Desormeaux suspension 'Fair?'
September 12, 2018 3:02 AM
by Jon Lindo
A consistent and prevalent track bias can be a horseplayer’s best friend.
During opening week of the L.A. County Fair meet at Los Alamitos, there were several obvious examples that a strong outside bias was in play.
In the fourth race on opening day, comebacking 3-year-old Lombo was facing a group of older horses who all had recent races at Del Mar. Lombo settled in mid-pack early while three-wide, remained widest of all around the turn and into the stretch, and stayed out in the middle of the track to wear down veteran win-type Street Vision for the victory.
Last Friday, Maiden-Claimer Acclimate drew the extreme outside post in the finale going a mile. He stayed five-wide into the first turn, remained far off the rail down the backstretch and around the far turn, and should have flattened out. Instead, Acclimate found more the final eighth of a mile and inched clear to win by two lengths.
In last Sunday’s sixth race for restricted claimers, Rhettbutler was bumped at the start, but jockey Tiago Pereira immediately took him to the outside for a clear path. Rhettbutler was three-deep around the turn and four-wide in the stretch, but he kept grinding and was able to get up for the win in the shadow of the wire.
Race after race when watching the head-on patrol shots, jockeys are making a point to stay at least three or four paths off the inner rail.
When handicapping Los Alamitos, it always helps to have the best horse, but figuring out who may get the best bias aided trip could help you find some value at the windows.
Because this Los Alamitos meeting is actually the Los Angeles County Fair meet that used to be run first at Pomona and then Fairplex Park, the higher California Fair takeout rates apply. The chart at the top right is a comparison of the regular takeout rates at Santa Anita and Del Mar and the takeout rate for Los Alamitos L.A. County Fair meet (note there will be a new late Pick 5 wager on the last five races each day starting this Thursday).
Choose your wagers carefully to maximize the bang for each wagering buck.
In a ruling that was announced last week, jockey Kent Desormeaux was handed a three-day suspension for his ride aboard Leap of Faith in Del Mar’s fourth race on Aug. 25 for “failure to give his mount and the public his best effort, costing him a better finish position.”
This is not the first-time Desormeaux has been cited for failure to ride to the wire. The suspension is scheduled to run this Thursday through Saturday, but since Desormeaux has accepted no mounts at the current Los Alamitos meeting, does this suspension really have any meaning? It used to be the California Horse Racing Board would assign suspension days similar to dates when the infraction occurred. For the suspensions to have any real negative impact, a similar date criteria needs to be followed.
No tellers strike
A pari-mutuel teller strike was avoided at Del Mar in the days just prior to their July 18 opening, but that agreement, which included Del Mar, the Northern California Fairs, Los Alamitos Race Course, Cal Expo Harness, and the brick and mortar satellite wagering venues in California, did not include Santa Anita Park.
The primary point of contention is the minimum staffing levels on any given racing day.
With just two weeks prior to the opening of the Santa Anita autumn meet, the Stronach Group is in the process of training potential non-union replacement tellers should no agreement be reached before Sept. 28. With new wagers like the Stronach Five and a $.20 minimum Rainbow Six starting opening day, having experienced tellers could help avoid much confusion.
The world’s biggest yearling sale kicked off at Keeneland in Lexington Kentucky this past Monday. No less than 4,538 yearlings have been catalogued to sell over the next two weeks, including a half-brother to Horse of the Year California Chrome by leading sire Tapit who sold for $1.1 million on Monday. Others who sell later this week and figure to require a deep pocketbook include a full brother to 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner (Hip No. 327) and a half-brother to Triple Crown winner Justify by good young sire Will Take Charge (Hip No. 443).
Los AL L.A.
|Early Pick Five||14%||14%|
|Pick 3, Pick 4||23.68%||25.02%|
|Late Pick 5, Pick 6||23.68%||25.02%|
|Super High Five||23.68%||25.02%|
The best way to monitor racing’s current state of the union is to keep an eye on the prices being paid for these top yearlings and who does the buying. Expect another strong sale with top ownership groups ready to restock the barns for trainers like Bob Baffert, Chad Brown, and Todd Pletcher.
Play of the Week
Los Alamitos, Thursday, Race 4 – Perfect Ice Storm (#1). Jockey Mario Gutierrez rides first call for owner Reddam Racing, so the key to this race may be that Gutierrez does not ride Reddam’s The Pet and instead takes the call on first-time starter Perfect Ice Storm. She is by first crop sire He Be Fire N Ice, and the stallion owners Cicero Farms have plenty of incentive to make this 2-year-old home-bred filly a debut winner. She appears to be well meant despite rail post.