Thursday, Del Mar Race 8 — 5:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden claiming $40,000, 6 furlongs, 2-year-olds

Possible overlays                   Morning line

#4 Swiss Tart                          7/2
#5 Welcome Home Ryan            15/1
#6 Purgestein                          3/1
#7 Ultimate Question                 15/1

Although early speed at 6 furlongs is not as dominant as at 5 or 5-1/2 furlongs, it still frequently leads to the winner’s circle.

In here, #4 Swiss Tart has the quickest first quarter mile. If he repeats his race at Hollywood Park against River’s Chapel on May 23, then Swiss Tart should have an easy lead after a half mile. In his four starts against maiden special weight runners, Swiss Tart was outclassed, but the 60 Beyer Speed Figure he ran in the May 23 race shows he can win at this $40,000 claiming level.

One question with this colt, however, is whether he likes the Del Mar surface. Swiss Tart did not run his best as the beaten favorite versus $40,000 claimers on July 28 and his two workouts at Del Mar were slow ones.

Jockey Martin Garcia jumps off #5 Welcome Home Ryan to ride #6 Purgestein

Two second-time starters in here may greatly improve. Jockey Martin Garcia jumps from #5 Welcome Home Ryan to ride #6 Purgestein for trainer Jeff Bonde. On July 24, Purgestein was stuck in among a bunched-up field of horses on the backstretch and took a 4-wide path on the turn.

When Christian Santiago Reyes asked him to run in the stretch, Purgestein came up empty. The backstretch struggle may have broke Purgestein’s spirit and he may run better in his second start.

Purgestein’s two quick Del Mar drills suggest that the Polytrack will not hinder him.

Welcome Home Ryan was erratic throughout in his debut on July 22, but this longshot is dropping in class and adding blinkers for his second start. In the past, that combination has created some dramatic turnarounds.

Finally, #7 Ultimate Question is trained by the cagey Art Sherman. Running just a handful of 2-year-old high-priced claimers in their debuts, Sherman popped with a 16-1 shot in November 2006 and at odds of 57-1 in September 2007.

Sherman uses low-profile riders and today he is employing Felipe Valdez.

At the windows, I will put $400 to win on #4 Swiss Tart at 3-1 to 9-2 and I’ll increase my wager to $600 at 5-1 and up. If the odds on Swiss Tart are 5-2 or lower, then I’ll will instead put $350 to win on #6 Purgestein at 3-1 or better.

Also, at 5-1 to 19-1, I’ll put $150 to win on #5 Welcome Home Ryan and $200 to win on #7 Ultimate Question at 10-1 to 19-1 only.


Results: With two minutes to post, Swiss Tart was 4-1, but the late money knocked him to 5-2, which also knocked me out of action. None of the prices on my other three wagering scenarios fell into their odds windows either. So I had no action.


1 1 Alex T (KY) Nakatani C Bacorn H 17.80 5
2 2 Nitro Power (CA) Gihua J Martinez S 20.20 6
3 3 Liquid Asset (KY) Espinoza V Moger, Jr. E 3.80 3
4 4 Swiss Tart (CA) Santiago Reyes C Harrington M 2.60 1
5 5 Welcome Home Ryan (KY) Flores D Velasquez D 25.40 9
6 6 Purgestein (KY) Garcia M Bonde J 2.30 11
7 7 Ultimate Question (KY) Valdez F Sherman A 42.50 7
9 8 Tiger Bay (CO) Pedroza M Troeger R 18.40 4
10 9 Regroup (KY) Atkinson P Hendricks D 22.20 8
11 10 Trouble Rules (CA) Medellin A Fanning J 20.00 2
13 11 Clearance Clarence (KY) Smith M Papaprodromou G 8.10 10
SCR E Z Led (PA)    
SCR Jakesam (KY)    
Pgm Win Place Show
4 $7.20 $4.60 $3.40
11 $13.40 $6.40
3 $3.60
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $101.80 (7-8-3/6-4)
$1.00 Exacta

Results, Del Mar, Sunday, Race 4 – lost $200

Jockey Joe Talamo

The public as a group is a very good handicapper, which is why the tote board plays such a huge part in my wagering decisions.

In this race, seven out of nine of these starters were running for the first time ever. Yet, the crowd pounded four fillies to 4-to-1 or less while allowing five runners to go off at 20-to-1 or higher.
And the results: The favored horses finished 1-2-3-4.
My plan of action was to bet three debuters —  #2 Marishka Moon, #3 Intentional and #5 Tell a Kelly  — if their post time odds were 10/1 to 19/1.  I also liked #9 Pacific Pride, but only if her odds were 7/2 to 9/1.
The public totally ignored my first timers at the betting windows, so the odds were too high for me to wager. And then the crowd loaded up on Pacific Pride. And at 5/2, I couldn’t bet her either.
But I have contingency plans. And in the pre-race write-up I noted that I would put $200 on #4 Romanette if her odds were 5/2 to 4/1, which she was.
However, it really didn’t matter because #7 Pedaltothemedal jumped to an early lead and got stronger as the race got longer.
To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Retail (KY) Blanc B Sahadi J 26.70 7
2 2 Marishka Moon (KY) Bejarano R French N 28.30 8
3 3 Intentional (KY) Espinoza V Koriner B 27.50 6
4 4 Romanette (KY) Rosario J Baffert B 4.10 3
5 5 Tell a Kelly (FL) Quinonez A Sadler J 24.90 5
6 6 Dazzling Display (KY) Garcia M Baffert B 2.30 2
7 7 Pedaltothemedal (KY) Talamo J Sherman A 3.00 1
8 8 Pat’s Dream (KY) Flores D Hajek I 27.10 9
9 9 Pacific Pride (KY) Smith M Hollendorfer J 2.70 4
Pgm Win Place Show
7 $8.00 $4.00 $3.00
6 $3.80 $3.00
4 $3.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $13.70 (7-6)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $66.70 (6-7-7)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $81.80 (7-6-4-9)

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.

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 3 — lost $250

Comeandcatchme, #11, paid a shocking $140 to win for trainer Art Sherman

Comeandcatchme, #11, paid a shocking $140 to win for trainer Art Sherman

This group of maiden claimers appeared to be weak, as none of them approached the winning 68 median Beyer Speed Figure for this class in their past performances.

Therefore, a case could be made for spreading deep and landing on a 65-to-1 shot like #11 Comeandcatchme. But the way I look at these races is that the people who hit this horse will probably play more than 100 bombs before they cash another at 65-to-1.

In other words, in the long run it doesn’t pay to play these huge prices.

Comeandcatchme, who was making his second lifetime start for trainer Art Sherman, took the lead out of the gate in her Feb. 5 debut then faded away with very little urging from jockey Brice Blanc. On Saturday, this filly stalked the pace behind #10 Champagneforchelle and drew away in the stretch.

I bet $150 on first-time starter #4 Serena’s Echo and $100 to win on #8 Jet Set Lass, but neither of them hit the board.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

2 1 Connie D (CA) Enriquez I Weckerle K 58.80 10
3 2 Tan Tan (FL) Garcia M Rosales R 20.10 9
5 3 Humane (CA) Sorenson D Meredith D 23.40 3
6 4 It’s Partytime (KY) Talamo J Sherlock G 3.20 4
7 5 Comeandcatchme (KY) Blanc B Sherman A 20.30 11
8 6 A Taco Short (KY) Baze M Guillot E 4.80 2
9 7 Not So Plain Jane (CA) Quinonez A Aguirre P 13.00 8
10 8 Jeann D’ Arc (CA) Rios J Mendoza J 12.50 5
11 9 Woman Gone Wild (NM) Rosario J Moger, Jr. E 14.40 7
12 10 Shawnie Ora (CA) Espinoza V Hess, Jr. R 2.80 1
13 11 Tuesdayatsbicca’s (KY) Flores D Kruljac J 5.50 6
SCR Minor Issues (CA)    
SCR Telatrish (CA) Sutherland C Knapp S
Pgm Win Place Show
12 $7.60 $4.20 $3.00
8 $6.00 $4.80
5 $6.80
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Consolation Pick 3 paid $56.80
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