Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we wonder when, of if, we’ll see Justify run again.

The top news is the injury to Justify. Is it a big deal? Too early to tell. Trainer Bob Baffert called it a filling in his left front hoof. You can read the story here. What was interesting is that he had the same injury more than a week ago and nothing was said. But this time, when it came back, the connections issued a news release. That could mean they think it is more serious.

It’s been whispered around the horse racing community that Justify’s remaining race schedule this year could be very thin and that was before this. I think it’s fair to assume that if Justify does not get a race under him before the Breeders’ Cup Classic that he won’t run in the Classic, although no one has said that.

If he doesn’t race again, and we’re not saying that, he would be the only Triple Crown winner never to lose. But, then again, no Triple Crown winner has ever run as few as six races.

The shortest career currently is American Pharoah with 11 races, which is more an indication of how racing has evolved through the years than anything else.

Here are the numbers for other Triple Crown winners:

Count Fleet, 21 (last race was the Belmont)

The California Horse Racing Board will have its monthly meeting starting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Los Alamitos. Now, the meeting goes into its usual closed session for about an hour before the people are allowed to go through the agenda. If you want to listen, here is where you can find the audiocast because, as we’ve said before, here in 2018, video is too difficult a concept for the CHRB to offer, unless you have a phone or tablet.

OK, this meeting is all about if Golden Gate has fulfilled all its contractual obligations with the brick and mortar Northern California satellite sites. The Stronach Group has filed suit saying it doesn’t need to do that. But with the court system only slightly slower than the stewards evaluating a tight photo finish, it’s unlikely there will be any final resolution any time soon. What’s at stake is if the CHRB will give Golden Gate its license to race starting Aug. 23.

If you want to see the agenda, just look here. The one we care about is No. 5. If you want to see the packet distributed, just look here. Warning: there is no staff recommendation on what to do.

The guess here is that some accommodation will be reached. We just don’t see Golden Gate not racing this fall. It may appear that Golden Gate will blink first, but they are doing the long play on this. They will get something out of this, if not now then later. The CHRB also can’t afford to send those dates to the fair sites or even leave them empty. Just not going to happen. But, California racing has been known to surprise you with a lack of common sense. So, stay tuned.

Los Alamitos thoroughbred preview

Not a lot to say about Thursday’s eight-race card starting at 1 p.m. There are no five-horse fields so that’s a good thing. Seven of the eight races are claiming with purses between $14,000 and $21,000. The feature is the seventh, a one mile optional claimer for horses 3 and up, going for $45,000.

The favorite, at 5-2, is Ike, a winner of one of four and a third place in an allowance last out at Santa Anita. Baffert is the trainer and Drayden Van Dye the jockey. Canadian Game is the second choice at 7-2. Owner Paul Reddam, paid $375,000 for him, so there are expectations more than breaking his maiden in his eighth start. That was his last out at Santa Anita. Doug O’Neill is the trainer with Mario Gutierrez the jockey.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8, 7, 9.

Jose Contreras LRC pick of the day

SECOND RACE: No. 4 Ajac (8-1)

He broke well, chased the leader, made a strong middle move hugging the rail and just missed by a long neck vs. a sharp winner who was posting his second consecutive win. I expect plenty of speed from his inside rival Justamitch and Ajac should be following close behind getting a good trip. I think he will have a big enough lead to hold off the late closers at this five-furlong distance.

Sunday’s result: Tuscany Beauty led going into the stretch but lost a tough duel and was caught and lost by a neck.

Jose Contreras is an excellent handicapper and well known on social media and familiar to racing fans watching on TVG. You can follow him on twitter at @losponies or check him out at his website.

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 johnacherwa@gmail.com 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, July 12.

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


1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Solar Corona Brayan Pena 122 Jose Hernandez, Jr. 2-1 18,000
2 Whatyouciswhatuget Alonso Quinonez 118 Jerry Wallace, II 10-1 18,000
3 Curlina Curlina Heriberto Figueroa 117 Mike Harrington 8-1 20,000
4 Izzys Express Martin Pedroza 124 Mike Puype 6-1 20,000
5 Jicama Israel Ocampo 122 Manuel Landeros 4-1 18,000
6 Bad and Bougie Joseph Talamo 118 Michael Machowsky 8-5 18,000


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

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 I’ll Wrap It Up Santiago Gonzalez 124 Steven Miyadi 7-5 8,000
2 Templar Tiago Pereira 124 Lorenzo Ruiz 4-1 8,000
3 Justamitch Juan Sanchez 124 Salvador Naranjo 10-1 8,000
4 Ajac Kellie McDaid 117 Angela Maria Aquino 8-1 8,000
5 Tiz Love Christian Aragon 124 Patricia Harrington 7-2 8,000
6 Stoneys Mr Cruiser Edgar Payeras 119 Kelly Castaneda 4-1 8,000


1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Becomes a Queen Mario Gutierrez 120 Peter Eurton 4-1 20,000
2 Majestic Design Asa Espinoza 115 Richard Baltas 7-5 18,000
3 Copper Cowgirl Kellie McDaid 113 Patricia Harrington 5-1 20,000
4 Yolanda’s Stone Edgar Orozco 118 Kelly Castaneda 15-1 18,000
5 Gray Diva Stewart Elliott 120 Art Sherman 7-2 20,000
6 Quizlet Edgar Payeras 113 Richard Rosales 4-1 18,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $14,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $8,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Cheese Kellie McDaid 117 Angela Maria Aquino 8-1 8,000
2 Sharp Holiday Juan Sanchez 124 Jesus Nunez 5-2 8,000
3 Coco Smooches Cesar Franco 117 Kelly Castaneda 5-1 8,000
4 Callie Mesa Edgar Orozco 120 Santos R. Perez 10-1 8,000
5 La Galy Tiago Pereira 124 Jaime H. Gomez 2-1 8,000
6 Briartic Gal Edgar Payeras 119 Reed Saldana 5-2 8,000


5½ Furlongs.. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Champagne Honey Heriberto Figueroa 113 Blake R. Heap 5-2 50,000
2 Hailey Rachele Tiago Pereira 124 Sam J. Scolamieri 2-1 50,000
3 Miss Blue by You Omar Santos 120 Jesus Nunez 15-1 50,000
4 Magnolia’s Hope Joseph Talamo 120 Michael Machowsky 5-1 50,000
5 Dislitleaglecanfly Mario Gutierrez 120 Peter Eurton 4-1 50,000
6 Spectacular Storm Ruben Fuentes 120 Jorge Gutierrez 8-1 50,000
7 Don’t Pass Santiago Gonzalez 118 Martin F. Jones 8-1 45,000


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

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Croissant Mario Gutierrez 120 Doug F. O’Neill 3-1 8,000
2 Reverend Al Asa Espinoza 117 Blake R. Heap 3-1 8,000
3 On the Rocks Tyler Conner 122 Michael Machowsky 5-1 7,000
4 Hidden Crook Barrington Harvey 124 Angela Maria Aquino 20-1 8,000
5 Liberty Jack Heriberto Figueroa 117 Peter Miller 5-2 8,000
6 Brickhouse Martin Garcia 124 Hector O. Palma 5-1 8,000
7 Fandarel Dancer Kellie McDaid 115 Louis A. Bradvica 30-1 7,000
8 Taco Tuesday Alonso Quinonez 124 Jerry Wallace, II 15-1 8,000


1 Mile. Purse: $45,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Senator Robert Brayan Pena 121 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 6-1 40,000
2 Avanti Bello Evin Roman 121 Doug F. O’Neill 4-1 40,000
3 Canadian Game Mario Gutierrez 120 Doug F. O’Neill 7-2
4 Upper Room Joseph Talamo 121 Peter Eurton 12-1
5 Trapalanda Alonso Quinonez 124 Reed Saldana 5-1
6 Aquila Martin Pedroza 117 Simon Callaghan 9-2
7 Ike Drayden Van Dyke 117 Bob Baffert 5-2


6 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 Kelseybelle Asa Espinoza 117 Andy Mathis 7-2 20,000
2 Peachy Diego Sanchez 120 George Papaprodromou 15-1 20,000
3 Mariana’s Girl Edgar Payeras 115 Hector O. Palma 8-1 20,000
4 Stella Sweeper Israel Ocampo 124 Oscar L. Garcia 20-1 20,000
5 Grecian Fort Ruben Fuentes 120 Antonio Garcia 30-1 20,000
6 Mischievious Lass Tyler Conner 120 Mark Glatt 3-1 20,000
7 Veiled Heat Franklin Ceballos 124 Nestor M. Capitaine 4-1 20,000
8 No Wine Untasted Martin Pedroza 120 J. Eric Kruljac 4-1 20,000
9 Miss Kitaen Brayan Pena 120 Peter Eurton 5-1 20,000


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