Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 3 — won $330

faqIt seems to me that there is no more realistic trainer in the game than Mike Mitchell. A few years ago, I remember a horse owned by Overbrook Farm that ran several times at maiden special weight, but just wasn’t good enough to win at that class. Since Overbrook Farm is mainly a breeding operation, the owners were reluctant to enter their horse in a claiming race and risk losing him.

And gelding him? That was completely out of the question.

Enter Mike Mitchell.

Mitchell talked one of his owners into buying the horse in a private sale. The trainer quickly gelded the animal, dropped it into a claiming race, and watched it win convincingly.

So, it’s no coincidence that Mitchell is winning with 37 percent of his maiden claimers. He knows how to get the job done.

In this race, #11 Bostoner was running in his tenth lifetime start, but nine of those were in maiden special weights. Zayat Stables, Bostoner’s owners, paid $360,000 for the horse as a yearling in 2006 and were very patiently waiting for him to learn how to run.

Dale Romans trained Bostoner on the East Coast and Mid West during 2007-2008, then Zayat sent the 4-year-old colt to Mitchell this January. Mitchell seemingly tried everything to appease the powerful Zayat Stables, who also owns Pioneerof The Nile: He ran Bostoner once on the grass, once in a main track route and then tried him in a sprint against lower quality maiden special weight horses at Golden Gate.

In his nine races, Bostoner never finished better than third and never broke 80 on the Beyer scale. So, it seemed painfully obvious that Bostoner wasn’t going to suddenly wake up and start winning stakes races.

Bostoner was nothing more than a claimer and Mitchell knew it. Although the colt couldn’t win at higher levels, he ran fast enough in a majority of his previous races to win most low-level maiden claimers in Southern California.

So, on Sunday, Mitchell dropped Bostoner into a $25,000 maiden claiming sprint where the colt was finally running where he belonged.

In the race, jockey Rafael Bejarano battled for the lead down the backstretch, Bostoner took over in the lane then hung tough to the wire. When it was over, Zayat Stables had moved Bostoner out of the maiden ranks, while Mitchell fattened up his already bloated winning percentage even more.

But Bostoner only paid $4.40 because all of Mitchell’s live ones seem to be bet to 5/2 or below. On the site, I wagered $400 to win on #11 Bostoner and $150 on #6 Don’t Forget Mug at 4/1. I profited $330 after collecting $880.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Heywatchulookingat (CA) Gladney D Montes D 112.00 8
2 2 Figo (CA) Williams D Bradvica L 71.40 11
3 3 Little Bro (CA) Enriquez I DeLima J 26.30 2
5 4 Ask George (CA) Baze T Mulhall K 17.70 5
6 5 Don’t Forget Muq (CA) Rosario J Monteleone F 4.10 6
7 6 Precaper (CA) Vergara O Avila A 54.50 7
8 7 Lethal Dose (CA) Stra K Martinez S 12.00 3
9 8 Leavin in a Limo (CA) Gryder A Koriner B 2.70 4
11 9 Bostoner (KY) Bejarano R Mitchell M 1.20 1
12 10 Thunder Bubbles (CA) Martin G Flores F 144.00 10
14 11 Lenador (KY) Hill C O’Neill D 14.90 9
SCR Warrington (CA) Arambula P Becerra R
SCR Degreko (CA) Garcia M Periban J
SCR Delicato (KY)    
Pgm Win Place Show
11 $4.40 $3.40 $2.80
3 $17.80 $11.00
8 $5.80
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $45.70 (11-3)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $177.40 (2-4-11)
$1.00 Superfecta

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

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 4 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                                 Morning line

#6 Don’t Forget Muq                                   6/1
#11 Bostoner                                             5/2
#14 Lenador                                             12/1

The median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class is a 74 and #11 Bostoner has met or exceeded that number in four of his nine races. The problem was that this horse has been running in maiden special weight races on the grass and even tried a route on the main track.

Mike Mitchell took over the training of Bostoner in January and I’m sure he was reluctant to drop him into claiming because the horse was purchased by the Zayat Stables for $360,000. But after trying grass, a main track route and even shipping to the weaker fields at Golden Gate, it was time to face reality and enter the horse at a class level where it realistically can win.

And nobody’s better with a maiden claimer in Southern California than Mitchell, who has won with 25 of his last 68 maiden claimers or 36 percent.

Others who have a shot are #6 Don’t Forget Muq and #14 Lenador. Trained by Frank Monteleone, Don’t Forget Muq is coming off five-months of rest and relaxation. He’s got the best quarter mile speed in the race, which means something at 5-1/2 furlongs. Lenador is also coming back after a long break. He ran a 70 Beyer Speed Figure on July 12, which was his last time out.

I will bet $400 to win on Bostoner at 5/2 or less, but nothing on him at 3/1 or more. Also, I will take $150 to win on whoever goes off at a lower price in the range of 4/1 to 9/1 between #4 Don’t Forget Muq and #14 Lenador. But if Bostoner is 3/1 or more, I’ll put $150 on both Don’t Forget Muq and Lenador only at 4/1 and 9/1.

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 1 — lost $600

Jockey Victor Espinoza on #13 Lanie's Way eeks out victory over #11 Fine Time to Leave

Lanie's Way, #13, eeks out victory over #11 Fine Time to Leave

Coming into this race Mike Mitchell, the trainer of #11 Fine Time to Leave, had won with 24 of his last 66 maiden claimers and anybody who was on them all made 24 percent on their money.

So, even though Fine Time to Leave had not run a Beyer Speed Figure in the 60’s, she figured to make an impact. Jockey Rafael Bejarano broke Mitchell’s filly in the middle of the pack then made a five-wide move on the turn. She rallied on the outside in the stretch, but couldn’t run down #13 Lanie’s Way, who held on by a head.

Lanie’s Way had almost the same exact trip as Fine Time to Leave. The only difference was that jockey Victor Espinoza moved earlier on the turn and was always a couple of lengths ahead of Fine Time to Leave until the very end.

I bet $400 on Fine Time to Leave at 2/1 and $200 on #3 Latego Light at 4/1.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

2 1 Sister Derek (CA) Nakatani C Hess, Jr. R 38.10 10
3 2 Latego Light (FL) Baze M Eurton P 4.10 5
4 3 Misstrailcityzone (CA) Quinonez A Nettles K 108.40 11
5 4 Runway Starlet (CA) Baze T O’Neill D 6.00 6
6 5 Fleet Royale (KY) Blanc B French N 54.90 3
7 6 Champagneforchelle (CA) Stra K Lewis G 63.00 13
8 7 Coatcheck Girl (KY) Gryder A Marquez A 6.60 4
9 8 My Reality (CA) Russell C Mendoza J 94.40 12
10 9 Minor Issues (CA) Sorenson D Semkin S 10.40 7
11 10 Fine Time to Leave (KY) Bejarano R Mitchell M 2.30 2
12 11 Warrens Sweetheart (CA) Valdivia, Jr. J Gutierrez J 42.20 9
13 12 Lanie’s Way (KY) Espinoza V Kitchingman A 4.50 1
14 13 Swingin Storm (FL) Garcia M Harty E 18.00 8
SCR Poolside (CA)    
Pgm Win Place Show
13 $11.00 $5.00 $3.40
11 $3.80 $3.00
6 $17.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $21.60 (13-11)

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

Results, Santa Anita Wednesday Race 1 — lost $350

Uncle Jeep with jockey Garrett Gomez won without difficulty after being bet to 4-to-5

Uncle Jeep with jockey Garrett Gomez won without difficulty after being bet to 4-to-5

He failed as the favorite at this class level three straight times, but on Wednesday jockey Garrett Gomez got #4 Uncle Jeep to finally break his maiden.

Trained by Mike Mitchell, this horse was no secret, as he closed at 4-to-5 to pay just $3.80.

The race began with #1 Eddie the Hat zooming to a clear lead down the backstretch with Uncle Jeep stalking him just a length or two behind. At the top of the stretch Uncle Jeep challenged the leader who tried to go with him. But Eddie the Hat couldn’t match strides and weakened.

It was Gomez’ first chance riding Uncle Jeep and his win continues the great recent success he and Mitchell have had together, winning 13 out of 36 races before this.

I was watching the tote board on a couple of second timers and ended up betting $200 on #6 Hammurabi at 9-to-2. Also, I put $150 on 18-to-1 shot #2 Cracked Code, who was making his debut. 

To watch a replay of this race go to

1 1 Eddie the Hat (KY) Nakatani C Stute G 1.70 2
2 2 Cracked Code (FL) Talamo J Mollica M 18.90 3
3 3 Khurt Harry (CA) Espinoza V Abrams B 28.90 6
4 4 Uncle Jeep (IL) Gomez G Mitchell M 0.80 1
5 5 Pemba At U. T. K. (CA) Fong, Jr. F Ho H 41.40 4
6 6 Hammurabi (FL) Enriquez I Matlow R 4.60 5
Pgm Win Place Show
4 $3.60 $2.20 $2.10
1 $2.80 $2.80
2 $3.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $4.50 (4-1)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $15.90 (4-1-2)

Wednesday, Santa Anita Race 1 — 1 p.m. post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $50,000, 6 furlongs, 3 year olds

Possible overlays                   Morning line

#1 Eddie the Hat                               3/1
#2 Cracked Code                              10/1
#6 Hammurabi                                  4/1

The obvious horse in here is #4 Uncle Jeep, but the odds on this one are almost certain to be minuscule. Uncle Jeep was the beaten favorite in his last three races, he is ridden by money magnet Garrett Gomez and Mike Mitchell is by far the most accomplished and recognized trainer of the six in here.

Uncle Jeep’s morning line is 4-to-5 and even if he goes off at even money, he would only be a good bet if you thought Uncle Jeep had 65-to-70 percent chance of victory. That’s a difficult argument to make, considering this horse so far has lost five sprint races at this class level.

His previous jockey Victor Espinoza jumps to #3 Khurt Harry, and I don’t like him either because he raced greenly in his initial race on Dec 27. On that day, Khurt Harry broke slowly, remained in last on the turn and zig-zagged through the stretch while never showing anything.

However, second-timers #1 Eddie the Hat and #6 Hammurabi both ran OK in their debuts, posting Beyer Speed Figures of greater than 50. Richard Matlow, the trainer of Hammurabi, has been winning at 30 percent second time out for two years now, while Eddie the Hat flashed speed in a turf sprint and has four good workouts on his ledger.

Finally, debuter #2 Cracked Code has a shot, as the owners De Renzo & Hartly won with their only first timer. That horse was trained by Jeff Mullins and it paid $10.40 on Aug. 8.

I will bet $200 on both #1 Eddie the Hat and #6 Hammurabi at odds of 5/2 or more. Also, at 6/1 to 19/1, I’ll take a $150 shot to win on #2 Cracked Code.

Thursday, Santa Anita Race 8 — 4:37 p.m. post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $32,000, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Possible overlays                                Morning line

#2 Cold Ruler                                             5/1
#3 African Gray                                         12/1
#4 Bubsy                                                   7/2
#7 Haughty Topper                                 5/1
#9 Good Newsman                                     5/1
#10 At the Beach                                       12/1

Three first-time starters look like good bets at the right prices: #3 African Gray, #7 Haughty Topper and #10 At the Beach. The best bet of that group will likely be the Mike Mitchell-trained Haughty Topper. Mitchell is known for being good second time out, but he’s also been winning first time recently and owners Tommy Town Thoroughbreds have a high percentage of debut winners.

On the far outside, owner-trainer Craig Lewis starts #10 At the Beach, an offspring of Larry the Legend, a sire that has produced a few debut winners for Lewis. This trainer’s live maidens tend to get early action on the tote board.

Dan Hendricks trains #9 Good Newsman, who lost two lengths in his last when shuffled back, but showed that he has the ability to win at this level. Both Good Newsman and #4 Bubsy have the right running style to win at 6 1/2 furlongs. On the inside, second-timer #2 Cold Ruler was bet to 7/1 in his first race where he made a middle move at 7 furlongs. Also, he’s showing fast workouts in the Daily Racing Form.

I will bet $300 on #7 Haughty Topper at 5/2 or better, $150 on #3 African Gray at 10/1 to 19/1, and $100 on At the Beach at 5/1 to 14/1.

Also, I will take $200 on #9 Good Newsman at 3/1 or better and $100 on #2 Cold Ruler at 5/2 to 6/1 only.

Results Santa Anita Sunday Race 9 — lost $400

ahhhhhh-by-rock-and-racehorses3The winner, #6 Dolly Daggers, just outclassed them in here. It was her 18th start, but 12 of them were in Europe and the five previous in the United States were at much higher levels. She paid a decent price at 3/1, but I instead went with a group of second-time starters that looked like they had potential to fire big. I bet $200 on #4 Sally Says So, and $100 on both #9 Coconut Telegraph and #11 No Guessing. Trained by Mike Mitchell, who is winning at 24 percent for 2008, Coconut Telegraph had a clear lead for much of the race at 5/1 before succumbing in midstretch.

To watch a replay of this race go to

1 1 Thoughtthatcounts (KY) Baze M Semkin S 30.40 10
2 2 She’s a Single (CA) Talamo J Bernstein D 29.10 7
3 3 Saint’s Crown (KY) Court J Carava J 4.60 4
4 4 Sally Says So (CA) Gryder A Lewis C 8.70 8
5 5 La Balota (CA) Scott J Saavedra A 98.50 13
6 6 Dolly Daggers (NZ) Potts C Knapp S 3.30 1
7 7 Lacey Leilah (CA) Sutherland C Gaines C 15.10 3
8 8 Makor’s Girl (WA) Rodriguez A Ho H 54.60 9
9 9 Coconut Telegraph (CA) Pedroza M Mitchell M 5.50 6
10 10 Good Girl Chelsie (CA) Quinonez A Stute G 100.80 11
11 11 No Guessing (KY) Rosario J Walsh K 3.80 2
12 12 Ms Paint It Black (CA) Couton J Shidaker D 117.30 12
13 13 Saugatuck River (KY) Puglisi I Hofmans D 6.10 5
Pgm Win Place Show
6 $8.60 $4.60 $3.60
11 $4.20 $3.80
7 $7.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $20.50 (6-11)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $88.80 (1-2-6)
$1.00 Pick 4 paid $860.10 (5-1-2/3/8-6)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $2846.50 (9 OF 9)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $3446.10 (6-11-7-3-13)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $290.00 (6-11-7)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $21.80 (2-6)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $898.20 (6-3-5-1-2/3/8-6)

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — 4:30 pm post time


Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Claiming 25K, 6 furlongs, 3yo’s and up

Possible overlays                             Morning line

# 4 Sally Says So                                       6/1
#7 Lacey Leilah                                        15/1
#8 Makor’s Girl                                          20/1
#9 Coconut Telegraph                             10/1
#11 No Guessing                                       5/1

Coming off the long layoff, #4 Sally Says So could be the surprise in this race. And what’s this, a Mike Mitchell trained second-timer named Coconut Telegraph at 10/1? I’ve got to take a long look at that one. And finally, #11 No Guessing is trained by Kathy Walsh, who won a race on Saturday with horse making its second start who was adding blinkers, just like this one. 

In the betting, I want $200 to win on #4 Sally Say So between 2/1 and 9/1, and $100 on any of these horses whose post time odds are less than 10/1 #7 Lacey Leilah, #8 Makor’s Girl, #9 Coconut Telegraph and  #11 No Guessing.

%d bloggers like this: