Green light for Santa Anita opener

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The Santa Anita autumn meet, delayed by poor air quality due to the Bobcat Fire in the hills above Arcadia, opens on Friday. There have been a lot of changes to the Southern California landscape since racing was last seen at Santa Anita in June.

Matt Chew and Jack Carava have turned in their training licenses and will begin new careers. Chew has a ranch in Idaho and plans to set up a special needs program while Carava will become a jockey agent.

As for the jockeys, Juan Hernandez and Ricky Gonzalez moved their tack from Golden Gate to SoCal at the start of Del Mar and both have quickly established themselves. Hernandez finished fourth in the Del Mar jockey standings with 29 wins, while Gonzalez ended up seventh at Del Mar with 16 victories.

A familiar face will rejoin the local riding colony. Tyler Baze has been riding in Arkansas and Kentucky for the last eight months while his family has remained in California. Baze returns and has five mounts on the opening card Friday. His new agent? Jack Carava. Evin Roman, who struggled badly at Del Mar, has moved his tack to Golden Gate.

The jockey colonies throughout California will be subject to more stringent rules regarding use of the whip starting October 1. The new restrictions include:

• Riders will not be allowed to use the riding crop more than six times during a race, excluding showing or waving the crop or tapping the horse on the shoulder.

• A jockey cannot use the crop more than two times in succession (within the six-time limit) without giving the horse a chance to respond before using the whip again.

• The crop must be in an underhanded position with the crop always at or below the shoulder level of the jockey.

• The jockey shall not be penalized if, in the opinion of the stewards, the use of the crop was necessary for safety of the horse or rider.

The California Horse Racing Board is recommending a reasonable period of time for “mitigating circumstances” to employ lighter penalties during the transition. What the CHRB did not address in their release is how these new rules will be adjudicated and what standards will be used to determine if a riding crop was used for the safety of horse and rider.

These gray areas could lead to even more controversy and lack of consistency when it comes to steward’s decisions.

Tiz passes on Preakness

The connections of Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law have decided not to run in the Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

Trainer Barclay Tagg announced Tuesday that Tiz the Law, who finished second in the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby to Authentic, will be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7 at Keeneland.

 “Since we have no shot at winning the Triple Crown, our big goal with this colt is of course the Breeders’ Cup,” he said. “We really want to go into the Breeders’ Cup with a fresh, happy horse.”

New Santa Anita wager

Santa Anita introduced the Golden Hour Daily Double at the previous meet, a $5 minimum bet combining the last race at Santa Anita with the finale at Golden Gate. Based on the success of that wager, a new Golden Hour Pick Four wager starts on opening day and will be available any day that both Golden Gate and Santa Anita have live racing.

The Golden Hour Pick Four will be a $1 minimum bet, has a reduced takeout rate of 15%, and the sequence will start with the next-to-last race at Santa Anita, followed by the next-to-last race at Golden Gate. The sequence is completed by the last race at Santa Anita and the finale at Golden Gate.

Check Out More Horse Racing Here

The higher minimum (the early and late Pick Fours have a $.50 minimum) is designed to help produced larger payoffs when horseplayers are looking to “get out” for the day. At the reduced takeout rate I believe the wager will be a popular addition.

‘Max’ vs. Improbable

Santa Anita has seven Stakes carded Saturday, but none more interesting than the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The field will be small, but it features the first matchup between Bob Baffert trainees Maximum Security and Improbable. The former comes off an impressive win in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, while the latter is in career best form, winning the Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita and the Whitney at Saratoga in his last two starts.

Luis Saez will be in from New York to regain the mount on Maximum Security after being forced to miss both of Maximum Security’s victories at Del Mar due to coronavirus protocols. The winner could end up being the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7.

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Santa Anita Friday, Race 3 — Ultimate Bango (No. 7). Make no mistake, this gelding is a turf sprinter all the way. Throw out his last race — a Stakes race around two turns — and he should rebound on the drop for a barn that can pop with fresh horses.

About the Author

Jon Lindo

Jon Lindo is a syndicated handicapper, long-time thoroughbred owner, and publisher of the Lindo Report. Jon is also a regular contributor to Race Day Las Vegas Radio show on KSHP 1400 in Las Vegas and Thoroughbred Los Angeles Radio show, heard in Las Vegas at thoroughbredla.com.

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