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.

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 7 — 3:36 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, 3 yo fillies

Possible overlays                       Morning line

#1 Belated Bid                               8/1
#3 Mother Ruth                             3/1
#4 Indomitable                              10/1
#7 Beloved Deputy                        12/1
#9 Irish Gypsy                               4/1
#10 She’s Borracho                       8/1

For trainers Carla Gaines, Ted West, Patrick Gallagher, Craig Dollase, Eric Guillot, Jeff Mullins and Marty Jones: I feel sorry for you, because you have no chance.

Bob Baffert has you surrounded.

Baffert has three independent betting entries in this race and they are all less than 10-to-1 on the morning line. Over the years, Baffert has excelled at winning maiden races when he’s started two horses. In this race, he has three bullets.

The first, #1 Belated Bid is the Baffert filly who is least likely to win. She doesn’t have many fast workouts and the owner doesn’t often win with his first timers. If Baffert wins, er I mean when Baffert wins, he’ll  likely be getting his picture taken with either #3 Mother Ruth or #9 Irish Gypsy.

Mother Ruth, who is showing a purchase price of $425,000, has turned in a steady ledger of fast workouts for her debut. Garrett Gomez rides and he’s won on 12 of the last 25 Bob Baffert-trained horses that he’s ridden. No question, Mother Ruth looks good. 

Maybe too good. Could Bob just be baiting us with Mother Ruth to get a price on #9 Irish Gypsy? After all, Irish Gypsy is owned by his friend Mike Pegram.

Irish Gypsy, who ran two lengths behind Stardom Bound on July 20,  is coming off an eight-month layoff and has shown quick, early accelleration in past races, so she has a shot.

And if all Baffert’s plans are foiled and the unforeseen happens, I will be covering first timers #4 Indomitable, #7 Beloved Deputy and #10 She’s Borracho. But only if their prices are right.

At the betting window, the cynic in me wants to go with #9 Irish Gypsy, but instead I will play the percentages and put $350 to win on #3 Mother Ruth at 2/1 or higher. Also, I want $150 on these three horses — #4 Indomitable, #7 Beloved Deputy and #10 She’s Borracho — but only at 10/1 to 19/1.

If Mother Ruth is bet to less than 2/1, then I will put $200 to win on #9 Irish Gypsy instead.

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 3 — 1:31 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 5-1/2 furlongs, 3 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                              Morning line

#7 Raise the River                                   9/2
#8 Ribald                                               5/1

This is the first maiden race I have seen this year where 3-year-olds are facing older horses. Six out of the 10 runners in this race are 3-years-old, but I don’t happen to like any of them.

Both #7 Raise the River and #8 Ribald have good speed and are coming off recent layoffs. They both look better to me than the morning line favorite #10 Charlie and Chris.

So, I will bet $200 to win on both #7 Raise the River and #8 Ribald at odds of 3/1 or more.

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 6 — lost $100

Tyler Baze rode first-time starter Lt. Hopeful to a 7 furlong win (Flickr photo by Raymond)

Tyler Baze rode first-time starter Lt. Hopeful to a 7 furlong win (Flickr photo by Raymond)

The key to this race may have been that none of the horses who ran before had come within five points of the median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class of 83.

In races that come up weak, I’ve heard it argued,  the first-time starters deserve a longer look. And #1 Lt. Hopeful, who went wire-to-wire, was being bet early in his debut then drifted up to 6-to-1.

Knowing all of this — I did not like Lt. Hopeful anyway because he did not fit my model of a winning first time starter. Instead, I was focusing on #4 Pauper’s Prize, whose odds were too low; #8 Caspian, who was scratched; #11 Indy Ride, whose odds were too high; and #10 Ricoriatoa, who I bet $100 on at 9-to-2.

Ricoriatoa was coming off a five-month layoff and ran poorly, showing no early speed and no late kick.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Lt. Hopeful (KY) Baze T Armstrong J 6.60 1
2 2 Coal Region Kid (KY) Nakatani C Hess, Jr. R 29.40 3
3 3 Margarita Shot (KY) Delgadillo A DeLeon R 8.20 4
4 4 Pauper’s Prize (FL) Bejarano R Cerin V 1.00 8
5 5 Steel Blue (KY) Husbands P Frankel R 23.30 9
6 6 Megaholtz (KY) Espinoza V Ellis R 23.80 2
7 7 Black Feather (KY) Rosario J Drysdale N 6.10 5
10 8 Ricoriatoa (KY) Valdivia, Jr. J Lobo P 4.60 7
11 9 Indy Ride (KY) Talamo J Spawr W 26.00 6
SCR Caspian (KY) Solis A Hendricks D
SCR Simple Kind of Man (KY)    
Pgm Win Place Show
1 $15.20 $9.80 $7.40
6 $20.40 $11.20
2 $12.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Consolation Pick 3 paid $14.00 (3-6-8)
$1.00 Exacta

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 3 — won $910

dollar-signsFor a few seconds, it looked like #11 River Spey was going to run away with this race. Jockey Tyler Baze, who was riding #8 Smokin Anne, was right where he was supposed to be on the backstretch: with a clear lead.

But on the turn, #11 River Spey rolled up beside Smokin Anne with hardly any encouragement from Jockey Jose Valdivia. Even the tone in race caller Trevor Denman’s voice showed that he was impressed as he said “River Spey goes right on by. River Spey the leader.” 

Smokin Anne stayed on the rail, though, and found another gear. And for some unknown reason, River Spey faded fast in the stretch.

I bet $350 on Smokin Anne and collected $1,260 when she paid $7.20.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

2 1 Sampaquita (CA) Garcia M Piccioni G 61.30 5
3 2 Lola Rastaquaire (CA) Stra K Dupuis J 15.20 8
4 3 Girl of Mine (CA) Rios J Knapp S 51.90 3
5 4 Sweet Little Girl (CA) Enriquez I Anderson E 99.90 9
6 5 Hannah’s Moment (CA) Bejarano R Periban J 2.10 2
7 6 Shezbad (CA) Quinonez A Gutierrez J 11.50 7
8 7 Smokin Anne (KY) Baze T Hess, Jr. R 2.60 1
9 8 This Is My Song (CA) Martin G Shidaker D 97.80 10
10 9 Justalittletipsy (FL) Rosario J Miller P 7.60 4
11 10 River Spey (CA) Valdivia, Jr. J Puype M 2.70 6
12 11 Lifetime Friend (KY) Sorenson D Bell, II T 75.30 11
SCR Gilded Treasure (CA)    
SCR Secret Potion (CA)    
SCR Ata Honour (KY)    
Pgm Win Place Show
8 $7.20 $3.80 $3.40
6 $3.40 $3.00
4 $12.80
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $10.00 (8-6)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $83.20 (7-4-8)
$1.00 Superfecta
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