Is Southern California Horse Racing Still Worth the Trouble?

Before I go on this short rant, I just want to say that I have been passionate about horse racing for decades.

I am particularly fond of Southern California Horse Racing because this is what I grew up with. It is also a sport that I know really well.

Over the years, the powers that have run Southern California Racing have made some really poor decisions, and some good ones too.

Having said that, I always knew that they took the horse-player for granted merely by the way we were treated. The problem the horse-player had decades ago was that this was the only game in town. There was little choice in getting a bet down on the ponies, or whatever gambling interest you had.

That is no longer the situation.

Recent happenings that include the Del Mar Stewards literally stealing money from the bettors, the C.H.R.B 's incompetence in doing anything worthwhile for horse-players, the lack of transparency shown by all tracks when it comes to the "dark side" of the business......I could go on and on. It really makes me stop and think "why should I continue my favorite hobby at all?".

So I am taking the day off from racing for a little reflection.

In the meantime, please join me in saying farewell to a tough race horse who tried every time. Pure Tactics, trained by Doug O'Neill was euthanized on August 23rd as a result of injuries he sustained in the running of the Del Mar Mile.

Pure Tactics had gamely won the Wickerr Stakes during the first week of this Del Mar Meet.

Unfortunately after Pure Tactic's injury that cost him his life in the Del Mar Mile, Del Mar's Official Twitter Page, never mentioned Pure Tactics once.


I will be back tomorrow. Have a great day.


Pure Tactics winning the Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar

Del Mar Bettors Get Ripped Off

Del Mar and Stewards Make a Poor Decision

There was no excuse for what happened to Del Mar Horse-Players on August 1st, 2015.

Here is the unusual incident that occurred in the 9th race that day.

Seeking the West (#4)  pushed his starting gate open right before the rest of the gates were opened, therefore creating an unfair start. When Seeking the West went on to finish 8th in the race,  an inquiry was conducted by the three Stewards*. (Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, Thomas Ward).

The Stewards ruled that since Seeking the West "caused his own problem" there would be no wager refunds on him.

On the surface, that explanation made sense to many. He caused his own problem, so why should wagers be refunded on him?

Why There Should Have Been a Refund on Seeking the West

The people who had wagers on Seeking the West never had a chance to win when he broke ahead of his field. The fact is, had Seeking the West finished 5th or better in the race, the Stewards would have ruled him a non-starter. All wagers on him would have been refunded.

So people that wagered on Seeking the West only stood a chance to get their money back. Yeah I know, pretty unreal.

When a Horse Causes His/Her Own Problems

When a horse "causes his own problem" it is usually by breaking slowly, racing wide on the turns,  etc... but he still has a chance of winning money for the bettors. Granted, it may be a diminished chance, but still a chance.

When Seeking the West (obvious to most) pushed open the gate early, the Stewards penciled him in as a non-starter. When he finished out of any pari-mutuel wagering pools, they erased that, and called him a starter.

It is no secret that having to refund wagers pisses off track management. So it was much easier to call Seeking the West a starter, and avoid refunds and consolation payouts. Of course, the Stewards will vigorously deny that refunding money played into their decision. But we know better.

Who Should Be Embarrassed by This?

  • The Stewards for their stupid decision based on their ridiculous interpretation of the racing rules.
  • Del Mar Track Management for not getting involved, and doing the right thing by its customers.
  • Local Media and other so-called organizations that "promote racing" for basically ignoring this situation. Although Roger Stein touched on this for a couple of minutes on his August 2nd radio show.

There are many factors that have reduced Southern California's Horse Racing popularity over the years, lack of trust and transparency should not be one of them.

In short, the people who bet on Seeking the West got ripped off, plain and simple. What makes this smell even more, is that many are not even aware of it.

Good Luck,


Please note that Del Mar Barn Banter will not be published today, will will return tomorrow 8-20-15


* Stewards are similar to referees in other sports.


Long-Shot Jockeys at Del Mar

Del Mar is known for it's parade of nice priced winners the first few weeks of the meet. Here is a list of Jockeys who have won with horses going off at higher than 8-1 (through 8-4-2015). Stats are for starters that were higher than 8-1 only.

longshot riders at del mar race track
Stats from July 16th to August 4th, 2015

Bejarano and Stidham are Tough at Del Mar

rafael bejaranomike stidham

Midwest based trainer Michael Stidham and Jockey Rafael Bejarano have put out notice that they will be a force this meet.

The combo teamed up to win two races yesterday with maiden winner D. Shifflet (9.20) in the first race, and then captured the 7th race with impressive 3 yr old filly Zipessa (6.40).

Stidham and Bejarano will team up today with Istanford in the Osunitas Stakes, and with Her Emmynency in Sunday's San Clemente Stakes.

Interesting to note that Istanford won the 2014 San Clemente for Stidham and Bejarano last year.

Note: Del Mar "Barn Banter" will return on Sunday July 19th and everyday for the rest of the meet.