2
#9 Olympic Magic                                3/1

This looks like a three-horse race to me.

The Ronald Ellis-trained #9 Olympic Magic has the best early speed and has been running Beyer numbers in the mid-to-upper 60’s recently.

In his last race, #4 Mont La Salle was wide on both turns while still earning a 65 Beyer Speed Figure, so it seems reasonable that he can run in the low 70’s.

On Jan. 19, #8 Hurley’s Way swung six or seven wide rounding the turn in a 7 furlong sprint. He didn’t have the final gear in the stretch to get by Jazzin Razz that day, but I think Bob Baffert learned something about his horse. After four previous unsuccessful tries at various class levels and distances, I think Baffert decided that Hurley’s Way was a 7-furlong horse that could win a $32,000 claiming race.

Hurley’s Way hasn’t run since Jan. 19, as Baffert’s been tuning him up and he looks to be ready to run a big one.

I will bet $250 on #8 Hurley’s Way at 2/1 or better, but if he’s bet to 9/5 or less then I want $200 on whoever is a longer price between #4 Mont Las Salle and #9 Olympic Magic.

Champion Alysheba, 25, dies 5 months after homecoming

Just five months after returning to Kentucky from breeding in Saudi Arabia, Alysheba was euthanized after injuring a leg.

Alysheba, 25, won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes then went on to take the Super Derby, in a year where he as named champion 3-year-old male. In 1987, Alysheba lost the Breeders’ Cup Classic to 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand by just a nose, but came back in 1988 to win the Classic by defeating Seeking the Gold.

Afterward, Alysheba was voted 1988 Horse of the Year and he retired with nine Grade 1 stakes victories and $6.6 million in earnings, which was an earnings record at the time.

Alysheba went to the breeding shed and was eventually bought by Saudi King Abdullah, who stood him for the last eight years at Janadria Farm in Saudi Arabia. Last October, King Abdullah announced that he would return Alysheba to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington as a gift to Alysheba’s  legion of fans.

But Alysheba had a chronic degenerative spinal condition that led to his instabilty, said Kathy Hopkins, the Kentucky Horse Park’s director of equine operations. He fell in his stall on Friday afternoon and a decision was made to euthanize him, according to the Daily Racing Form.

Below is a tribute to Alysheba from HRTV’s Inside Information series.

Alysheba tribute (HRTV)

Quality Road breaks track record at Gulfstream Park

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 10 — won $200

cash-pile-royalty-free-stock-photoMaking her second lifetime start, #10 Pedo Veijo sat just off the pace before jockey Chantal Sutherland steered her through a seam at the top of the stretch and the filly sprinted by the leaders.

In her first race on Feb. 27, Pedo Viejo hesitated at the break to lose four lengths, but showed some ability while running. The slow start last time, and subsequently low 59 Beyer Speed Figure, was probably the reason Pedo Viejo was a better price than a similar-looking second time starter in the race, #9 Atta’ Girl.

During my betting, my plan was to make a small wager on the longer of the two between Pedo Viejo and Atta’s Girl, as long as their odds fell in the range of 2/1 to 5/1. But my main bet — the horse I really liked — was #14 Humane.

In her Feb. 5 debut, Humane had a horrible trip, but still almost won the race. On Saturday, she broke in midpack then swooped up six-wide entering the stretch with a major move, but it seemed that jockey Alex Solis was not encouraging her too much so she flattened out.

The best distance for this horse is likely 6-1/2 to 7 furlongs and I am sure she can run a Beyer Speed Figure in the mid-to-high 70s on her best day. This last race will merely darken Humane’s form, which should allow her odds to be a bit better when she finally does win.

At the window, I bet $350 on Humane at 5/1; $50 on speedster #5 Princess Quinn at 87/1 and $150 on the winner, Pedo Viejo at 4/1. I collected $750 after betting $550.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Mary the Princess (CA) Rios J Periban J 53.30 10
2 2 Stellar Day (KY) Bejarano R Kitchingman A 7.00 11
3 3 Hostile Reaction (CA) Stra K Martinez S 97.80 12
4 4 Victoriously (KY) Valdivia, Jr. J Sherman A 84.40 4
5 5 Princess Quinn (KY) Couton J Mendoza J 87.00 13
6 6 Lady Bradbury (KY) Talamo J Hess, Jr. R 35.10 2
7 7 Tuaca Parfait (CA) Quinonez A Bernstein D 16.00 5
8 8 Court Ballado (KY) Nakatani C Sherman A 40.40 8
9 9 Atta’ Girl (CA) Espinoza V Walsh K 3.40 3
10 10 Pedo Viejo (KY) Sutherland C Hendricks D 4.00 1
11 11 Evelyn (KY) Delgadillo A Vargas J 46.40 14
12 12 Irish Pepper (CA) Rosario J Sadler J 2.70 7
13 13 Lowtian (CA) Garcia M Velasquez D 54.00 9
14 14 Humane (CA) Solis A Meredith D 5.00 6
Pgm Win Place Show
10 $10.00 $6.00 $4.60
6 $24.60 $12.40
9 $3.40
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Consolation Pick 3 paid $29.90 (4-5-10)
$1.00 Exacta paid $143.90 (10-6)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $132.40 (4-10-10)
$1.00 Pick 4 paid $242.20 (7-4-4/5/7/10/11/13-10)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $10682.90 (10 OF 10)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $0.00 (NO WINNERS)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $891.90 (10-6-9)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $31.20 (10-10)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $12211.40 (6-1/4-7-4-4/5/7/10/11
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $189.40 (6-1/4-7-4-4/5/7/10/11/1

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 10 — won $1,570

big-pile-of-cashBob Baffert is showing just how deadly he is when he enters two or more horses in a maiden race.

On March 22, Baffert scored with the Irish Gypsy-Mother Ruth exacta when he had three horses running in a maiden special weight sprint. And the prices weren’t too bad either, with Irish Gypsy paying 4-to-1 and Mother Ruth at 5-to-2.

On Saturday, Baffert was back at it. He had both #6 Hard Kisses and #8 Diamond Tags making their second lifetime starts. In her Feb. 22 debut, Hard Kisses finished 1-1/2 lengths behind Saturday’s favorite #3 Shiksa — but she ran a better race that day, as she was bumped at the break and went wide on the turn. Also, Shiksa — who by contrast had a great trip Feb. 22 — is trained by the struggling Patrick Biancone, who has won with just one of his last 47 starters.

Baffert’s other runner, the 9-to-2 shot Diamond Tags, showed a purchase price of $500,000 and was coming off a seven month layoff. 

During the running of the race, Hard Kisses, 5-to-1, sat in third behind pace-setters #2 Ultra Awesome and #7 Gumption. Jockey David Flores shook Hard Kisses up at the top of the lane, she came to the leaders, then took command in midstretch and never surrendered the lead. Diamond Tags lagged in last then rallied strongly to be second, which completed the  $33.50 Baffert exacta.

I had difficulty trying to separate which Baffert horse was stronger, so I let the odds board decide. My plan was to bet $350 on the longer-odds horse — which turned out to be Hard Kisses — and $250 on the other, Diamond Tags.

I collected $2,170 after wagering $600.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Wada Falls (FL) Sutherland C Mullins J 4.60 7
2 2 Ultra Awesome (KY) Bejarano R Yakteen T 7.70 8
3 3 Shiksa (KY) Talamo J Biancone P 3.40 5
4 4 Idontbelievemyeyes (KY) Blanc B Harty E 71.80 6
5 5 Crystal Empire R N (KY) Smith M Walsh K 20.50 9
6 6 Hard Kisses (ON) Flores D Baffert B 5.20 1
7 7 Gumption (KY) Solis A Headley B 3.50 4
8 8 Diamond Tags (KY) Rosario J Baffert B 4.50 2
9 9 Ruby Lane (KY) Espinoza V Capestro P 21.10 3
Pgm Win Place Show
6 $12.40 $5.80 $3.80
8 $5.40 $4.80
9 $8.00
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $33.50 (6-8)
$1.00 Pick

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 10 — 5:08 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Claiming $32,000, 6 furlongs, 3 yo fillies

Possible overlays                           Morning line

#5 Princess Quinn                                  30/1
#8 Court Ballado                                    12/1
#9 Atta’ Girl                                           9/2
#10 Pedo Viejo                                       6/1
#14 Humane                                           6/1

Trainer Derek Meredith had a betting coup all set up on Feb. 5. How disappointing it must of been for his barn when a brutally slow break caused it to all fall apart.

Humane, who is #14 in this event, was running in her first lifetime race and there was absolutely no reason for anybody to bet serious money on her. And nobody did, as this horse went off at 23-to-1 and flew completely under the radar.

Humane had many aspects in her profile that sent horseplayers searching elsewhere for the race winner. First of all, Meredith, is a competent but low-profile trainer who has not won a race in 2009 after a handful of tries, and he was blanked in 2008 with all his 18 starters. Secondly, Humane’s jockey Danny Sorenson is a veteran, but he typically wins at only 5 percent annually. Thirdly, Humane showed a purchase price of just $1,000.

Mix all of that with an 11-horse field and you get a monster-priced first time starter that was ready to run. What else could you ask for? 

But who knew?

As the Feb. 5 race began, Humane broke extremely slowly and was seven lengths behind the field, which made it practically impossible for her to win at 6 furlongs.

But Humane quickly got into stride to be at the rear of the leading group as the field swung into the turn. That’s when Sorenson really stepped on the gas and Humane surged four paths wide on the turn, passing fillies like she was on a conveyor belt. The impressive move raised the eyebrows of race caller Trevor Denman who responded: “very slow to start, but look at Humane; has gone from last to first and is just sprinting away from them here.”

Up to that point, Humane had run some 10 lengths (slow start+wide trip) farther than any other horse in the race and she had a two-length lead in the stretch. However, she couldn’t last as Shawnie Ora and A Taco Short ran her down in the stretch. After being tons the best, Humane finished third by two lengths.

Her Beyer Speed Figure was a 59, but with the horrible trip I adjusted it to an 87. It was a monster effort and had Humane broken well and not went so wide she would have won by five lengths, as the median Beyer for that type of race is only 65.

This replay is well worth watching. If you have time, go to and it’s the eighth race at Santa Anita on Feb. 5.

Anyway, Humane came back on March 8 and showed speed while just 7-to-1 in a maiden special weight race, but she faded. Today she’s listed at 6-to-1 and looks like a good bet.

Others who could get the money if Humane doesn’t run her best today include longshot #5 Princess Quinn who’s had lots of trouble, but has flashed good early speed; first timer #8 Court Ballado, who is trained by Art Sherman who has started two debuters for owner Jack Liebau since 2006 and one of them won on Nov. 18, 2006 at odds of 57-to-1; and second timers, #9 Atta’ Girl and #10 Pedo Viejo, who only need to improve a little bit to win at this class.

I will bet $350 to win on #14 Humane at 2/1 or more; $150 on #8 Court Ballado at 10/1 to 19/1; $50 on #5 Princess Quinn at 15/1 or more; and $150 on the longest of the two horses between #9 Atta’ Girl and #10 Pedo Viejo, provided their odds are between 2/1 and 5/1.

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 5 — 2:34 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 7 furlongs, 3 yo fillies

Possible overlays                             Morning line

#3 Shiksa                                            7/2
#6 Hard Kisses                                     3/1
#8 Diamond Tags                                  4/1

Here we go again.

Trainer Bob Baffert has two horses entered in here — #6 Hard Kisses and #8 Diamond Tags — and both of them look good.

Hard Kisses, a second-time starter, ran against #3 Shiksa in her debut and although she finished a half length behind Shiksa, she ran a better race. Shiksa, who was also making her first lifetime start, ran an 80 Beyer Speed Figure while rallying to be second by a neck. One big difference is that Shiksa had an excellent trip, breaking well and sitting on the rail throughout the turn.

However, Hard Kisses came out of the far outside stall and was immediately shoved a couple of lanes wider by the horse inside of her at the start. Furthermore, on the turn, Hard Kisses was hung four lanes wide the whole way and still finished within three-quarters of a length of the winner.

With the median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class being 80, both of these horses have the qualifications to win today.

Baffert’s other filly, Diamond Tags, is coming off a seven-month layoff and as we saw last Sunday, Baffert is no slouch with layoff horses. Last Sunday, Irish Gypsy beat a maiden special weight field off an eight-month layoff.  

Diamond Tags made her debut on Aug. 10 at Del Mar where she was a bit crowded at the start, stayed on the rail then rallied well into the stretch, running a 65 Beyer. Because of maturity and the Baffert magic, it would be no surprise to see this one Beyer in the 80’s.

Also, Diamond Tags, who is showing a $500,000 purchase price, has two sharp workouts including a bullet versus 60 others that worked 4 furlongs on Feb. 11. Garrett Gomez rode Diamond Tags in her debut, and of the seven Baffert debuters I have listed with Gomez none were bought for less than $230,000. So Gomez only rides the finest of Baffert’s stock.

Today, Rosario is on board as Gomez is riding Dunkirk in the Florida Derby.

On the other hand, Hal Earnhardt, the owner of Hard Kisses, is one of Baffert’s first clients and Baffert makes sure the horses Earnhardt owns win early. With the Irish Gypsy layoff win fresh in people’s minds, Bob may switch things up and win with the recently-raced animal.

In the end, I will put $350 to win on whoever goes off at longer post time odds between #6 Hard Kisses and #8 Diamond Tags, and a $250 win bet on the shorter priced Baffert runner.

Las Vegas Kentucky Derby odds now on Maiden King

homeSo, you want to bet a Kentucky Derby horse, but just can’t wait until the next pari-mutuel pool?

Wynn Las Vegas is one of the many strip locations that offer fixed odds wagering on the Derby. Casino bookies begin listing 2-year-olds in late summer of the previous year, so the odds on many colts running regularly over the last six months have been bet down.

But there is hope. That’s because most race & sports book supervisors work at their jobs because they have a strong interest in sports, not horse racing. This is good because many times they aren’t paying attention to key allowance races in the spring, or they are late changing their odds after Derby prep races.

Of course, you need to be in Las Vegas to make a future bet, but if you win you can mail the ticket in and you’ll get a check returned to you.

Other Las Vegas books that have Kentucky Derby odds include The Palms, The Las Vegas Hilton and Terrible Herbst (Lucky’s). 

Maiden King is now carrying Kentucky Derby future book odds from the Wynn Las Vegas. Look on the right side of this page under “Blogroll” then click on “Wynn Ky Derby Futures.”

The following are the Wynn odds on some of the Derby contenders as of March 16: Dunkirk, 10/1; Friesan Fire, 8/1; Imperial Council, 25/1; Pioneerof the Nile, 10/1; Quality Road, 15/1; The Pamplemousse, 10/1; and Win Willy, 60/1.

Mafaaz wins British ticket to the Kentucky Derby. Winner got automatic starting berth on first Saturday in May

Chiropractor adjusting Maui Mark, by Mary Forney

Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 9 — lost $300

Trainer Bill Spawr won for the eighth time in 28 starts when using jockey Mike Smith

Trainer Bill Spawr won for the eighth time in 28 starts when using jockey Mike Smith

Trainer Bill Spawr dropped #6 Jimmy Two Times slightly in class, kept jockey Mike Smith aboard, and the colt responded by stalking the pace and pulling away in the stretch. 

Spawr, who also owns a part of Jimmy Two Times, has a winning percentage of 19 so far this year, but when Smith rides for him Spawr’s a 28 percent trainer.

Jimmy Two Times, 5-to-2, was making his second lifetime start. In his debut back on March 6, he established a clear lead in a $40,000 maiden claiming race before quitting badly in the stretch.  On Sunday, Jimmy Two Times ran behind pace setter #4 Barney Bass for the first half mile then put him away in the stretch.

At 7-to-2, I bet $200 on #4 Barney Bass and another $100 on first-time starter #8 Self Defense.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Astoria Renter (CA) Delgadillo A Dunham D 3.70 6
2 2 Such a Shame (CA) Garcia M Freeman E 24.00 2
3 3 Rio Romeo (CA) Bejarano R Dominguez C 5.20 4
4 4 Barney Bass (KY) Rosario J Vienna D 3.70 3
5 5 Hesitate (KY) Talamo J Greely C 7.10 12
6 6 Jimmy Two Times (CA) Smith M Spawr W 2.80 1
7 7 King Farha (CA) Rios J Metz J 60.60 5
8 8 Self Defense (CA) Baze T Lewis C 17.80 8
11 9 Talkthatalkpeter G (CA) Cedeno O Sticka R 25.40 9
12 10 Motto’s Brat (CA) Potts C Wicker L 40.80 11
13 11 Rockin the City (CA) Quinonez A Byrd A 28.80 7
14 12 Kayakityak (CA) Arambula P Periban J 71.80 10
SCR Strong Belief (KY)    
SCR Indian Love (KY)    
Pgm Win Place Show
6 $7.60 $4.80 $3.20
2 $19.60 $11.00
4 $4.00
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $60.40 (6-2)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $272.00 (9-7-6)
$1.00 Pick 4 paid

Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 7 — lost $350

Trainer Bob Baffert won Sunday's seventh with #9 Irish Gypsy, owned by Mike Pegram. (Flickr photo by Yausser)

Trainer Bob Baffert won Sunday's seventh with #9 Irish Gypsy, owned by Mike Pegram. (Flickr photo by Yausser)

When it comes to winning maiden sprints in Southern California, Bob Baffert is the master. He trains the most talented young horses on the grounds and he gets surprisingly decent pari-mutuel prices because he wins early and knows how to set things up.

For years, Baffert has often won when he starts two maiden sprinters in the same race. On Sunday, he had three runners in this 10-horse Santa Anita maiden field, so I strongly suspected at least one of them would be ultra live.

Baffert named leading jockey Garrett Gomez on first-time starter #3 Mother Ruth and Rafael Bejarano, who is second in the rider standings,  on another debuter, #1 Belated Bid. But the money horse here was #9 Irish Gypsy.

Irish Gypsy is owned by Mike Pegram, who is a close friend and long-time client of Baffert’s. This filly ran well in the summer, as she lost to juvenile filly champion Stardom Bound by just two lengths.

Entering Sunday’s race, Irish Gypsy was coming off an eight-month layoff with a series of good workouts — but the lengthy absence typically causes horseplayers to wager with caution. The rider, David Flores, is competent but doesn’t have the pari-mutuel following that Gomez and Bejarano have. And over the years, Baffert has had lots of luck with Flores.

The betting public made #3 Mother Ruth the 5-to-2 favorite after no doubt seeing her published $425,000 purchase price, six fast workouts and the fact that Gomez had won on 12 of the last 25 Baffert-trained horses. Bejarano’s mount #1 Belated Bid was a late foal and hadn’t been working out as well, but was still 9-to-1.

If Baffert entered neither of these fillies in this race, and Gomez was named on Irish Gypsy instead of Flores, then it’s safe to say that Irish Gypsy would have been less than 2-to-1. But instead she paid $10.40 to win.

I am not saying that Gomez on Mother Ruth did not try hard, as anyone who watches the replay can see the rider all over this filly in the stretch to just miss at the wire. And I am not saying that the Baffert-Pegram-Flores team is doing something wrong or unethical.

All I am saying is that Baffert is very savvy, he knows the tendencies of the betting public, and tries hard to get decent prices on his maiden winners. So, it’s profitable to learn this trainer’s maiden moves.

Speaking as somebody who hates seeing 6-to-5 shots win, I wish more trainers were like him.

After the race, (why don’t reporters ask trainers before the race??) Baffert told the Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman that Irish Gypsy developed foot problems in 2008, so she had to be rested. “She just needed some time. If you don’t give them time, they’ll make you wait longer.”

When looking at this race for the site on Saturday night, I was tempted to bet Irish Gypsy, but put $350 on Mother Ruth because she just looked too good. But after thinking about this situation on Sunday, when my real money was on the line at race time I split my bet with 60 percent going on Mother Ruth and 40 percent on Irish Gypsy.

But, of course, I will take the $350 loss for betting Mother Ruth on the site.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Belated Bid (KY) Bejarano R Baffert B 9.60 9
3 2 Mother Ruth (KY) Gomez G Baffert B 2.90 2
4 3 Indomitable (KY) Baze T Gaines C 8.60 10
5 4 Michelle Marie (KY) Russell C West T 23.20 8
6 5 Guided Wave (KY) Solis A Gallagher P 7.90 7
7 6 Beloved Deputy (KY) Nakatani C Dollase C 30.20 5
8 7 Shehadmefromhello (KY) Baze M Guillot E 4.80 6
9 8 Irish Gypsy (KY) Flores D Baffert B 4.20 1
10 9 She’s Borracho (KY) Talamo J Mullins J 5.80 4
11 10 Lisa Jean (NY) Rosario J Jones M 24.40 3
SCR Lion Heart’s Bluff (KY)    
Pgm Win Place Show
9 $10.40 $4.80 $3.60
3 $4.40 $3.60
11 $10.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $19.80 (9-3)
$1.00 Pick

Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 3 — lost $200

Mike Smith broke #3 Patriotic Soldier quickly from the gate then won a photo

Mike Smith broke #3 Patriotic Soldier quickly from the gate then won a photo

On Feb. 1, #3 Patriotic Soldier debuted at 6-1/2 furlongs as part of an entry that went off at 7-to-2. But when the gate opened, Patriotic Soldier hopped in the air and was quickly some 10 lengths behind the field.

He made up some ground as the field entered the stretch, but jockey Mike Smith did not push him too hard in the lane.

In the six weeks between then and Sunday, trainer Bruce Headley gave Patriotic Soldier five workouts and three of them were quick ones. So, obviously we saw a different animal on Sunday.

In Sunday’s race, Patriotic Soldier broke with the leaders, held an advantage into the stretch, then battled gamely with #7 Raise the River to the wire where he won the head bob at 9-to-1.

My bets were focused on Raise the River and #8 Ribald who needed to be at least 3/1. I ended up with $200 to win on Ribald at 9-to-2.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Drake Lake (CA) Gomez G Sadler J 5.10 10
2 2 Mountain Guide (CA) Garcia M Harrington M 20.70 7
3 3 Patriotic Soldier (CA) Smith M Headley B 9.80 1
4 4 Justice Reigns (CA) Solis A Lewis L 38.10 5
5 5 Mendota Bay (CA) Rosario J Barba A 19.40 4
6 6 Sherry’s Reddy (CA) Scott J Aguayo V 109.30 9
7 7 Raise the River (CA) Bejarano R Gaines C 2.20 2
8 8 Ribald (CA) Rios J Sherman A 4.70 6
9 9 Philly Slew (CA) Quinonez A Gregory W 31.80 8
10 10 Charlie and Chris (CA) Baze T Zucker H 2.50 3
Pgm Win Place Show
3 $21.60 $8.60 $4.60
7 $4.00 $2.80
10 $2.80
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $46.00 (3-7)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $824.10 (2-5-3)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $1672.60 (3-7-10-5)

Hold Me Back at Turfway Park on Saturday

At 133/1, Longshot Al had Arcangues, but still couldn’t win

mrunlucky3Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, my father and I were regulars in the grandstand at Suffolk Downs in Boston. Simulcasting was in its infancy, so on a Saturday and Sunday the seats would be full of horseplayers. One guy named Sid sold cheap watches and shoes that squeaked. Another known as The Wolf paced the promenade in a flourescent orange windbreaker that advertised his 1-800 number in bold black letters written on the back.

Then there was Longshot Al, who bet nothing but bombs. Longshot Al sat  race after race, day after day and sometimes week after week, without ever cashing a ticket. But, in 1993, Longshot Al’s day was brightened when he had $10 on Arcangues who was booted home by jockey Jerry Bailey to win the Breeders Cup Classic at 133-to-1.

It was verified because my father saw Al cash the ticket for more than $1,300. On Sunday, my father was reminded of Longshot Al’s big score when he watched a video of the 1993 Breeders Cup Classic after the world learned this week that Arcangues died in 2006.

But even on the day of one of Longshot Al’s biggest scores, he still found a way to lose. 

“It was good to see him cash the ticket,” my father wrote in an email. “But he got mugged when he got off the (subway train), as somebody followed him from the track. The last time I saw him, he was hurting from the neck from the mugging.”

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — 4:38 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Possible overlays                    Morning line

#1 Astoria Renter                        5/1
#2 Such a Shame                        20/1
#4 Barney Bass                           9/2
#8 Self Defense                          15/1

It is hard to ignore the 73 Beyer Speed Figure run by #1 Astoria Renter on Feb. 26., and if this horse is 5-to-1 he’s  probably a good bet.

But I think #4 Barney Bass has a great chance to win, also. He flashed good speed for more than a half mile during a 7 furlong race on March 4 then faded away. I think Barney Bass is better than morning line favorite #6 Jimmy Two Times.

I’ll be watching the tote board on two first timers, #2 Such a Shame and #8 Self Defense. Such a Shame is owned by Paul Reddam whose horses often win their debuts. And owner/trainer Craig Lewis has popped with two of his last 10 Larry The Legend So. Cal. first time starters. One of them paid $27.40 and the other $28.60.

I will put $200 to win on #4 Barney Bass at 3/1 or more, and $150 to win on #2 Such a Shame at 5/1 to 19/1. Also, I will take $100 on #8 Self Defense at 8/1 to 19/1.

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