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Racing! Here are the bets you want at Santa Anita

4th October, 11:11

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we talk about a Dodger-friendly promotion that well, you decide.

If you remember last week, at the behest of new Santa Anita boss, Aidan Butler, we solicited your thoughts on what new bet you would like to see. It could eventually replace the wildly ignored roulette bet. The response was pretty overwhelming. The easy winner was that people wanted a parlay introduced. The place pick all from Del Mar was mentioned a few times.

Other favorites included a "swinger" bet where you bet two horses and they both just have to finish in the money -- first, second or third. NYRA's grand slam bet also got some love. In that bet, you have to finish in the money for three races and then you have to get the winner in the fourth race.

So, let's get to your comments, realizing I likely went with the first one in, if multiple people suggested the same thing:

My friends and myself would welcome the return of the Place Pick all. It is one of, if not our favorite, wager.

--Mark Place

One of my favorite bets that has disappeared was the Monmouth Place Pick 6. It was a 50-cent bet, very similar to the Place Pick all that Del Mar has. Shorter sequence, and bet denomination made it very appealing especially since hitting four of five with a second in the Pick 5 might be the most frustrating way to spend a day at the races.

--Rob Tuel

Have something like a Pick 6 out of any six races on the entire race card. So, before the first race, select six winners from an of the available races that day. Make it a 0.20 bet.

--Dee Lew

I think that the "swinger" bet that it used in the UK is interesting along with the Grand Slam in New York. Not great pay outs but it helps the churn and will pay more than roulette.

--Steve Turner

Here is a bet I came up with. You can call it the the Seven Race Poker. By using the numbers of the winners of the last seven races, you could have these bets that the bettor would need to choose from. Best hand wins and the mutuel determined by the amount of money bet on the winning bet.

In case of a dead heat you would use those numbers involved

--Rob Nicassio

How about an odd-even bet. Then once entries are drawn you'd know who was on each side.

--Brian Lipman

A quick pick system, just like the lotto. Go to the teller and say you want a quick pick for whichever bet you desire (ideally start with pick 6's 5's and 4's) but if possible do trifectas and superfectas for single races too.

--Cody Prieto

Offer a parlay bet, one where the bettor can pick 2, 3, or more horses that are not in consecutive races to win, place, or show. If the first horse comes in, the proceeds are carried over to the next and so on.

--Dennis McGarry

To attract the novice better, I think a simple head-to-head bet is the way to go. It could have a variety of angles: favorite vs. second choice, longshot vs. longshot, jockey vs. jockey, trainer vs. trainer, etc. You might even get some bridge jumpers who are absolutely convinced one horse will beat another.

--Jim Sciuto

Fixed Odds Wagering. I know it is a pipe dream because it would require at the very least a short morning-line maker for each track who would have to monitor the wagers as they come in and move the line for new bets. For tracks that also have sports betting, they could combine a parlay that would include one football game and one major fall stakes race.

--Mike Valiante

Very simple. Everything currently is based on winning, how about a bet for last place. Could even have exactas for last two, or maybe first and last.

--Steve Getty

Call it the Countdown Four. Choose four in Leg A, three in Leg B, two in Leg C and one in Leg D. Promote the bet with a countdown clock "4-3-2-1" and after "1" some cartoon treasure chest explodes with cash flying all over the place.

--Mark Backstrom

Pick 6 but including win and place. Saw this in Hong Kong many years ago. English tracks include show now.

--Stephen Alkus

Ok, Aidan, here's some thing to think about for the winter/spring meeting. Let us know when you decide something.

You won't believe this promotion

We try not to fall for some promotion whose real purpose is just to build a mailing list (can you say Showvivor?) but this one struck me as different and greatly amusing. It's called "Win with Walker," where the winner of sweepstakes gets "the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the 2019 Breeders' Cup World Championships ... alongside the baseball great (Walker Buehler of the Dodgers), gaining unprecedented access to many of the event's most exclusive experiences."

That's from the media release. And you thought I am guilty of hyperbole?

OK, first up, I'll say it seems like a fun promotion and will likely be a really great two days. By the way, World Series Game 7 (if necessary) is Oct. 30. Breeders' Cup is Nov. 1-2.

But, "once-in-a-lifetime"? (A human lifetime? Dog years? Butterfly days?)

"Baseball great"? (He's won 23 games in his career, for goodness sakes, though he did pitch great in Game 1 Thursday.)

"Most exclusive experiences"? (Is that like the media event they had at Santa Anita last week where it was touted you would actually get to meet a real race horse and trainer? Yes, I know it was really aimed at the TV folks, who think horses "practice" in the mornings.)

Anyway, I didn't know Buehler was a horse junkie. And, I think the Breeders' Cup ought to up the stakes just a smidge by giving the winner $100 to wager for every win (or strikeout or whatever) Buehler gets in the playoffs.

If I read the release correctly, you only get to spend one race with Buehler, from paddock to winner's circle. But, you're on your own both getting to Santa Anita and most of the time you are there.

Here's how you sign up. Just click here. Or go to

And while we're talking Dodgers, you ought to sign up for Houston Mitchell's Dodgers Dugout newsletter, the second-best newsletter we do. He'll be writing almost every day as long as the Dodgers are playing. Just click here.

CHRB's Alfieri eliminates conflict

California Horse Racing Board Commissioner Dennis Alfieri has turned in his California owner's license in order to eliminate any conflicts of interest. Gov. Gavin Newsom was critical of the CHRB for potential conflicts of interests because members of the board, including past chairman Chuck Winner and vice-chairman Madeline Auerbach either owned or bred horses that were racing in jurisdictions governed by the CHRB.

I talked to Alfieri, who was very bullish on the future of the CHRB and California racing. You can see some of his quotes. Just click here.

Santa Anita review

Poster Girl won Thursday's feature, a $53,000 allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares going a mil eon the turf. The 6-year-old mare moved to the front with about a furlong to go and won by 3 ¼ lengths. Matthew Chew was the trainer and Tiago Pierra was the jockey. Poster Girl was claimed by Bill Spawr for $62,500 in a two-way shake.

Poster Girl was paid $18.00, $6.20 and $3.80. Don't Blame Judy was second and Great Return finished third.

"We entered in a third condition allowance that didn't go, so we ran here," Chew told Mike Willman of Santa Anita. Chew bought the horse for $20,000 two years ago.

"We bought her for 20 (thousand dollars) and sold her for 90."

Santa Anita preview

Friday's card has all the sparkle and flash of Thursday's races, which is not a compliment. There are eight races starting at 1 p.m. Four of the races are on the turf, technically seven of them have a claiming component to them, although one is an allowance/optional claimer. Then again there is a start allowance, which is basically a claiming race in which horses can't be claiming.

The feature is the sixth, one mile on the turf for 3-year-old fillies running for a purse of $51,000. The favorite is Raymundos Secret, at 5-2, for trainer Richard Baltas and jockey Flavien Prat. She has won two of her three lifetime races, although had an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks. Her first race was in Tampa before moving to the Baltas barn.

Out of Balance is the 4-1 second favorite for David Hofmans and Victor Espinoza. She's raced 10 times, and won once, in April last year at Santa Anita. She finished 12 in the Del Mar Oaks. Post time is about 3:40 p.m.

Into Chocolate is Mike Smith's only ride today and that in itself is something I pay attention to. They try turf for the first time and add more distance but this trainer wins 27% 1st on turf so if he thinks this horse can turf it can. We see a sharp work on Sept 21st, 5 fl in 59 seconds. 5-1 is a very nice price.

Thursday's result: From the eight post, Apollina went to the lead but into the turn stopped badly and finished off the board. So much for turf helping.

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

Los Alamitos weekend preview

It's time to turn things over to marketing and meda guru Orlando Gutierrez, who will tell us about the upcoming weekend at Los Alamitos. Orlando, the floor is yours.

"Legacy Ranch's fastest qualifier Mister Appolitical and Grade 2 futurity winner Wicked Affair will form a strong 1-2 punch in Friday's running of the Grade 3, $150,000 PCQHRA Breeders Derby at 400 yards. Jesus Rios Ayala will be ride for trainer Terry Knight, Mister Appolitical was outstanding in the trials, winning his heat by 1 1/4 lengths while recording the fastest time of :19.68. The son of Apollitical Jess was racing for the first time since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Feb. 9. Wicked Affair won the Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity last year and was second in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity. In her only stakes outing this season, the One Sweet Jess filly ran a strong fourth in the Governor's Cup Derby. The 10-horse field will also feature PCQHRA Breeders Futurity winner Cole Man 47 and Dillingham Handicap winner Chocolatito.

"Cole Man 47 won the Breeders Futurity last year and now looks to become only the fifth horse to win both the Breeders Futurity and Derby. The last horse to sweet the series is Ima Chickie Two (2012-13). The card will also feature the $25,000 Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap at 400 yards. Friday's eight-race program will start at 7 p.m.

"The 15th annual Los Alamitos Equine Sale will be held on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m. and concluding a couple of hours before the start of racing. The catalog will feature 327 hips, as of now, of which 301 will be quarter-horse yearlings.

"Saturday night's card will feature the weekend's richest race - the Grade 2, $355,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity at 350 yards. The field will include Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity winner Flokie and Governor's Cup Futurity winner Pitbull. The fastest qualifier is Bobby Simmons' Mental Error, who scored a two length win on the night of the trials back on Sept. 15. Mental Error, Flokie and Pitbull are sons of Favorite Cartel, the nation's second leading quarter-horse stallion in money earned.

"Trials to the Wild West Futurity will highlight Sunday's card. Twenty-eight juveniles will race for a spot in the 350-yard final to be held on Oct. 27. The Wild West Futurity features horses from the Intermountain and Northwest regions, Arizona, Nevada and Canada."

He has been second in last three starts, two of which came in futurity trials. In last start, he was only beaten a head by earlier maiden runnerup Suddenly Sailing and was second three races back vs. repeat futurity trial winner Up And Coming. I would single in the late Pick Four and make exactas of 1-3 and 1-6.

Final thought

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Now, the stars of the show, Thursday's results and Friday's entries.