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    MARK GEIGER: Longshots, Comments, Chalk Festival
    WARREN EVES: Horses to Watch, Comments

  • July 2017
    S M T W T F S
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    Someone made a score when Arrogate ran his clunker; Betting trend shows what produced unusual payoffs

    Posted By Warren Eves on July 24, 2017

    By Warren Eves “Somebody made a score.” One astute horse player made that statement after 1-to-20 favorite Arrogate ran a clunker finishing a badly beaten fourth in the San Diego Handicap Saturday at Del Mar. “I wasn’t paying attention to betting trends in that race because I knew there was no way on earth I would be betting on–or against–Arrogate,” said the well known bettor who asked that his name not be used. “So I didn’t notice Accelerant’s 10-to-1 odds plunge to 7-to-1 in the last flash. As soon as the race was (more…)

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    There’s reason why the biggest bettors flock to HKJC; Nearly $19 MILLION was bet PER RACE in Hong Kong

    Posted By Warren Eves on July 20, 2017

    By Warren Eves “Any wonder why the world’s biggest horse bettors have flocked to Hong Kong?” That statement that came our way from Jay Richards, former turf editor of the Las Vegas Review Journal. Richards knows the Hong Kong Jockey Club circuit about as well as anyone. He’s done video tape review of each and every race for the past 26 years. “Hong Kong handled $15.28 BILLION(equivalent in U.S. dollars) over its 88 racing dates during the 2016-17 season which ended Sunday,” reports Richards, “an average of $173.6 million per racing date(U.S. dollars). A total of 807 races were run, making the per-race handle nearly $19 million(U.S. dollars).” (more…)

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    Time for house cleaning at the once great race place; Rick Hammerle’s ways have been mitigated disaster

    Posted By Warren Eves on June 6, 2017

    By Warren Eves It’s time for a house cleaning at the once great race place. Santa Anita Park could not muster enough horses to run on April 27. That spoke loud and clear as to how bleak things have been for some time. The lack of entries issue surfaced again.  A June 8th program in the condition book also had to be scrapped. Anyone who has followed the erosion of Southern California racing over the years, even in casual fashion, knows you don’t have to go any further than to point the finger at Rick Hammerle. That’s why we were shocked when the Stronach Group’s Tim Ritvo told TVG viewers: “Rick Hammerle is a real top racing secretary and director of racing, so we know he knows what he’s doing.” Huh! You gotta be kidding! Ritvo is in Arcadia, Ca., trying to put a finger in the dike which has been on the verge of bursting for a long time. Ritvo appears to be a nice guy, but while he’s (more…)

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    Ky Derby winner may not be coming out of the west; Pletcher appears to have best colt in Always Dreaming

    Posted By Warren Eves on April 9, 2017

    By Warren Eves It was great to see class act John Shirreffs win the Santa Anita Derby with Gormley. Looking at the Ky Derby picture for the first time this year–it’s safe to say this year’s winner probably won’t be Gormley. And…….you probably won’t find the winner of that Derby in Louisville among the 12 colts who chased Gormley to the wire at Santa Anita on April 8. Gormley’s final fraction of 13.61 is the tell tale sign when one is looking for quality. Handicappers must include final fractions(ff) when ferriting out colts who appear to have a realistic chance of winning the run for roses in Kentucky. In the ninth race on the same Santa Anita Derby card the filly Sircat Sally led every step and came her final fraction in (more…)

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    Mirahmadi continues to amaze at Golden Gate mike; Chemo treatments have not affected gallant race caller

    Posted By Warren Eves on March 24, 2017

    By Warren Eves Courage is found in many places One venue you’ll find it is in the announcer’s booth at Golden Gate Fields. Race caller Frank Mirahmadi continues to amaze as he mans the microphone. Nobody could guess he’s being put to yet another ultimate test. Despite chemo infusion treatments, Frank continues to call each race with aplomb. “Frank is one of the strongest guys I’ve ever known,” says close friend Jay Richards, former turf editor of the Las Vegas Review. “His race calls at Golden Gate have been bold, authoratative–and as always, extremely (more…)

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    Oklahoma-bred Plum Gorgeous could be special; Snickerboxer’s number could be misleading at Oak

    Posted By Warren Eves on February 2, 2017

    By Warren Eves Sometimes a performance jumps off the page at you. That would be the case of a maiden $40,000 six-furlong dash January 26 at Oaklawn Park. Plum Gorgeous wired a field of eight impressively for red-hot trainer Federico Villafranco. Who knows what the future holds for the daughter of Hansen owned by Dan Caldwell?  “She’s an Oklahoma-bred so that made her more appealing to me,” says Caldwell. “She’s a beautiful gray filly who hopefully has a bright future not only racing but as a broodmare.” The Caldwell-Villafranco stable would be welcomed by any racing secretary in the country. They’re always aggressive at the claim box and more importantly, they fill races. While we’re (more…)

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    Medal of Courage’s run leaves scribe in quandary; Diodoro making mink out of possum at Oaklawn

    Posted By Warren Eves on January 25, 2017

    By Warren Eves Sometimes it’s simply impossible to evaluate a good looking equine performance. Here’s what I was asking after watching Medal of Courage win a starter allowance Jan., 20 at Oaklawn Park. Did this newly claimed gelding have anyone behind him? Should I downgrade the race due to a not-so-hot 13.18 final fraction? Or…..did the “sealed” muddy surface aid such a run? To be honest?  I honestly don’t know the answer. That’s the way it goes sometimes while trying to make objective observations. Here’s how it went for Medal of Courage, coming off a third at Remington Park in his last race. He got away straight to be 2nd early on. He fell out of it readily to be last. Midway on the turn Medal of Courage was still last. That’s the point where he began mounting a big run. He rallied wide off the top. Once to the middle of the muddy oval Medal of Courage came on strongly to win by a handy margin. It was the (more…)

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    Conquest Twister tops Oaklawn Park’s highlight reel; The leggy Uncontested appears to have a bright future

    Posted By Warren Eves on January 18, 2017

    By Warren Eves The Canadian-bred Conquest Twister topped our highlight reel of Oaklawn Park’s first four days. Uncontested lived up to top billing in the featured Smarty Jones, but two races prior Conquest Twister was impressive in his own right. Our tedious process of video tape review left us in awe of Conquest Twister’s late surge to win as the 9-to-5 favorite in race six. It was the newly turned four-year-old’s second test over the Oaklawn oval. Conquest Twister finished fourth beaten nearly 7 lengths exactly one year ago to Whitmore. He showed marked improvement in (more…)

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    ‘Derby Innovator’ is as good a book as it gets

    Posted By Warren Eves on December 23, 2016

    By Warren Eves Barry Irwin’s book Derby Innovator is as good as it gets. It’s a plethora of intriguing stories. Here’s one story involving Don “The Flamingo” Fleming, the editorial chief of the Daily Racing Form. Irwin tells story after story. Here’s an example: “Early one afternoon in the summer of 1976 at Del Mar racetrack, I received a phone call in the press box with a tip to beat it downstairs to the valet parking area near the main entrance gate to the seaside track. When I got down there, the Del Mar security officers were just wrapping up an incident involving Y. Charles “Chet” Soda, one of the original partners of the Oakland Raiders who always spent his summers at the beach. The chairman of the California Horse Racing Board was a tall, heavy-set gentleman who wore the kind of thin mustache favored by actors of an earlier era. The 68-year-old had pulled his car up to the front gate at Del Mar. In order to proceed to the restricted parking area, he needed a credential for his car, which he did not have. Soda tried to explain to the two officers in charge that he had taken his wife’s care and he was anxious to get inside to play the daily double.  One officer spoke to Soda while the other officer stood directly in front of the car. Soda must have really wanted to get down on the double, because at one point , out of frustration, he took his foot off the brake, and proceeded to prop one of the security officers onto the hood of his car. The officer, enraged, opened the driver’s door, pulled Soda from the car, pushed him down to the ground and cuffed him.  Soda then was escorted to a holding cell in the security office.  He was “released on his own recognizance” later that evening. I interviewed the officers and witnesses, sprinted back to the press box elevator, phoned the Flamingo and told him what had happened.  I then asked him what to do.  I had the scoop. I was excited to have a real-life breaking news story to write. If I worked for a real newspaper, I would not have had to make the call. But I worked for the national house organ for racing, aka Daily Racing Form. The Flamingo thought about it and finally said “Hmm. You go ahead, go ahead and write it, but just sit on it. I will phone you back.” I had not finished writing my report by the time The Flamingo called back to tell me “the Ambassador doesn’t want to run the story.” Interestingly, the following morning, the major San Diego daily newspaper put the incident where nobody could miss it as its front-page headline story. Yet, Daily Racing Form–self proclaimed as “America’s Turf Authority since 1894″–contained not a single word about this incident. Things had become so sensitive at Bimini Place, that I found myself unable to even get a normal sports story in print.  Jockey Don Pierce, a specialist in come-from-behind rides, was a top jockey on the circuit and regularly rode for Charlie Whittingham in big races. Pierce had one flaw–he had trouble getting out of the gate. (more…)

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    Blueridge Traveler Won’t Be Maiden For Long at FGD

    Posted By Warren Eves on December 4, 2016

    By Warren Eves Trainer Ken McPeek has to be shaking his head. He’s got a coming three-year-old name Blueridge Traveler who has experienced nightmare trips in his only two trips to the gate. On Saturday, Dec., 3, in the 9th race at the Fairgrounds he was badly compromised leaving from the extreme outside position 8. Teletap broke outward from post 7 and pushed him outward at least five lanes. His early position in the 1-mile 70 yard event had been adversely affected severely. James Graham saved ground with him and they were still seventh (more…)

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