Racing! The horse racing community continues to work together

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we move into the last week of the Los Alamitos meet.

Let’s spend a little more time catching up on ideas to help and honor the victims of the San Luis Rey training center fire.

In the last newsletter we threw out some ideas to raise awareness and money to help those affected by the fire. Santa Anita listened, and also received very similar ideas from many in the racing community. So we are all on the same page.

However, Santa Anita wants to be cautious about moving too fast and risking the health of the horses. They want to make sure that all the SLR horses are up to whatever is planned. I’m guessing there isn’t a formula for getting better after smoke inhalation or any other unseen injuries of being in the burn area. They also need to catalog which horses were down there and what class conditions they might have been. Not as easy as it sounds.

They promise that they will be doing something but it’s likely not going to be at the start of the meeting.

Now, I’ve been in the news business for almost Methuselah-like years, and I know that every story has a lifespan. And it’s usually not that long. The general public will start to forget about these horses and this tragedy as it is replaced by news that is more immediate. That’s just the way it is, nothing nefarious.

So I, and you, need to be vigilant and keep asking when something will happen or “down the road” becomes never. I trust the folks at Santa Anita on this, but a little friendly reminder every once in a while will be good.

OK, some facts. A lot of the horse population has been moved to other farms and such from Del Mar.

The California Horse Racing Board has the death toll at 46 with only a handful of horses unaccounted for. Let’s hope they have all been fostered on a farm and will be reunited with their trainers and owners very soon.

There were about 260 thoroughbreds at Del Mar and they were expected to stay there for several weeks and gradually ease in to full-out training. There were at least 300 other breeds also housed at the track.

Del Mar is also the home to about 200 stable workers, staying in 160 rooms.

Del Mar will remain as a training facility while San Luis Rey gets operational. Can’t say it loud enough how Del Mar stepped up. And Santa Anita and Los Alamitos were also housing horses. But Del Mar made the most sense because it doesn’t have to run a meet for seven months.

The gofundme page (thoroughbredcare) has raised almost $600,000.

There is another one (rallyformartinebellocq), that will help trainer Martine Bellocq after she suffered severe burns over most of her body while trying to rescue her horses. The California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation in conjunction with the California Thoroughbred Trainers also has a contribution site for Bellocq at

And artist Niska Cheffet is willing to lend her talent to capture anyone’s horse for posterity for a $1,000 donation. She can be reached at

Here are some thoughts from subscribers.

“After the recovery and things get back to a semblance of normal, I would love to see a memorial built to all the horses who were lost. It could be a simple granite obelisk with the names of the 46 horses who died.

“Something like: ‘CALIFORNIA DIAMOND, Harbor the Gold, ­ Carrie’s a Jewel, 3YO Colt’ …and 45 more names.

“If I remember correctly, Del Mar has already interred the remains of racehorses within its infield. Placing a memorial stone there would be fitting.”

“Maybe they could write races with the usual Cal-Bred supplements but restricted for SLRD horses only. Maybe include donations as “added monies” as well.

How about all horsemen’s fees paid by donations? Put the word out now to accept donations but give horses time to recover from any physical or emotional trauma. Run races later in the meet.”

“We are a small Foundation (ALO Foundation), please check our website and we have rescues both off-track and others. We are on Wheeler Canyon Rd. in Santa Paula. We need to re-establish our buildings, all our tack and gear. Luckily all our horses were saved and are currently at the fairgrounds in Ventura. The Thomas Fire spread so quickly we had to let loose the last six horses. They were later reunited with the others due to some good Samaritans who found them in time.

“Our horses have finished their profitable and some not-so-profitable racing careers and are now in the possession of our non-profit foundation. We are relatively new (April 2016). We are simply renting a piece of land where we had put up our own facilities. We lost our tack room, office and feed rooms, all our tack and gear, over 20 saddles and gear for as many horses. We need everything. We lost all our supplies and feed as well.

“We, too, have a GoFundMe, and a donation button on our website and FB page; but because our horses are no longer earning money we are the forgotten ones. There are OTTB horses who need help because of fire damage and loss.

“We need a prefabricated feed room and another larger one for our tack room and office. We need everything else as well and would willingly accept any used items that are not needed anymore. The horses and ALOF would be forever grateful. All donations are tax free, ALOF is a registered 501(c)3.”

(My note: It is good to remember that not all losses were at San Luis Rey.)

In the Monday newsletter, I asked for your thoughts on what holiday gifts you would like to give horse racing people or organizations. Something like, “To Bolt D’Oro and Mick and Wendy Ruis, I would give them a 2-year-old colt of the year Eclipse Award.”

I got a few responses but I would like some more. And, if you remember, I said I need first and last names if you want me to consider your submission (unless you are Oprah, Beyonce or a Brazilian soccer player). Some of you missed that, so you’ll need to re-submit.

So, send it to me at and, if I get some, we’ll roll it out Monday. Put holiday gift in the subject, and if you want your name used, make sure you include first and last name.

Los Alamitos is changing its schedule this week with a 12:30 p.m. post and nine races on Thursday and Friday, and a noon post with 10 races on the weekend. This is the last week of this meet.

Thursday’s card is filled with claiming races, six of the nine. The fields held up pretty well despite the loss of the horses from San Luis Rey. In the seventh race is Knowitallhousewife, which is one of the first—if the not the first—horses to race that was stabled at SLR. She’s the 5-2 favorite for trainer Aaron Kitchingman. The race is a maiden claimer over five furlongs for fillies and mares 3 and up.

The two features, with purses of $40,000, are the second and fifth, both maiden special weight races, one for fillies and mares, 3 and up, and one for 2 year olds.

Mark Ratzky’s LRC play of the day

FIFTH RACE: No. 8 Aquila (5-1)

Son of Union Rags fetched 685K at auction back in March and Simon Callaghan wastes little time giving him a chance to stretch his legs in this debut at a mile.

Sunday’s result: La Force, as the 1-2 favorite, finished second.

Mark Ratzky worked for 22 years for the Daily Racing Form and has been the simulcast announcer/publicity at Los Alamitos for the past 19 years.

Still looking to jump the circulation of this newsletter. Can’t beat the price. If you like it, tell someone. If you don’t like it, then you’re probably not reading this. Either way, send to a friend and just have them click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email, nothing more.

Any thoughts, drop me an email at my new address or feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa

And now the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.

Los Alamitos Race Course Entries for Thursday, December 14.

Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 9th day of a 12-day meet.


5 Furlongs. Purse: $13,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Warrensdollarsigns Vinnie Bednar 124 Bret Vickery 4-1 6,250
2 Nazareth Tiago Pereira 124 Gary Sherlock 3-1 6,250
3 Prophetinparadise Juan Sanchez 124 Jose Antonio Flores 5-2 6,250
4 My Project Girl Marcial Ramirez 122 LaTorre III Jose L. De 8-1 6,250
5 Marynetta Edgar Payeras 114 Kelly Castaneda 15-1 6,250
6 Southern Treasure Efrain Hernandez 124 Rosemary Trela 2-1 6,250


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Promnesia Drayden Van Dyke 122 Martin F. Jones 5-2
2 Arunachala Evin Roman 117 Peter Eurton 2-1
3 Del Mar Diva Saul Arias 122 Michael Machowsky 3-1
4 Tiz Intriguing Stewart Elliott 122 Patricia Harrington 6-1
5 In Heat Efrain Hernandez 122 J. Eric Kruljac 6-1
6 Warm It Up Modesto Linares 122 Vernon E. Aguayo 8-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Mr. Twinery Evin Roman 117 Jerry Hollendorfer 5-2 40,000
2 Vegas Itch Brayan Pena 122 George Papaprodromou 5-1 40,000
3 Taste’s Legend Matt Garcia 122 Marsha D. Schwizer 4-1 35,000
4 Dude’s Dude Santiago Gonzalez 122 Bobby Wayne Grayson 12-1 40,000
5 Chrisiscookin Joseph Talamo 122 Jesus Mendoza 2-1 40,000
6 Rak City Tiago Pereira 122 Philip D’Amato 5-1 40,000
7 Stella Fella Stewart Elliott 122 J. Eric Kruljac 12-1 40,000


1 Mile. Purse: $14,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $8,000-$7,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Alpha Uno Saul Arias 119 Gerard Piccioni 12-1 8,000
2 Jonny’s Choice Stewart Elliott 124 William Spawr 2-1 8,000
3 Kristo Joseph Talamo 124 John W. Sadler 5-2 8,000
4 Old Man Lake Brayan Pena 124 Rafael Becerra 7-2 8,000
5 Smarty Moon Tiago Pereira 119 Oscar L. Garcia 15-1 8,000
6 All Star Parade Edwin Maldonado 124 Michael Pender 3-1 8,000
7 Sharp Hooq Brandon Boulanger 121 Salvador Naranjo 20-1 8,000


1 Mile. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Canadian Game Kyle Frey 122 Doug F. O’Neill 3-1
2 Saratoga Morning Saul Arias 122 J. Keith Desormeaux 12-1
3 Gran Fiesta Evin Roman 117 Jerry Hollendorfer 12-1
4 Draft Pick Joseph Talamo 122 Peter Eurton 5-1
5 Destiny Awaits Drayden Van Dyke 122 Bob Baffert 5-1
6 Holly Blame Brayan Pena 122 Paulo H. Lobo 20-1
7 Dark Vader Stewart Elliott 122 Peter Eurton 6-1
8 Aquila Edwin Maldonado 122 Simon Callaghan 5-1
9 Regulate Mike Smith 122 Bob Baffert 7-2


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Lord Charles Brayan Pena 122 Carlos Cruz Lopez 20-1 50,000
2 Moon Juice Matt Garcia 122 Philip A. Oviedo 6-1 50,000
3 Exultation Evin Roman 117 Peter Eurton 5-1 50,000
4 Chromie Brandon Boulanger 118 Robert J. Lucas 20-1 40,000
5 Street Zombie Edwin Maldonado 122 Michael Pender 5-2 50,000
6 What’s Inside Tyler Conner 122 Mike Puype 3-1 50,000
7 Silver Fury Stewart Elliott 122 Blake R. Heap 4-1 50,000
8 Pepe the Legend Kyle Frey 122 Doug F. O’Neill 6-1 50,000


5 Furlongs. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Argumentative Brayan Pena 122 John W. Sadler 3-1 20,000
2 Crimsoned N Clover Ruben Fuentes 115 Mark Rheinford 6-1 20,000
3 Right to the Point Efrain Hernandez 124 J. Eric Kruljac 7-2 20,000
4 Knowitallhousewife Evin Roman 117 Adam Kitchingman 5-2 20,000
5 Liza G. Matt Garcia 122 Kathy Walsh 12-1 20,000
6 Diamond Proof Juan Sanchez 122 Jesus Nunez 12-1 20,000
7 Chatty Carole Geovanni Franco 122 Hector O. Palma 10-1 20,000
8 Lady Acclamation Saul Arias 122 Kenneth D. Black 8-1 20,000
9 Kitty’s Girl Vinnie Bednar 122 Bobby Wayne Grayson 20-1 20,000


5 Furlongs. Purse: $15,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Ryderroo Minor Arana 124 Jesus Nunez 6-1
2 Papa Mambo Edwin Maldonado 124 Brian J. Koriner 7-2
3 Scathing Santiago Gonzalez 124 Adam Kitchingman 3-1
4 Lucky Student Ruben Fuentes 117 Craig Dollase 7-2
5 Bellanza Kyle Frey 124 Bill McLean 8-1
6 Where’s the D Maria Falgione 114 Michael Machowsky 8-1
7 Aiming Straight Felipe Martinez 124 Mike Harrington 6-1
8 Magical Lucy Vinnie Bednar 122 Charles S. Treece 12-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $12,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Coco Smooches Laura Werner 115 Kelly Castaneda 10-1 6,250
2 Journeyonthemove Stewart Elliott 124 Mike Puype 8-5 6,250
3 Forthe Lovof Patty Vinnie Bednar 122 Keith E. Craigmyle 5-1 6,250
4 Double a Kaf A Fernandez Rojas 122 Louis A. Bradvica 20-1 6,250
5 Passion for Papa Rocco Bowen 122 Ari Herbertson 5-2 6,250
6 Family Rules Salvador Iniguez 124 Duff Shidaker 20-1 6,250
7 My Ebony Star Juan Sanchez 122 Jesus Nunez 20-1 6,250
8 Forest Wildflower Felipe Martinez 124 Roman Figueroa 5-1 6,250
9 Ghost Lady Edgar Payeras 114 Lorenzo Campuzano 20-1 6,250
10 Blazing Miss Johnny Allen 122 Jesus Nunez 20-1 6,250

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