Sunday, Del Mar Race 5 — 4 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden special weight, 5-1/2 furlongs, 2 year olds

Possible overlays                  Morning line

#5 John Scott                           4/1
#6 Runaway Bandido                 20/1
#10 L’il Charlie Rose                   20/1
#11 Twenty Hawks                    8/1
#1A Full Effect                          7/2

The 9-to-5 morning line favorite #3 Bench the Judge ran well on July 5 when he finished third in a race where the second-place horse, Lion’s Story, came back to win on Saturday. He’s legitimate, but with Garrett Gomez riding, Bench the Judge will almost certainly be overbet.

Therefore, I will look to one of the first time starters to run a monster race. Carla Gaines trains #5 John Scott and she wins with a large percentage of debuters that go off at less than 8/1. So, it appears that this barn bets the good ones.

Judi Partridge owns #6 Runaway Bandido. She won with two of her last three first-time starters, and they were both trained by Rafael Becerra.

It’s possible that trainer Doug O’Neill may be sitting on a good one with #10 L’Il Charlie Rose. O’Neill will also saddle Bench the Judge and I’ve seen this scenerio played out all too many times. The trainer puts two horses in the race and they both run well, but the longer price defeats the chalk.

Also, trainer Mike Harrington is dangerous when he both owns and trains a Swiss Yodler 2-year-old. No doubt, Harrington has an excellent record first time out with these types, but most of the winners came at 4-1/2 furlongs. 

Finally, #11 Twenty Hawks is a good bet if the price is right.

At 10/1 to 19/1, I will bet $150 to win on #6 Runaway Bandido, #10 L’Il Charlie Rose and #11 Twenty Hawks. At 3/1 to 9/1, I’ll put $150 on #5 John Scott.

I won’t bet #1A if he’s still part of the entry with #1 Zees Echo. But if Zees Echo is scratched, then I’ll bet $150 on 1A Full Effect at 10/1 to 19/1.

Results, Del Mar Thursday Race 8 — lost $200

Trainer Mike Harrington wishes every field was soft at the one Towser beat in the 8th on Thursday.

Trainer Mike Harrington wishes every field was as soft at the one Towser beat in the 8th on Thursday.

Most races for Southern California maidens are fairly competitive with at least half the field eligible to win. However, that was not the case in Thursday’s eighth race, which had an 11-horse field.

After #11 Ministerfrommiami was scratched when running off at the gate, realistically this was just a two-horse race. And in what race caller Trevor Denman termed “a romp,” #10 Towser won to nobody’s surprise at 3-to-5.

Other than first-time starter #8 Danceuponthestars, the field was full of colts and geldings that typically dawdled out of the gate and offered no rally. The past performances for these horse were full of single digit speed figures and Beyer donuts.

As the race began, Towser shot to the front with #2 Bartok’s Bonus pressing the pace from the inside. Jockey Mike Smith, who sat with #8 Danceuponthestars in third place, was probably hoping Towser got tired.

But in the stretch, Towser pulled away to win by 5-1/2 lengths. The real race was for second where Bartok’s Bonus, who ran his eyeballs out at 19-to-1, got nailed on the wire by Danceuponthestars.

I lost $200 on Danceuponthestars at 4/1.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

2 1 Bartok’s Bonus (CA) Sorenson D Meredith D 19.40 3
3 2 My Royal Cat (CA) Santiago Reyes C Polanco M 11.80 6
4 3 Venito (CA) Atkinson P Mendoza J 55.70 10
5 4 Warrens Temptation (CA) Quinonez A Gutierrez J 14.70 5
6 5 El Ranchero (CA) Stra K Craigmyle K 17.90 8
7 6 Mr. Collen (CA) Kaenel K Polanco M 40.40 7
8 7 Danceuponthestars (CA) Smith M Moger, Jr. E 4.10 2
9 8 Quillotano (CA) Delgadillo A Sierra C 45.10 11
1 9 Lucero Negro (CA) Blanc B Zamora R 23.60 4
10 10 Towser (CA) Baze M Harrington M 0.60 1
12 11 El Chapo (CA) Arambula P Gonzalez F 39.50 9
SCR Ministerfrommiami (CA) Baze T Sadler J
SCR Google Me (CA) Garcia M Zamora R
Pgm Win Place Show
10 $3.20 $2.20 $2.20
8 $3.40 $3.00
2 $6.00
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Consolation Pick 3 paid $22.50 (3-7-11)
$1.00 Exacta paid $5.20 (10-8)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $39.80 (3-7-10)
$1.00 Pick 4 paid $186.90 (1-3/9/10/11-7-10/11)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $2972.70 (8 OF 8)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $502.00 (10-8-2-1-5)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $202.30 (10-8-2-1)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $36.60 (10-8-2)
$2.00 Consolation Double paid $5.80 (7-11)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $13.40 (7-10)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $13456.40 (8-11-1-3/9/10/11-7-10
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $154.00 (8-11-1-3/9/10/11-7-10/1
$2.00 Quinella paid $7.00 (8-10)
Fractional Times
22.83, 46.65, 58.85, 1:05.36

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

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $40,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 2 year olds

Possible overlays             Morning line

#8 Danceuponthestars           7/2
#10 Towser                          9/5

This field of 12 is full of very bad horses that can be easily eliminated. The median winning Beyer Speed Figure is 67, but nine of the 10 experienced runners entered in here have yet to crack 40. Furthermore, the odds on seven of them have been less than 20-to-1 only twice in 17 races with the average odds of these 17 races being 53-to-1.

Single digit speed figures and Beyer donuts populate the racing form page. I guess that’s why the morning line maker hung odds of 7-to-2 on #8 Danceuponthestars, a first time starter who has been training slowly at Golden Gate Fields.

Realistically, I can see only three horses winning this race: #8 Danceuponthestars, #10 Towser and #11 Ministerfrommiami. Any other horse would be a complete shocker.

Owned and trained by Ed Moger, Danceuponthestars is switching circuits and jockey Mike Smith has won five times and placed five times in 19 chances with 2-year-old first time starters. Although most of them were in the maiden special weight ranks.

Towser showed a good burst of speed on June 12 and trainer Mike Harrington upgrades the jockey from Felipe Valdez to Michael Baze. Towser should be near the early lead, but his odds may be no better than even money.

Finally, John Sadler sends out #11 Ministerfrommiami who ran in spurts in his July 3 debut. This gelding is running in his second lifetime race, but I like Danceuponthestars better.

At 5/2 or more, I will bet $200 on #8 Danceuponthestars and at 2/1 or better I’ll put $200 on Towser.

Saturday, Hollywood Park Race 10 — post time 5:30 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden special weight, 5-1/2 furlongs, 2 year-olds

Possible overlays             Morning line

#3 Paddy’s Prayer                 5/1
#4 Zero Manners                   20/1
#5 Seattle Ruler                    12/1
#8 Ranger Heartley                6/1
#1 Amore Di Aleyna                6/1
#10 Deputy Max                    20/1
#1A Summers at Delmar        6/1

My strategy is to play against #6 Alfarabi, #11 Zip Quick and most likely #3 Paddy’s Prayer. According to the morning line maker, these three colts all figure to be bet from 9/5 to 5/1 and my figures show that these types of horses are terrible wagers at low odds in this type of race.

Instead, I will spread and try to catch a price. None of the second-time starters except #11 Zip Quick ran too strong of a Beyer Speed Figure in their debuts. Mike Harrington trains #5 Seattle Ruler and that one has the quickest first quarter mile, however several of the others either hopped at the start or were off slowly in their first races.

Many times, horses who had trouble at the start in their debuts will comeback and run much better with a good break. First-time starters #3 Paddy’s Prayer, #4 Zero Manners and #10 Deputy Max look like decent wagers, but only if their odds are right.

I will bet $150 to win on both #5 Seattle Ruler and #8 Ranger Heartley at 4/1 or more, and any of these first-time starters but only at odds of 10/1 to 19/1: #3 Paddy’s Prayer, #4 Zero Manners, #10 Deputy Max and #12 Google Me.

Results, Santa Anita Monday Race 6 — lost $450

Trainer Mike Harrington lit up the board with 30/1 first timer #2 Shock the Board

Trainer Mike Harrington lit up the tote with 30/1 first timer #2 Shock the Board

In horse racing, winning is so sweet because there are so many ways to lose a race.

And some beats sting a lot more than others.

The laws of probabilities seem to be stacked against  horseplayers in any one race, even if they choose the right contenders and only bet them at good prices.

Of course, it’s easy to shrug off winning horses that are tossed out as non-contenders — whether they are favorites or long shots — because they are going to win their share of races.

You can easily rationalilze those because they don’t win enough at prices that make them profitable in the long run.

But the real pain starts when the odds on a horse you really like dip below your betting zone, so you lay off. Then you sit there and watch it win, while gritting your teeth as others celebrate around you.

You can rationalize those, too, easily enough by looking at the measly prices of $5.60 or $4.80 on the tote board.

But, to me, the biggest punch in the stomach in racing is when the odds on a runner you picked are sitting perfectly in your betting zone, then drift too high at the last minute. You can’t bet, and when the horse wins it’s really a killer.

Which brings us to Monday’s sixth race, where the odds on first-time starter #2 Shock the Board were fluctuating between 16-to-1 to 18-to-1 for all of the pre-race period. I was fully prepared to bet it at anything less than 20-to-1.

But with two minutes to post, the odds on Shock the Board went to 23-to-1.

Mike Harrington trained it, owned it and worked it two bullets. And he did one more thing right with Shock the Board — after seeing the $62.40 price the horse paid, it was obvious that he gave the animal the right name.

I also bet $350 on the Mike Mitchell-trained #3 Morton Owen at 7-to-2, $100 on #4 Gretsky, who was second.

To watch a replay of this race, go to


1 1 Foreign Taurean (KY) Gryder A Knapp S 5.10 7
2 2 Shock the Board (CA) Garcia M Harrington M 30.20 1
1A 3 Fiery Rebel (KY) Nakatani C Knapp S 5.10 9
3 4 Morton Owen (KY) Bejarano R Mitchell M 3.60 4
4 5 Gretsky (KY) Rosario J Drysdale N 5.20 2
5 6 Ben’s Bullet (FL) Potts C La Croix D 22.30 5
6 7 Bradytomoss (NY) Baze T Kitchingman A 9.10 8
7 8 Arm Chair Q B (CA) Talamo J Koriner B 15.40 6
8 9 Dubai Rainbow (FL) Valdivia, Jr. J Ellis R 2.40 3
9 10 Atlantic Victory (CA) Rios J McAnally R 7.20 10
Pgm Win Place Show
2 $62.40 $24.00 $11.20
4 $6.60 $4.00
8 $2.80
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $205.20 (2-4)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $405.80
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