Horse racing newsletter: Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we turn this space over to you, the readers.

Thanksgiving is traditionally the earliest start of the year for most tracks. And, Del Mar is sticking to that with an 11 a.m. first post. The thinking is that all the workers can do their job and go home to their family for a big holiday meal. Problem this year is there aren’t a lot of workers at the tracks as the facilities are mostly closed to fans.

And this is the day that I give thanks to all of you for sticking with this newsletter. We’ve grown a lot since we started on Sept. 29, 2017 and we haven’t raised the price once. And, where else an you get full charts for free?


So, I asked what you, the readers, what you are thankful for. I got a lot of responses, which means some of you will not see your response. I asked for no more than two sentences, so some of you got excluded if you went on too long. Some of you said the same thing that others did, so in those cases, I usually picked the first one to hit the mailbox. Still, even if I didn’t use your thought, thanks for sending it along.

The floor belongs to you.

We are to be thankful that for having racing continue strong during this uncertain time. Thankful for the men and women who put the show on everyday who for the most part are forgotten.
Joe Carr


I’m thankful for Tampa Bay Downs, Will Rogers and Fonner Park for keeping racing going on traditionally “dark” days during the pandemic, keeping life from getting even darker while we were all shut in.
Dave Caspole

I’m thankful that we had any racing at all.
Debra Gilbert

I am grateful for horse racing and the horses I have owned who ran as well as those who won, and for those we retired to Carma which have had beautiful new journeys.
Karen Spoor

I am thankful that I have resisted the occasional temptation to bet TVG picks.
Craig Campbell


I am very thankful for FOX Sports channel’s fantastic horse racing coverage.
Shelby Neal

I’m thankful for the heartfelt privilege I felt in watching Oaklawn’s final race of the meet, when during the post parade all horses, jockeys and outriders stopped in the middle of parade, turned to the empty grandstand and in a surreal moment, posed in silent reverence and salute to the Oaklawn racing community and fans.
Steven Everett

I am thankful that all the jockeys that got COVID-19 have recovered, without them there would be no racing.
Paul Fernandez

I am grateful for all the ways to enjoy the sport even if we can’t get to the track. Podcasts, e-newsletters (yours in particular), the betting apps, diverse television coverage, and more.
Brad Umansky


I am thankful for free past performances on TVG and Xpressbet.
Steve Kerrigan

“I’m thankful for Acacia, Meghan and the “Mig” for their excellent paddock and pre-race warm up observations. After over 50 years of loving horse racing their love of the sport and keen observations are welcome, informative and profitable.
Steve Swineford

It’s wonderful that in this COVID shutdown, people recognized how important it is to care for horses by exercising and allowed the industry to keep racing going. This helped the horses of course, but also the employees at tracks etc., and it also helped fans who were shut in homes to watch and experience the outside world thru the beauty of the horses running down the tracks.
Lois Cigavic

I’m thankful for American racing running the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup races under such trying circumstances, and for taking Covid seriously while operating.
James Higgins


I am thankful for all of the ADW companies. Where in the world would this sport be without them?
Larry Kerr

I realized this year, more than ever, I love horse racing because it keeps me connected to my father and my brother, both of whom are 1000s of miles away from me. Although I will not be able to see either of them this year, I will cherish the racing memories we shared in 2020.
Michael O’Sullivan

I am thankful for trainers Phil D’Amato, Andy Mathis and Dan Blacker who take the time to communicate with me even though I only have one or two horses with them. I am thankful for Gary Fenton at Little Red Feather who I enjoy talking to about all things horse racing.
Larry Goldman

I am thankful for all the efforts that have been employed by everyone behind the scenes to keep horse racing going under extremely stressful situations. I am also thankful for the back and forth texting, emailing and occasional phone calls with track friends: this has been a life saver this year.
Anne Wilson


Two things: the trainers and their team members who take such good care of the horses and this newsletter, the only LAT publication I read every time I get it.
Richard Bushey

I’m thankful that we were able to run a Triple Crown this year. I’m not thankful that healthy horses like Authentic were retired.
Jim Favors

I’m thankful for the backstretch workers. You can’t find them on any governmental listing, but they deserve essential employee status.
Rey Hernandez

Great race mares. Enable, Monomoy Girl, Magical, Swiss Skydiver, Tarnawa, Audarya, Gamine. (One could go on.) What a year!
Russ McCandless


I lost my wife earlier this year so I’m thankful that I have my passion of horse racing to keep me occupied during this pandemic. I really don’t know what I’d do without it as it’s just me and our two cats, Dash & Etta, now.
Truit Trowbridge

I am ever so thankful for Saturdays, my computer, my ADW Accounts and for horse racing in Southern California. It’s the greatest sport ever invented. In a life taken over by sheltering at home, social distancing, and unemployment, I get to do something I look forward to all week, happily play the races and I don’t even have to wear a mask to do it.
Greg Monaghan

I’m an 83-year-old horse racing fan from NE Ohio and spent many happy days at the little known track of Thistledown. I’m so grateful for all those pleasant memories of horsemen and horsewomen, jockeys, tellers, waiters, waitresses, tipsters and bettors that became my friends.
Jane Eaton

Just seeing worlds’ most beautiful animals approaching the gate, racing and owners, trainers and staff jumping, yelling and smiling as their winner crosses the finish line!!
Ben Silva


I’m thankful for the equine athletes: the horses and their true beauty and power is amazing to watch running around a track. Such an incredible sport to marry the strength of an animal and endurance of man together.
Jennifer McCullough

I’m grateful for the horses in my life. And for the people who love horses too. Including my wife, Rosie.
David Kramer

I am thankful I bet Giacomo at my very first Derby and I’ve been back every year since except this COVID year. Hope to see all of you there next year.
Robbie Callaway

I’m thankful that my very vulnerable trainer at Golden Gate is feeling better after a battle with COVID. I’m also so thankful that the wonderful people at Rancho San Miguel, Cole Ranch, Harris Farms, and River Bend Farm have sent me many pictures and videos to help me get through my stay at home bubble in Connecticut.
Sue White


Thankful that I’m here to celebrate Thanksgiving after having a lung transplant in January 2018 and enjoy horse racing that I’ve been following for well over 50 years.
John Willey

I am thankful for owners and trainers who keep stable stars in training beyond their 3-year-old campaign.
Jim Nelson

I’m thankful for racing at Delaware Park which included fans throughout the 2020 meet. And COVID protocols that were exceptional and enforced across the board.
Stan Plastek

I was in a quarantine weight loss competition and won. Winner had to bet all the money on one thing, I chose Hard Not to Love in the Zenyatta Stakes. Place money and the exacta still paid well.
Sage Poland


Growing up in Los Angeles, I’m grateful I got to see Kelso at Hollywood Park. I recall the day I went with my Dad, he went off at 8-5, the longest price I had ever seen on him and 60,000 people were at the track that Saturday to see him and what a thrill.
David Friedland

Thankful for the opportunity to be involved in a sport/business that, at its best, is the best ever. Thankful for the good people who care so much about the horses and thankful 2020 is coming to an end.
Robert Kieckhefer

Thanks to Florida horse racing for continuous racing throughout COVID. This way I won’t be “walkin” around lucky and not know it!”
Daniel Stevenson

I’m thankful that my friend Aaron Gryder was able to retire without any health concerns. ATG as he’s known with our circle of friends is a great guy.
Bradley Kenny


I’m thankful for for giving me a chance to own a tiny bit of a Kentucky Derby winner, a dream I’ve had since I was 4, 70 years ago.
Barb LaPierre

More than anything, I’m thankful for the decrease in racing fatalities (every one is one too many) and efforts to make the sport safer. On a selfish note, I’m grateful for the chance to see Nadal, Gamine, Authentic, Tiz the Law, Nashville and all the babies race this year, often when there were no other places to escape the pandemic for a few minutes.
Tara Roberts

Del Mar preview

I’ll say it again, it’s an 11 a.m. start. Got it? Good. There are eight races with half of them on turf. In fact, this closing weekend is filled with turf stakes, including one on Thursday. That one would be the Grade 3 $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap for fillies and mares going 1 3/8 miles on the turf. The favorite in the 10-horse field, at 5-2, is Orglandes for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. She has won three of nine races, but only two of her lifetime races have been in the U.S., having started her career in France.


The second favorite is also a shipper, Blame Debbie for Graham Motion and Manny Franco. Ortiz, Franco and Joel Rosario are all in town for the series of stakes races at Del Mar this extended weekend. Blame Debbie has won three of 10 and is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Dowager Stakes at Keeneland. This will be her first race on the West Coast. Post is around 1:30 p.m.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 7, 9, 9, 11 (2 also eligible), 9, 10, 10, 12 (2 ae). Those are some pretty impressive field size numbers.

Bob Ike’s DM pick of the day

SECOND RACE: No. 6 Burnin Turf (4-1)


Second-time starter from the Dan Blacker stable ran decently when finishing third in his debut in March and returns as a gelding this time. Broke from the far outside post when debuting in two-turn grass race, settled, steadied into far turn, then moved up three-wide into stretch before flattening out late. He has come back to train well and figures to improve with experience.

Sunday’s result: Loud Mouth ($28.00) sat joint third down the backstretch, moved up three-wide on turn, then kept coming to run down Take the One O One near the wire. His last two wins have been very impressive.

Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of (here’s a video) and the proprietor of (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).

Ciaran Thornton’s DM pick of the day


FOURTH RACE: No. 6 Awesome Drive (8-1)

Awesome Drive, in a race with the lowest priced horse at 7-2, is the kind of race a value player loves to key in on. This horse won three in a row before having issues in the last two starts. Awesome was pulled early in the last race and in the race prior looked ready to blast to the lead but had no room down the stretch until it was too late. 8-1 is a great value. There is a sharp workout as well for a horse racing protected. Jockey Umberto Rispoli has gone 4-4-1 from his last 14 starts.

Sunday’s result: Democrat the “other” Bob Baffert horse was scratched and that pretty much meant that Baffert’s favorite was going to win and it was an impressive win. Roman Centurian, my remaining value play, broke badly but did make a nice late move and is a watch for next out.

Ciaran Thornton is the handicapper for, which offers daily full card picks, longshots of the day, best bets of the day.


A final thought

I love getting new readers of this newsletter, and you certainly can’t beat the price. If you like it, tell someone. If you don’t like it, you’re probably not reading this.

Either way, send this along to a friend, and just have them click here to sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email address, nothing more.

Any thoughts, you can reach me at You can also feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa.

Now, the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.

Del Mar Entries for Thursday, November 26.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, California. $2 Win, Place and Show; $1 Exacta, $2 Quinella, 50-cent Trifecta, $2 Rolling Double, 50-cent rolling Pick 3; 10-cent Superfecta; 50-cent Pick 4 last 4 races; 50-cent Players Pick 5 first 5 races; 50-cent Pick 6 last 6 races; $1 Place Pick All; $1 Super High Five last race. Trifecta needs 4 betting interests; Superfecta needs 6. 12th day of a 15-day meet.


1 Mile. Purse: $27,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Paisano Tyler Baze 120 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 12-1 35,000
2 Govenor’s Party Jessica Pyfer 115 Daniel Franko 9-2 40,000
3 Papale Flavien Prat 122 Mark Glatt 9-5 40,000
4 Red Hot Cat Ricardo Gonzalez 122 Peter Eurton 6-1 40,000
5 Today Matters Tiago Pereira 122 Lorenzo Ruiz 2-1 40,000
6 Saguaro Drayden Van Dyke 120 Don Schnell 12-1 35,000
7 Cozy Bear Umberto Rispoli 120 Ryan Hanson 6-1 35,000


1 1/16 Mile Turf. Purse: $57,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Duchesne Joel Rosario 122 Michael W. McCarthy 12-1
2 Mamba Cool Umberto Rispoli 122 Philip D’Amato 8-1
3 N. K. Rocket Man Tyler Baze 124 Dean Pederson 6-1
4 Question Authority Heriberto Figueroa 122 Andrew Lerner 30-1
5 Cool Your Jets Juan Hernandez 124 Shelbe Ruis 3-1
6 Burnin Turf Abel Cedillo 124 Dan Blacker 4-1
7 Squared Straight Flavien Prat 122 Doug F. O’Neill 4-1
8 Secret Club Drayden Van Dyke 122 Sean McCarthy 15-1
9 One Fast Bro Tiago Pereira 122 Shelbe Ruis 7-2


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $38,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Royal Trump Flavien Prat 120 Mark Glatt 6-1 40,000
2 Natural History Victor Espinoza 118 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 15-1 40,000
3 Cartellate Ricardo Gonzalez 116 Doug F. O’Neill 15-1 35,000
4 Julius Joel Rosario 118 Peter Miller 5-2 35,000
5 Italiano Jessica Pyfer 115 Vann Belvoir 8-1 40,000
6 Leading Score Abel Cedillo 120 Bob Baffert 3-1 40,000
7 Horse Greedy Juan Hernandez 118 John W. Sadler 3-1 35,000
8 Secret Courier Geovanni Franco 118 Brian J. Koriner 8-1 35,000
9 Lionite Umberto Rispoli 120 Vladimir Cerin 5-1 40,000


1 1/16 Mile Turf. Purse: $59,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $80,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Beguiled Flavien Prat 120 Philip D’Amato 5-1
2 Resarcio Victor Espinoza 120 John A. Shirreffs 15-1
3 Avenue de France Drayden Van Dyke 120 Leonard Powell 5-1
4 Applecross Joel Rosario 120 Richard Baltas 7-2
5 Dolce Mario Gutierrez 120 Richard Baltas 6-1
6 Awesome Drive Umberto Rispoli 120 Doug F. O’Neill 10-1
7 Over Attracted Irad Ortiz, Jr. 120 John W. Sadler 4-1
8 Go Big Blue Nation Tiago Pereira 120 Michael W. McCarthy 20-1
9 Lucia’s Design Juan Hernandez 120 Craig Anthony Lewis 10-1
10 Woke Up to Aces Tyler Baze 120 Michael W. McCarthy 15-1
11 Miss Addie Pray Mike Smith 120 Patrick Gallagher 15-1
Also Eligible
12 Freedom Lass Abel Cedillo 120 Mike Puype 8-1
13 Reiwa Ricardo Gonzalez 120 Jonathan Wong 6-1 80,000


1 Mile. Purse: $20,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Mongol Altai Mario Gutierrez 122 Enebish Ganbat 10-1 20,000
2 Most Sandisfactory Tyler Baze 122 Doug F. O’Neill 5-2 20,000
3 Western Smoke Edwin Maldonado 122 Craig Dollase 3-1 20,000
4 Kenjilookslucky Jose Valdivia, Jr. 122 Jonathan Wong 8-1 20,000
5 Malibu Prince Ricardo Gonzalez 122 Richard Baltas 6-1 20,000
6 Derby War Eswan Flores 122 Ruben Gomez 15-1 20,000
7 Master Recovery Geovanni Franco 122 Cesar DeAlba 15-1 20,000
8 Street Behavior Juan Hernandez 122 Kristin Mulhall 3-1 20,000
9 River North Jessica Pyfer 115 Jeffrey Metz 20-1 20,000


1 3/8 Mile Turf. Purse: $100,000. ‘Red Carpet Handicap’. Stakes. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 California Kook Joel Rosario 119 Peter Miller 5-1
2 Never Be Enough Tiago Pereira 122 Manuel Badilla 4-1
3 Colonial Creed Flavien Prat 121 Richard Baltas 12-1
4 Orglandes Irad Ortiz, Jr. 120 Chad C. Brown 5-2
5 Going to Vegas Mario Gutierrez 118 Richard Baltas 12-1
6 Woodfin Jose Valdivia, Jr. 117 Victoria H. Oliver 30-1
7 Aunt Lubie Victor Espinoza 117 Richard E. Mandella 20-1
8 Blame Debbie Manuel Franco 120 H. Graham Motion 3-1
9 Hollywood Girl Mike Smith 117 John A. Shirreffs 20-1
10 Quick Umberto Rispoli 118 John W. Sadler 6-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $23,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Satchel de Ritches Juan Hernandez 122 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 8-1 20,000
2 Leatherneck Eswan Flores 122 Jose R. Gonzalez, Jr. 15-1 20,000
3 Uncaptured Hero Manuel Franco 122 Richard Baltas 5-1 20,000
4 Street Image Umberto Rispoli 122 Eddie Truman 10-1 18,000
5 Dorita’s Lemon Tiago Pereira 121 William Spawr 8-1 20,000
6 Smileforme Flavien Prat 122 Jonathan Wong 6-1 20,000
7 Big Barrel Tyler Baze 124 Anthony K. Saavedra 20-1 20,000
8 Call You Tomorrow Ricardo Gonzalez 124 Brian J. Koriner 9-2 20,000
9 Gangly Edwin Maldonado 120 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 8-1 18,000
10 Octopus Abel Cedillo 122 Doug F. O’Neill 5-2 20,000


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $35,000. Starter Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Final Rose Heriberto Figueroa 120 Rene Amescua 30-1
2 Bench Judge Joel Rosario 122 Peter Miller 3-1
3 Go Time Geovanni Franco 120 Jorge Periban 12-1
4 Gregdar Umberto Rispoli 120 Philip D’Amato 10-1
5 Armour Plate Flavien Prat 122 Peter Miller 8-1
6 Praise Loudly Jessica Pyfer 113 Daniel Franko 30-1
7 Turn the Switch Irad Ortiz, Jr. 122 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 4-1
8 Palace Prince Tiago Pereira 122 William Spawr 30-1
9 Invictatatus Abel Cedillo 124 Alfredo P. Marquez 6-1
10 Hoop Dream Juan Hernandez 122 David Bernstein 6-1
11 Bud Knight Ricardo Gonzalez 122 Leonard Powell 5-1
12 Antithetical Tyler Baze 120 Steven Miyadi 6-1
Also Eligible
13 Dreamer’s Reality Heriberto Figueroa 122 Mike Puype 20-1 50,000
14 Railsplitter Ricardo Gonzalez 122 Jonathan Wong 12-1 50,000

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