Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Watch out! It’s Miller time at Santa Anita

Trainer Peter Miller started off the year hot at Santa Anita, but went into a horrendous slump in March.

Now, all is right with the world.

Miller, who is the darling of HRTV on replays of the races as he roots his horses home, went a sparkling 6-for-13 last week in Arcadia.

Maybe Miller’s slump was a combination of his horses running through their conditions and adjusting to life at San Luis Rey Downs, again.

Years ago, Miller trained out of the Bonsall training center, but then as he got more horses he stayed on track, training a lot at Hollywood Park. Since the Inglewood track closed in January for good, Miller is once again training out of the Northern San Diego County center and his horses are responding.

His horses are also out of the limelight and away from clockers so Miller’s horses have been getting some nice prices.

Miller looks like he has a couple good shots again on Friday and the 2-year-olds are just getting in the starting gate. Look for an all out assault at Del Mar.

Miller had the most training wins last week and moved into second in the spring/summer Santa Anita standings.

Leader Doug O’Neill went 2-for-10 and third place Jerry Hollendorfer was also 2-for-10. Bob Baffert is slumping and went 0-for-7.

With Rafael Bejarano out, Joe Talamo is atop the jockey standings and he went 6-for-27 on the week. Tyler Baze (33 starts) and apprentice Drayden Van Dyke (26 mounts) had five wins each. Kent Desormeaux is making in-roads as he was 4-for-14 and import Elvis Trujillo is showing he is one to watch.

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Monday’s top choice winners: 3 (Lost Bus $7.40, first race; Cyclometer $4, second; Stormin Lute $6.40, sixth)

Monday’s second choice winners: 1 (Candy’s Sunrise $10, third)

Monday’s third choice winners: 1 (Says Who $10, eighth)

Monday’s long shot winners: 1 (Miss Serendipity $29.80, seventh)

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Who’s going to replace Rafael Bejarano?

The injuries leading Southern California jockey Rafael Bejarano suffered last week in an ugly breakdown on the down hill turf course at Santa Anita will certainly have ramifications possibly all the way into the Del Mar meet.

As of Wednesday, Bejarano was waiting to be released from the hospital with numerous broken bones. There has been no reports on how long he will be out. Best guess I see is he will be out until at least the start of the Del Mar meet in mid-July.

So who takes over in the Southern California riding colony?

The suspects like Joe Talamo, Tyler Baze, Corey Nakatani and Edwin Maldonado are obvious. Maldonado is the last jockey to beat Bejarano out of a riding title. He has slumped subsequently, changed agents and maybe he’s ready to get on top of the mountain.

We’ll wait to see if veterans Mike Smith and Gary Stevens decide to pick up more mounts due to Bejarano’s injury.

Again, look out for apprentice Drayden Van Dyke, He’s good and learning every day on the job, but don’t look now because there are a pair of newcomers ready to hit the winner’s circle.

Nomad Kent Desormeaux has returned to Southern California on a full-time basis, at least for now. He said in an interview on HRTV last week that he was buying a house in So Cal and putting down roots again. He has some baggage, like inconsistent riding and alcohol-related issues, but if he has his head on straight, he will be a welcome addition.

The interesting addition to the Santa Anita riding colony will be Elvis Trujillo. Agent Tom Knust said he had picked up Trujillo’s book and the jockey would be riding locally full-time by the end of the month.

Trujillo has been based at Gulfstream Park and competed with the best on the East Coast all winter. He was one of the top grass riders on the circuit and he proved that on Sunday in Arcadia when he won a race down the hill. Trujillo was subbing for Mario Gutierrez (personal issue) who took off his two mounts for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Trujillo will be an interesting addition and we’ll see how fast trainers flock to him. Local trainers usually wait to see if a jock wants to stay before committing.

We already know O’Neill will give him mounts so watch to see if top barns like John Sadler, Jerry Hollendorfer and Peter Miller give him mounts. If they do, Elvis will stay in the building.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 3 (Artest $52.60, second race; Fanny Brice $3.80, fifth; Maker of Breaker $4.60, eighth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 4 (Goyan $6, first; Friendswith K Mill $4.20, third; Eddie’s First $4.20, fourth; Pressure Time $17.80, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shout winners: 1 (Coo Cachoo $17.20, sixth)

Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

HRTV finally coming to Del Mar, sort of

Finally, HorseRacing Television (HRTV) will be able to show the races from Del Mar beginning next summer.

For years, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has had an exclusive agreement with TVG, but the California Horse Racing Boasrd had other ideas.

“The CHRB wanted this to happen,” said Josh Rubinstein, senior vice president, development for the DMTC on Thursday. “We were fine with it as long as TVG was, too. They were our partner.”

After two weeks of negotiations, an agreement was announced at Thursday’s CHRB meeting.

“Everyone will be probably compensated,” said Rubinstein, as both HRTV/Xpressbet and TVG are also in the advance deposit wagering business, too.”The more people that receive the Del Mar product, the better.”

What’s to be determined is whether HRTV personalities will actually be on the Del Mar grounds?

The simple answer is probably not.

The agreement will likely be like the one currently in place at other Southern California tracks.

At Santa Anita, HRTV is on-site while TVG just talks and shows the races from its studios in Santa Monica. At Hollywood Park, TVG is on-site while HRTV talks about the races from Arcadia.

Whatever the case, at least horse racing fans will have a choice of which network they want to get their handicapping information from. Todd Schrupp/Simon Bray vs. Laffit Pincay III/Kurt Hoover.

Rubinstein did add TVG would continue to handle the inter-track wagering show like it has for the last few years.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter


@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter


The news never seems to end at seaside oval.

+ Jockey Garrett Gomez held a 90-minute meeting with track stewards Sunday morning in hopes of getting permission to begin exercising horses on Wednesday.

That isn’t going to happen.

Gomez, who admitted to falling off the wagon and drinking again, had his follow up meeting with the Del Mar stewards moved from Wednesday morning to Friday afternoon.

Did Gomez fail his drug/alcohol test? Only time will tell.

Will the stewards play hard ball with Gomez because he failed to show up on opening day and honor his commitments (also for Thursday and Friday)?

The bigger issue might be that Gomez made no attempt to contact the stewards when two weeks ago when he was asked to do so. If Gomez had called to say, he fell off the wagon and was in a rehab a program, the stewards might have a different view of the situation.

As things stand now, the earliest Gomez will be able to get on a horse would be next Saturday and the first possible mounts he might be able to accept would be a week from Wednesday.

We’ll find out on Friday, what the latest chapter is.

+ Further news on the jockey front, trainer Bob Baffert announced Joel Rosario will ride Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic.

Regular rider Mike Smith will be at Saratoga that day to ride Royal delta for trainer Bill Mott, which means Rosario and Smith will pass each other in the air somewhere in the middle of the country.

The news also means defending Pacific Classic champion Dullahan will have a new jockey. Rosario rode him to victory last year.

However, Ron Anderson, Rosario’s agent, told Del Mar media officials “Game On Dude may be the best horse in the country and I would think he’d be a huge favorite (for the Classic).”

The move brought a classic response Dale Romans, Dullahan’s trainer.

“No one monkey stops my show,” said Romans.

+ The Grade I Bing Crosby was interesting on several levels.

Trainer Tim Yakteen scored his first Grade I victory with Points Offthebench ($8.80), who edged Goldencents by a head.

Funny after the race, TVG personality Greg Wolfe interviewed winning jockey Smith. It just so happens Yakteen is married to HRTV handicapper Millie Ball.

Also in the Bing Crosby, the plunger showed up for the second time this weekend and for the second time lost a $200,000 show wager made at Santa Anita.

On Saturday, the loss came in the Fleet Treat Stakes. On Sunday, the wager was on Comma to the Top, who finished fifth.

The show payoffs weren’t as large as the Fleet Treat, but they were nothing to sneeze at: $8.40, $6.60 and $7.20.

+ The Del Mar jockey colony had better be ware of Julien Leparoux when he goes to the lead on the turf course.

Twice on Sunday, Leparoux went wire-to-wire scoring with Pontchatrain ($9.40) and Horizontalyspeakin ($15) in the 10th race.

Leparoux normally rides from behind on the grass, but he was loaded on both horses and nobody pressured him.

Points Offthebench and jockey Mike Smith, right, hold off Goldencents (Kevin Krigger), left, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA. BENIOT PHOTO

Points Offthebench and jockey Mike Smith, right, hold off Goldencents (Kevin Krigger), left, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA.

Del Mar, Horse racing

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Horse racing

No HRTV at Del Mar, yet

Don’t plan on watching the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s races on HRTV beginning with next Wednesday’s opener.

The current television swap between TVG and HRTV for Santa Anita and Hollywood Park ends on Sunday with Hollywood’s last race, said Josh Rubinstein, Del Mar’s chief operating officer, in an email.

“Del Mar is currently under a marketing contract with TVG which includes broadcast exclusivity,” said Rubinstein.

Industry leaders, including the California Horse Racing Board, have long wanted Del Mar on both TVG and HRTV, and Rubinstein said he has been part of those discussions, but the situation remains “status quo.”

“If Del Mar’s signal were to be available on HRTV it would – given our current agreement (with) them – need to be blessed by TVG,” said Rubinstein.

TVG is a polarizing network among bettors, mainly for its “send it in” approach from its on-air talent.

Aside from TVG’s Simon Bray, who is a fantastic handicapper and former trainer, HRTV would seem to have the better on-air talent with the likes of handicappers Jeff Siegel, Kurt Hoover and Millie Ball plus the deft hosting of Laffit Pincay III.

HRTV’s only downfall might be that it doesn’t give selections early enough for some bettors to wager, but when races are right on top of each other, it is tough. HRTV also doesn’t give enough time to wagers like Southern California’s Pick 5 and offer fans an overview of all races in the sequence.

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