Dinerman’s Thoughts On ERC


Hi all! This is Matt Dinerman, the Emerald Downs track announcer. Most of you might remember me stopping by the Emerald Racing Club Orientation a couple of weeks ago.

I’m 24 years old (the youngest announcer in America: woohoo!) and grew up in San Diego, California, where my parents reside. I have been involved with horse racing since I was 11, when my dad took me to Del Mar (Where The Turf Meets The Surf!) I got my first job in racing when I was 16, working on the backstretch for Southern California trainer John Sadler. I worked in his barn for four summers (2008-2011) before spending two additional seasons as the press box steward. While working in the Del Mar press box, I took a tape recorder and my binoculars and practiced calling races from high atop the grandstand.

I was hired to call races at Emerald Downs in May of 2015, just a week BEFORE I graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. That gave me even more reason to pass all of my final exams!

The main reason I wanted to add to this blog is because I have really enjoyed calling Emerald Racing Club winners like Charlie Thomas, Tribal Waters, Archie Graham, and of course, Distinguishable! Before calling a race with an Emerald Racing Club horse, I open my window and door to my booth so I can feel the electricity from downstairs. That electricity comes from all of you, cheering on your horses as they are announced in the post parade and as they race around the track. It’s really an amazing adrenaline rush to be able to call any horse race, but to be able to call a racehorse that means so much to so many fans is extra special.

It NEVER gets old to see the Emerald Racing Club line up out on the track to get a winners circle photo taken! You all look like you are having the time of your lives…and the horses look so happy to see you after they won! In my opinion, horses feel confident when they understand a large fan base is their to support them. I really do believe the “fan favorites” try just a little bit harder, for that reason. Horses are amazing animals and are smarter than some may give them credit for.


Dinerman & Distinguishable

Speaking of horses, Distinguishable and McDove are two lovely fillies that you have acquired this year. Not only do they have talent as racehorses, but they are sweet as can be in the barn area. Spending time with hundreds of horses over the years, I can tell you that every horse has his or her own personality. Some are happy all the time. Some are moody. Some are very friendly towards people. Some like to be left alone. There’s no doubt, though, that Distinguishable and McDove LOVE to see all of you and very much enjoy human interaction. Whenever I go visit to see them, they stick their heads out of the stall and demand attention (and treats!) They know they are the stars of the show!!!

Luckily, you are off to a GREAT start this year and there is still A LOT of time for much more success. Here’s hoping Larry and Sharon Ross and Mike Puhich can find some good races and they continue to thrive!

I’d like to have a few of you visit my announcers booth and come up to the sixth floor to watch a race. Maybe Vince can have a contest or drawing to make that happen! And if you have any questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll answer ALL of your questions!

I just spoke to Vince and both fillies were on the track Wednesday. McDove jogged one mile, her first bit of work since Saturday’s race, and Distinguishable galloped one mile.

Vince will be out 7:30 Thursday morning to watch training, hope you can join us.

If any of you are on Twitter, my handle is @3coltshandicap. Feel free to follow my account, send me tweets, messages, etc. Thank you for reading!

McDove Looks Good


McDove on Sunday morning

Thoroughbreds expend an enormous amount of energy in a race, and thus bear close scrutiny for several days after a competition.

In the case of McDove, she appears to have emerged from Saturday’s third-place effort in good shape. Trainer Sharon Ross said the Emerald Racing Club’s 4-year-old filly cooled out well after the race, ate her dinner last night, looked good Sunday morning, and probably will go back to the track in a few days.

Front-runners dominated Saturday’s seven-race card at Emerald Downs, so it was encouraging that McDove managed to run well in her ERC debut.

Sharon raised a great point. It seems like everyone just scatters immediately after a race, and I probably should try and find a spot where we could gather and watch the replay together and discuss what happened in the race. The trainer could offer a quick analysis of the race, let us know what the jockey said, and perhaps answer a few questions too.

We shall do this going forward. I will scout out a good location and let everyone know where to go after the race. Hopefully it would include a short detour to the winner’s circle, but we can gather around some TVs and offer a quick rehash of the race.


McDove in the paddock-photo by ERC member Kim Carlson

Distinguishable, meanwhile, galloped one mile Sunday morning and will have a workout in the next few days, according to trainer Mike Puhich.

A possible race is Sunday, May 14. It is an allowance/optional claiming race for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won a race other than maiden, claiming or starter or which have never won two races or a claiming price of $25,000. The purse is $18,500, the distance 6 furlongs. Distinguishable’s two career wins are a maiden race and a $15,000 claiming race, so she would not be eligible to be claimed.

Distinguishable-April 23

Distinguishable and Javier Matias head to the track Sunday

Puhich, incidentally, is tied for leading trainer with four wins in the first six days of racing. He had two victories Saturday including a monster win by Prime Engine, a 5-year-old gelding that ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.10–.23 seconds off the track record–and is the probable favorite in the $50,000 Governor’s Stakes on Sunday, May 21.





McDove Finishes 3rd For ERC

4-22-17 McDove (1)

McDove (green & white silks) chases Jerre to Carrie (red) and Kiss My Lulu (blue)

McDove gave it a good try Saturday at Emerald Downs, finishing third in the fifth race on a cloudy and wet afternoon.

Jerre to Carrie, the 9-to-5 betting favorite, was victorious by 2 1/4 lengths in a very fast 1:08.66 for six furlongs. Kiss My Lulu held off McDove by a head for second place, and one more stride and we would have finished second. McDove earned $1,680 for finishing third.

It was McDove’s first race since February 16 and her first at Emerald Downs, and all things considered a pretty good effort. Trainer Sharon Ross and jockey Javier Matias both were pleased with with the showing, and it showed McDove clearly fits at this level and should benefit from the race. The feeling is that McDove should be even better at longer distances

According to the official Equibase chart, “McDove settled off the leaders early, moved five-wide through the turn and finished with good late energy.”

There was a claim in the race, but it wasn’t McDove. Jerre to Carrie was claimed for $15,000 by owner Richard Craswell and trainer Kay Cooper.

Sunday’s work for Distinguishable is off. Everything is fine but Mike Puhich said he prefers to wait a couple of days. Distinguishable will gallop, however, at 7:30 a.m. with Javier Matias aboard.

I will be out early to watch Distinguishable train and also visit McDove to see how she came out of the race.

Enjoy the weekend!

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McDove in the stretch run

McDove 7-2 On Morning Line

Just to reiterate McDove runs in Race 5 Saturday at Emerald Downs, but there is a slight change in post time to 4:19 p.m. That’s 12 minutes later than previously listed and I want to make sure people can plan their day accordingly.

The morning line lists McDove at odds of 7-to-2 (3 1/2 to 1) which makes her third choice behind Annisquam (5-to-2) and Jerre to Carrie (3-to-1). The morning line is what the track line maker believes the odds will be for each horse at post time. The actual win odds are determined by the amount of money wagered on each horse, and the horse with the most money is the “betting favorite.”

It sure looks like the race is evenly matched with McDove ranking as one of the main contenders.

Here is the field for Saturday’s race: 1-Annisquam, Rocco Bowen, 5-2; 2-Sugarseeker, Kevin Orozco, 10-1; 3-Mary Lois, Jennifer Whitaker, 5-1; 4-Kiss My Lulu, Juan Gutierrez, 9-2; 5-Justitia, Eliska Kubinova, 12-1; 6-McDove, Javer Matias, 7-2; 7-Jerre to Carrie, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 3-1.

Once again, this race is for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races with a claiming price of $15,000. However, in parentheses at the bottom of the condition (listed below) it states “maiden races, claiming races and starter races for less than $12,500 or less not considered”. That distinction is extremely important.

PURSE $11,200. FOR FILLIES AND MARES THREE YEARS OLD AND UPWARD WHICH HAVE NEVER WON TWO RACES. CLAIMING PRICE $15,000, if for $12,500, allowed 3lbs. (Maiden Races, Claiming Races and Starter Races For $12,500 Or Less Not Considered)

In the case of McDove, she has two career wins, but one of those is a maiden victory and “not considered” a win for Saturday’s race condition. In fact, of the horses in the race, Sugarseeker, Justitia, McDove and Jerre to Carrie all have won twice, but in each case one of the victories was a maiden race and thus are eligible to run.

This is where it get a bit tricky. Annisquam and Mary Lois each have nine career wins and Kiss My Lulu has four career wins. What gives? Why should McDove have to compete against horses with nine wins?

It all goes back to that bold faced clause in the condition. Annisquam, Mary Lois and Kiss My Lulu have been racking up victories in races with claiming prices of $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000, etc. Remember, in addition to maiden victories not counting as a victory, any victory in a race with a claiming price less than $12,500 also doesn’t count as a win.

It can be confusing, I know, but being able to understand the terminology is vital to any successful trainer and owner. Horses must be spotted in races where they have a good chance for success. As their 7-for-24 record clearly indicates, Sharon and Larry Ross have done a great job over the years of picking out races for ERC horses.

Distinguishable is tentatively slated to have a workout Sunday morning at Emerald Downs. It will depend on weather and track conditions, but Mike Puhich said he would like to get a “maintenance drill” into Distinguishable, and it looks like there might be a race for her on May 14.







McDove Race On Saturday

Good news, Emerald Racing Club.

McDove runs in the fifth race Saturday at Emerald Downs. Post time is 4:07 p.m.

The race is for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races (not including maiden races). The claiming price is $15,000, the distance six furlongs (three quarters of a mile).

I will handicap the race in more detail Friday, but there are three dedicated front-runners in the seven-horse field–Annisquam, Kiss My Lulu and Justitia–so it looks like McDove can take aim at an honest pace. I also like that she drew outside–post-position six–which usually helps in a one-turn race.

McDove and Distinguishable both galloped one mile Wednesday.

I will be out 8 a.m. Thursday to watch the horses train. Everyone is welcome, of course, to come out and watch training. Let’s hope for some better weather!


McDove Possible Race Friday Or Saturday

McDove Friday

McDove and Gilbert Ramirez

We mentioned Sunday that horse racing is fluid, that things change constantly. A great example is entering a horse for a race.

Our plan has been to enter McDove for a race Saturday, April 22. It’s for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races (not counting maiden wins) with a $15,000 claiming price. The purse is $11,200 ($6,160 to the winner) and the distance 6 furlongs.

In addition to races listed in the condition book, like the one above, the racing secretary adds several extra races that are used when the condition book races do not fill. It can get a bit confusing, I know, but trainers must pay close attention to these “extras” because the conditions can be nearly identical to the race you have targeted in the condition book.

Which is a long way of saying there is an extra race Friday, April 21, and McDove is going to be entered in it. The extra race is for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won three races (including maiden wins) with a $15,000 claiming price. The purse is $11,300 and the distance 5 1/2 furlongs. In other words, practically identical to the Saturday, April 22 race.

There simply aren’t enough $15,000 claiming fillies and mares that have never won three races to fill both the Friday and Saturday race. So we shall enter the Friday extra race, and if it doesn’t fill we will enter for the Saturday race as planned. And if neither race fills, we will have to figure out something else. Like I said, it’s fluid!

It will take a few days to get a final answer. Entries for the Friday, April 21 race will be taken Sunday, and entries for the Saturday, April 22 race will be taken Wednesday.

Meanwhile, McDove continues to gallop strongly and is pretty much ready to race. As Sharon Ross said Sunday, McDove trained all winter and was fit when she arrived from Golden Gate Fields. And the process of acclimating to Emerald Downs has gone well, even with the lousy weather.

Distinguishable Friday

Distinguishable on the mechanical hot walker 

Over at the Mike Puhich barn, our other 4-year-old filly was back on the track Friday and galloped one mile under Javier Matias. Distinguishable appears to have emerged from Sunday’s victory in great shape and we can start looking for another race soon.

I will email out some billing information Friday afternoon, and friendly reminder, because they have horses racing Sunday no visitors at either the Ross or Puhich barns.

Dani Griggs, groom of Distinguishable, was named Quarter Chute Cafe Groom of the Week. She also is a pretty good photographer. Check out this photo she took of 4-year-old gelding Lord Walton enjoying the opening night fireworks show at Emerald Downs.

Lord Walton

Lord Walton







Distinguishable Wins!

Distinguishable 3

Distinguishable and Javier Matias victorious Sunday 

Distinguishable got the 2017 Emerald Racing Club off to a great start Sunday at Emerald Downs.

With Javier Matias sporting the green and white silks of ERC, Distinguishable cruised to a 1 3/4-length victory over Elusive Riches in 1:02.59 for 5 1/2 furlongs. The victory is worth $6,840 (the winner earns 55% of the purse).

The race was never really in doubt. Distinguishable broke on top and pretty much led gate to wire, setting fractions of :21.97, :45.10 and :56.95. Elusive Riches took a couple of cracks at us, but our filly was clearly the best horse today. We’ll find out her Beyer figure in a couple of days.

As most of you know, the race was a $15,000 claiming race for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races. Distinguishable was not claimed, so she will race for us again–but with two career wins she is no longer eligible to compete in races for non-winners of two. So the competition figures to be a bit tougher in her next race.

I received a text from trainer Mike Puhich, and he said Distinguishable appears to have come out of the race in good condition and that she was attacking her dinner voraciously. Good. She earned it!

For those that wagered, Distinguishable was the betting favorite and paid $3.60 to win.

Distinguishable 2

Distinguishable getting her game face in the paddock

Several of you inquired about winner’s circle photos. They are available for purchase at Reed & Erin Palmer’s photo office located next to the clubhouse lobby. Cost is $15 for an 8 x 10. Palmer Photography Phone # (253) 288-7051.

All in all a good day. A great turnout at Orientation and hats off to our guest speakers: Phil Ziegler, Mike Puhich, Sharon Ross, Jody Peetz, Joe Withee, Matt Dinerman and John Lindley. All of you were great.

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Emerald Racing Club and Distinguishable-victory!

Incidentally, this is the second straight year Emerald Racing Club won its season debut, as Archie Graham rallied to win last year’s opener.

Emerald Racing Club now has eight wins in 25 career starts for a 32 percent mark.

I will swing by the barns in a couple of days and post updates on Distinguishable and McDove.

Distinguishable 1.jpg

Mike Puhich, groom Dani Griggs, Javier Matias & Distinguishable

Distinguishable Morning Line Favorite

Emerald Racing Club’s Distinguishable is the 5-to-2 morning line favorite in Sunday’s 5th race at Emerald Downs. The race appears to be evenly matched as Our Silver Lining at 6-to-1 is the longest shot on the morning line.

For those unfamiliar with what that means, the track’s morning line maker predicts the final odds for each horse in every race. The actual odds, of course, are determined by how much money is wagered on each horse. John Lindley and Gary Dougherty, our guest handicappers at Orientation, will handicap the race in detail and explain the various symbols and numbers in the Daily Racing Form.

As I mentioned yesterday, we will have a special drawing Sunday to determine the paddock winners for Distinguishable’s race. The goal is to let everybody have at least one chance to be in the paddock this season.

Sunday’s weather forecast is sunny and 60 degrees with zero (!) chance of rain.

Here is the field for Sunday’s 5th race: 1-Pebble Beach, Kevin Orozco riding, 3-1; 2-Knife River, Rocco Bowen, 5-1; 3-Web of Demons, Eswan Flores, 4-1; 4-Elusive Riches, Jose Zunino, 7-2; 5-Our Silver Lining, Eliska Kubinova, 6-1; 6-Distinguishable, Javier Matias, 5-2.




Busy Sunday For ERC


Distinguishable in her stall Friday

Sunday, April 9, is going to be a terrifically busy day for Emerald Racing Club.

In addition to our annual Orientation, which begins at 12 noon, we also have our first starter of the racing season as Distinguishable will run in Race 5 at 3:51 p.m. The race is 5 1/2 furlongs for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up which have never won two races, with a $15,000 claiming price and 11,000 purse. Distinguishable drew the outside post position in a six-horse field with Javier Matias the jockey.

So we should have a full day to say the least. Check-in for Orientation begins at 11:30 a.m., and former jockey Vicky Baze will help help to get people checked in and pass out Sunday’s official racing program. (Don’t purchase one!)

The most important thing is for you to meet our trainers, Sharon Ross and Mike Puhich. We will talk about their training careers, review the rules for ERC visitors at each barn, and answer questions from Club members. Think of some good ones!

Other guests include Phil Ziegler, President of Emerald Downs Racetrack & Casino; Jody Peetz, one of the top owners at Emerald Downs; and Matt Dinerman, Emerald Downs track announcer who will help with the Emerald Racing Club this spring and summer.

At 1 p.m. handicappers John Lindley and Gary Dougherty will discuss the basics of reading the program and Daily Racing Form, and also field any questions from our audience. I also will pass out Daily Racing Form past performances of Distinguishable and McDove, and John and Gary will teach you how to read them.

We will use a hat drawing to determine the paddock winners for Sunday’s race. Since there are only six horses in the 5th race, we should be able to get 15 ERC members into the paddock no problem. Sunday’s winners then become ineligible for the paddock until every ERC member has had the same opportunity. Also, do not despair first-time Club members, as you still will have a close-up view of the paddock activity.


McDove (far left) finishes a four-furlong workout Friday

Sharon Ross called an audible Friday morning and had McDove work four furlongs (half mile) under Javier Matias. The official time was :51 and 1/5 seconds. Sharon and Javier both were pleased with the workout.

McDove probably will have one more work before her tentative race Saturday, April 22.

Distinguishable did not go to the track Friday, although she did walk for 40 minutes on the mechanical hot-walker.

If anyone has questions, I will be back in the office by 1 p.m. Saturday. You can reach me at (253) 288-7723.

McDove Photos

I just wanted to share a couple of nice photos of McDove taken Wednesday by freelance photographer Wayne Nagai.

_DSC8322Wayne’s wife, Ellen, is a member of Emerald Racing Club and both are huge horse racing fans. Wayne also puts together a photo scrapbook of the Longacres Mile which we annually present to the winning jockey, trainer and owners._DSC8358