Santa Anita: Owner Lodges Protest Over Race Condition

by | 01.08.2018 | 12:16pm
Santa Anita

A California owner has brought into question certain racing conditions/restrictions regarding a race on the Sunday card at Santa Anita.

According to a report in the BloodHorse, the sixth race on Sunday had the condition of being “restricted to trainers with 20 or less horses in their care in California.” The condition was designed to restrict entries to smaller barns in California.

The race was won by the Charles Treece-trained Overcomer, who edged Airfoil by a head. The protest was filed by Jason Jocher, who operates Power Hour Racing, which owns Airfoil. Jocher called into question the eligibility of Overcomer, saying that trainer Treece had more than 20 horses in his care at Los Alamitos, where he is stabled.

“I am protesting this race, as Treece has well over 20 (Thoroughbreds), per CHRB investigators,” Jocher wrote on the protest form. “Overcomer was not eligible for this race. (Trainer Jesus) Nunez also has 70 horses in (California) and was allowed to run (Dutt Bart, who finished last in the 10-horse field).”

Mike Marten, spokesman for the Cailifornia Horse Racing Board, told the BloodHorse that they did not have an official tally of the number of horses that each trainer had, but “an investigation into the matter was underway.”

Read more in the BloodHorse

  • gus stewart

    Green acres is the place for me!!! I mean the new conditions for races is a good thing. But you have to set the rules clearly and of course you need to make sure they are followed before you run the race. Can we get the chrb on the jerry springer show. At least the backyard confusion of his guests have a lot in common with the chrb..

    • dan gable

      Although SA probably had good intentions, race became a joke when Jacobson was able to enter a horse. Predictably though, the drop from $62.5k to $10k wasn’t enough.

      • gus stewart

        All good intentions agreed. But its the knee jerk thinking without the complete thought process of exactly what the condition rules are. This track only, other tracks, have it set out so trainers understand it. Why chrb didnt look into it. I agree with the barrmoor comment above. Seriously how many businesses that generates the revenues of horse racing are run like it is. And how many of those other businesses would those employee’s be fired. I can only think of one.. the us government.

        • greg

          Only the airlines are worstly (my new word) run

          • gus stewart

            ok maybe, but people at the airlines get fired or suspended !!!!!! Not here just come in and say, what a nice weekend field sizes up, handle up some ( partly to east coast cancellations) and the other stuff will come out in the wash my father would say. Ritvo is doing something for sure, but the bottom line of attracting new fans will never be done unless you reach out to new people to bring them in. Understanding the old way of running racing no longer works. A complete rebranding advertising campaign across the states for racing is the only thing that will work. Oh do you mean an unbiased younger female commissioner may work!!!! oh no, the good old boys are not gonna let that happen!!!! So Big Tim, I am pulling for you and Frank to get er done, but accept your gonna have to piss of a lot of people to do it.

        • Barrmorr

          Trainer Nunes has 28 horses in his care and yet was allowed to enter a race supposedly restricted to trainers with a maximum of 20. As the old saying goes ‘close enough for government work.’ With incidents like this is it any wonder that California racing is in shambles?

      • Paul Braus

        Good point! Jacobson had a horse in another race on Sunday’s card — and claimed a horse in one of the other races. I’m not following the CA circuit that closely (I’m in NY), but he is (usually) a ‘volume’ trainer with a lot of runners.

        • Baloo

          A horse that was vanned off :-(

    • Chris Lowe

      (Boxing ringside bell sounds)

  • Barrmorr

    The problem with a race condition such as this is the assumption that anyone on the CHRB can count to 20.

    • gus stewart

      Lol thats golden

    • HappyHarriet

      It’s so interesting – the first time this type of race is offered, TWO of the Trainers ignore the restrictions and ENTER ANYWAY?

      Would you surmise those two Trainers figure the CHRB, the Racing Secretary, the other Trainers and the betting public are too stupid to notice?

      AND there are clearly no checks and balances built into this rule, such as a “please indicate how many horses are training in your barn” question on the entry form.

      It’s left up to the honor and integrity of the TRAINERS to monitor THEMSELVES? Anybody see a problem with THAT?

      Bureaucracy at it’s absolute worst.

      • Mike Oliveto

        Well…clearly the CHRB and the Racing Secretary are indeed too stupid to notice or those two horses would not have run. LOL.

        • Baloo

          Years ago, I went in to show the racing secretary’s office to enlighten them of the erasure mark on a horse’s papers in their office ( the words, “ not for racing purposes” had been eliminated from the document ), and the horse was stabled at Los Al… no one batted an eye. They can be very selective about the protocols they wish to enforce .

          • gus stewart

            I have been to a few meetings also. They seem to think they are like a mark zuckerberg except they didnt create a multi billion dollar biz. Do we all remember when we invited people to come out to the races… still do that occasionally, but to meet people to get involved in ownership anymore. Can anyone honestly say that with the way this biz is run u would ask anyone to invest..not a chance..

      • Eric

        I would NOT surmise that Treece and Nunez figured everyone was too stupid to notice. I would like to think that these trainers asked if their stables were eligible, and then dropped in the entry box. Nunez had 560 Thoroughbred starters last year. Treece’s numbers are down a bit but he has probably had 20+ horses for the better part of the past 20 years. It would be pretty brazen to enter without asking… I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.

        • Concerned Observer

          560 starts divided by 20 horses= 28 starts per horse per year. Should have set off the alarm bells for any official that has the basic mathematical ability to balance his own checkbook.

      • Barrmorr

        I lived in Los Angeles for nearly 40 years and one of the pleasures was going to Santa Anita several times a week. I now live in the Philadelphia area and refuse to set foot in Parx. It is hard to figure which racing board is worse, California or Pennsylvania. Though I now watch California racing from a distance the chaos is not hard to see. While NYRA has its problems they pale in comparison to what is happening in California. I don’t know what the city of Arcadia thinks about Ritvo’s ideas for changes at Santa Anita but I’m worried that one of the world’s most beautiful race tracks could go the way of Hollywood Park. The CHRB and the racing office need to clean up their acts before it’s too late to save an industry that’s already in trouble.

      • Concerned Observer

        Great to see an “OWNER” protest about being cheated. The owners are the guys that really get burned by the cheaters. The bettor loses his bet, but the owners lose the purse, months of training costs and the potential value increase for the horse. Too many good owners have quietly disappeared from the sport rather than raise hell….too bad. Racing loses big time on this one.

    • Concerned Observer

      If racing had even one American racing secretary with the balls and gravitas to say
      “if you Mr.trainer ever again have the temerity to embarrass me, our sport, this race track and the state racing commission with such a willful act of blatant disregard for the rules of honest behavior, we will never again accept entries of horses from you as is our right as a state licensed track…….do you understand??????? Now either play by the rules, or pack up your crap and hit the road!

    • Stephen States

      Based upon their ruling in the Ron Ellis incident your observation is accurate.

  • robnokes

    It should have been based on number of starters in 2017. It’s a very simple equibase check to see who is and is not eligible.

  • Monrovia Damon

    There’s bound to be some hiccups like this when testing out something new. Keep plugging away

    • Peter Scarnati

      Hiccup?? I’d say allowing an ineligible horse to not only run — but win — is far more than a “hiccup.”

      • Monrovia Damon

        Yeah I think they had good intentions to begin with but poor execution. Either fix it so it doesn’t happen again or scrap it altogether.

        • greg

          How does the CHRB NOT!! know Treece has over 20 horses, their stables at Los Alamitos and run nightly. I absolutely understand the premise of the condition and think it’s a good idea, now they’ll cover their a$$ by saying under 20 horses STABLED at Santa Anita, which is their only possible excuse. Now they can’t use it because I said it first, LOL.

          • Monrovia Damon

            Haha we’ll timestamp it so you get the royalties :)

          • dan gable

            CHRB probably believes that since Treece also trains quarter horses, 4 horses = 1.

          • greg


          • gus stewart

            Lol, your on fire.. lmao!!!

          • Mike Oliveto


          • Monrovia Damon

            Math checks out

          • Bein

            Because it isn’t the CHRB’s job to keep an inventory of horses at each track. It’s the track’s job via the race office.

          • greg

            Good point, you’re right

      • gus stewart

        They have done it with geldings for many years and still will let a late annouced gelding run in a race. New idea’s with types of conditions to races are good. The chrb and stewards duties not done, are the problem

        • Peter Scarnati

          An ineligible horse entering, running and winning is a far, far different matter than having a gelding listed as a colt in the program. Unless, of course, the condition forbids geldings from entering or vice-versa.

          • FrazySlew

            But the problem with the condition is it has nothing to do (intrinsically) with class. Conditions are written to separate classes of horses. This condition is arbitrary.
            Or……”Gee I’d love to claim that horse but my trainer has 19 so now I have to pass or burn a bridge.” Endless unintended consequences possible.

          • jimmy ski

            They can start a condition nw of 2 races last 6 months referring to the trainer now instead of the horse!

  • Neigh Sayer

    This was a no brainer that this wouldn’t work when they said the condition was more of a guideline and took only one race of it’s type to blowup in their face.

  • Bryan Carney

    Leave it to Santa Anita, the great disgrace place, to screw up the race conditions. I bet Mike Willman had a hand in this.

    Their intent was to give crappy trainers a chance to win a race, so just make it easy and have the conditions list the eligible trainers: Bean, Stutts, Stortz, Grayson, Capitain, Personal, etc. Get it? Good!

  • Peter Scarnati

    Since when have race eligibility conditions become a “guideline?” Not only that, but since when is eligibility checked off the overnight after entries are drawn?
    And of course, not one comment here (thus far) or on the Blood-Horse, mention one thing about the bettors being completely defrauded. That’s the real screw-up here, but, as always, no one even mentions it. It would seem that, sadly, track management cares far more about the horsemen rather than the bettors who provide all of their operating revenue.

    • Tom Trosin

      So the wagering public, a group that more or less makes a living off of a study of one of the most complex data sets known to man kind couldn’t sort this out? Really?

    • Joe Franklin

      Bettors were not defrauded. There were a group of bettors who figured out the winner from a list EVERYONE was provided BEFORE the race. I suspect some of those bettors probably figured out that horse had an edge coming from a barn who should not have qualified for the condition.

      So let’s be for real….STUPID bettors made bad bets, and SMART bettors made good bets. It is a zero sum game, and you can’t tell the world that SMART bettors were defrauded.

      It’s like my friend who went to Gamblers Anonymous said….I don’t have a gambling problem, I have a losing problem. If I were winning, I wouldn’t be here.

      When you claim you were defrauded, it is because you have a losing problem. If you had won the race, you wouldn’t complain.

  • Eric

    How does the CHRB not have an official tally of the number of horses these trainers have, if they are going to write this condition? What is this – the honor system?

    • FrazySlew

      I’m sure the intent was horses on grounds. But clearly should have been better thought-out. Stupid condition anyway. And Baffert shoved that homebred or <100k msw condition right up their arse.

      • Bein

        I doubt the intention was to limit just horses on the grounds with Los Al so close. It has to be California wide to work.

  • Chas Smash

    Tim Ritvo cannot fix Santa Anita.

    • Chief Wahoo

      Santa Anita has fallen and they can’t get up. Note to Tim Ritvo: Food trucks and wine tasting do nothing to increase handle. Spend an afternoon at an Indian Casino if you want to learn how to attract new bettors.

      • George Jetson

        Exactly right. A good start wood be to get rid of dead weight like Mike Willman, Nate Newbie and Tom Quigley. Three house men who have never had a novel idea to improve the business.

        • Vic Stauffer

          Quigley needs to mix in a few salads.

      • RJ Champion

        A few stripper poles near the Paddock Room bar would be helpful.

        • Monrovia Damon

          I nearly spit out my coffee reading this. Thanks for the Monday chuckle :)

  • Bryan Langlois

    On the question of “how do they not know?” I have found in listening to many a commission or Board speak at meetings that there seems to be a lot of this lack of knowledge in anything. However, in this case, it sounds like this is something the track racing secretary should be dinged for as well….as they decide if a horse is eligible to race or not and accept the entry. Knowing CHRB’s history of doing whatever they can to save face by throwing others to the flames…I suspect they will come down hard on the track on this one.

    • Eric

      Absolutely, the racing secretary should be penalized for allowing this to happen.

      Treece has started 28 unique thoroughbreds since 9/30. I’m not going to plow through the charts to see if any got claimed away, but I feel pretty confident that he has more than 20 “horses”. The conditions really should specify “thoroughbreds” as some Los Al based trainers have horses of both breeds.

      They are going to have to either rewrite this clause to make it easier to track, or scrap it altogether.

      • Jake

        Or card the race they way it was written? Lol yes racing sec should get Hammered on this one.

    • Baloo

      Thus the recent propaganda campaign on these sites, slamming Stronach … they don’t waste any time, I’ll give them that.

  • MA

    When I worked in a California stable office, we had to get from each trailer driver a record of each horse that came in and where they came from, and each horse that left and where they were going. Obviously this isn’t foolproof, ala Sweet Catomine, and drivers blow by the gates or forget sometimes, but stable superintendents should have a list of each horse each trainer has on grounds. When they leave for a farm it enters the grey area, but each track and training center should have info to share with each other.

  • DanM

    The statements by Hammerle and Chaney are racing’s version of interpretation using “legislative intent”. What the rules say is irrelevant, it’s what I think the intent of the rules are OR what I want the rules to be. My word is law.

    For a magnificent explaination of this bizarre phenomenon, read the book of speeches by Antonin Scalia, “Scalia Speaks”.

    • gus stewart

      Yep and owners of horses continue to allow this elitist attitude to run the sport, and send it into oblivion. Seriously love the sport 35 years but you have to of had a lobotomy to get involved at any serious level.

    • CEOmike

      It is the mess of US justice. The founding fathers were mainly British in culture. British common law built on common good and case law (precedent) But the fathers told the French Revolution (hence the French gift of the Statue of Liberty) as their model of justice. It is Dutch Roman with the idea of absolute ownership. Codified law is the only law.

      Hence you have arguments over words as to their common good intent.

      • The American Revolution preceded the French.

        • CEOmike

          Yes but the Constitution was written about the same time, 1787 to 1789 for the Revolution but the French were pushing the world culture at the time.

    • Baloo

      Ah … the man who saw the Devil walking throughout manhattan

  • Figless

    I was told by a very wise trainer that the time to protest conditions is BEFORE a race.

  • CEOmike

    Los Alamitos is mainly a Quarter horse facility. Treece owns mainly Quarter horses. He has raced only 9 Thoroughbreds as starters. So does the race conditions of “20 horses in their care” include his Quarter horses? Also if you say yes, what about stable ponies etc. And in their care in California, so a shipper from say an east coast trainer qualifies?

    The rule is vague, and this is what is wrong with the justice system in the US, it is codified republican meaning exactly as written. It is why the US has more lawyers than all the other countries in the world combined.

    To take the win from him would be unfair. To not take the win from him would be capricious.

    • Eric

      Chuck Treece does not have many QHs these days. Most of his QH statistics are coming from Thoroughbreds that he enters in 870 yard races for QH and TB, that technically hit the books as QH stats even though they only average about 1 QH per 870 race.

      The 870 races at Los Al are a little confusing. Sometimes they hit the books as QH stats, and sometimes they are listed as “mixed” in Equibase statistics and I haven’t figured out why (I THINK it is booked as a “mixed” race if there are zero QHs entered, and its a QH race if at least 1 QH entered – but I could be wrong).

      But Chuck Treece definitely has more than 20 thoroughbreds, if you look at his recent results. When you say he has only raced 9 TBs as starters, I think you are only looking at 2018, which just started!

      I agree that SA has put themselves in a pickle. I definitely understand why the other owner is protesting, and I don’t know what the fairest ruling would be.

      • Jake

        How about the winner keeps his purse money and the racing secretary at SA and the board of stewards all pitch in and pay the 2nd place connections the difference that adds up to the win? I think that’s fair?

    • Jake

      If the race says (LESS THAN 20 HORSES STABLED IN CALIFORNIA) then they have to DQ the winner from purse $$$. And until they change the condition to horses stabled at SA they have to go by the guidelines. This situation shows racing fans the double standards a small trainer in California has to deal with.

  • Pbchi

    our gang comedy. hey kids lets put on a show! and we will make up the script as we go along.

    • Jake

      Bravo !!!

  • Lisa Johnson

    I don’t think I’ve heard of quite as ridiculous race conditions…..that’s taking the cake I believe

  • Mike Oliveto

    “A spokesman for the Cailifornia Horse Racing Board, told the BloodHorse that they did not have an official tally of the number of horses that each trainer had…”

    Am I the only one that sees the absurdity with this condition?

  • HeyBulldog

    “restricted to trainers with 20 or less horses in their care in California” — which is a GIANT loophole for trainers that have huge strings in other states! WTF??

  • Jerry



  • Geri

    Geez. How could they not know he has a fleet of horses– walk through the barns– watch the entries????????

  • Jake

    What a hypocrite Hamnerly is. And no help from stewards. This case is a no brainier winner should be DQ’d and racing office and stewards should get fined for letting him run. Also I wonder how Mr Treece feels that Hamnerly pretty much thinks he’s beneath the the trainers stabled at SA? Guy with 6 horses runs second to a guy with 50? Um why did they write that race again?

  • Dave Stevenson

    one could see this coming a mile away! the absurdity and superficiality of bringing political and managerial problems into eligibility conditions of a race is about as dumb as it gets. and without any research or co-ordination with governing bodies by which to supervise the moronity. what next?

  • Lisa Johnson

    The CHRB is not responsible (nor any commission in my opinion) for keeping stats or having lists of the numbers of stalls or horses trained by anyone. It’s the Racing Director and the Secretary that write and maintain the condition books. Oddly it’s the LACK of conditions in this crazy race that’s bringing all the silliness. It just boggles my mind–are we going to have races for horses with only one left white sock, or only true bright bay horses??? Seriously? Even if you agree with the intent, it’s so completely vague it’s amazing. The quantity of a trainer’s barn has ZERO guarantee in winning stats. We only expect a bigger barn to have more success but it’s not a given. It’s nuts all the way around.

  • Dave Stevenson

    Lisa, you are correct in that the Director of Racing & the Racing Secretary compile definable condition book data, weight allowances and race types largely based on the Equibase NA computer library. But those duties are not omnipotent insofar as content. Definable is the key word here wherein the stewards stand, whether all CHRB employees or a combination of Racing Commission and racecourse appointments, (depending on state law) must be apprised of the conditions in order to rule on disputes of eligibility and weights. And they in turn are answerable to a state appointed racing commission. It is a general rule of thumb that condition book information must be decipherable by licensed horsemen that are registered with the confines of a racing company wherein they race. Without rules of racing we suffer the inevitable chaos experienced in the dilemma being discussed or the proffers that you mentioned in your text.
    In the 1950’s and 60’s the prominent racing secretary Horace Wade wrote some bazaar conditions for grey horses and other colors which gave way to restrictions based on conditions governed by breeding, performance,weight, age and sex.

  • Melton

    I believe the condition reads “20 horses or less at the current meeting”…the way I interpret that is you can have a 1,000 horses elsewhere but if you have 20 or less at the current meet you qualify.

  • RR

    Treece may be in the clear even though the protest on the surface makes perfect sense.
    It really depends on how the Cal racing board classifies runners that will determine the outcome. Most of the horses running for Treece and Nunez run on the LA nighttime programs, the 4 1/2 furlong races that run on the same cards with QH races. The meet is officially recognized as the Los Alamitos Quarter Horse meet where the short meets that Los Al has that run during the afternoon are recognized as Los Alamitos Thoroughbred.
    Nearly all of the horses that run the 4 1/2 races are horses that don’t have enough abiity to run on the regular California circuit. Some go on to good careers but they are all running 4 1/2 F.
    Treece and Nunez probably have less than 20 horses under their care who run exclusively on the big circuit, they certainly are not the same league as Baffert, Hollendorfer, etc, so the spirit of the condition is holding up, again it really depends on how it is interpreted by the stewards.
    There are some bush tracks, mostly in mountain states and the Oregon fairs that are not considered in conditions at “bigger tracks”. You see horses running at tracks like TUP and PM who have 3 or 4 wins who are still eligible for NW-2 because they have never won at a non-fair track (most places will not let horses run in maiden races if they have won at bush tracks) quite often. However that has been going on and is an established norm, it will be up to the stewards in California to determine the eligibility criteria.
    Surprised no one had mentioned this as of yet.

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