Father’s Day is Sunday, when homage is paid to caring and loving paternal members of the family throughout the land. Following is a remembrance of my father that appeared September 1999 in Gaming Today, a weekly publication in Las Vegas:

My dad died last week.

He had a long and healthy life, until the last three months, when at 87, a dormant form of leukemia finally erupted. He died quickly and peacefully, thank God, but long before he went, he taught me almost everything I know about horse racing and handicapping.

I remember waiting outside Atlantic City Race Course as a child, my fingers probing through a chain link fence as I strained to hear Tommy Daly’s fractured call, while my dad and his friends were inside playing the ponies.

This was long before tracks allowed children, before the days of Beyers, “bounces” and bute.

My dad was a comedian. He went by the stage name of Ken Barry (not to be confused with Ken Berry of ‘F Troop’ fame). Barry was a world traveler, visiting countries from Africa to Yugoslavia, with stops in Hong Kong, Japan, Russia and Spain.

Oddly, he never played Vegas, but he performed with major stars such as Sammy Davis Jr., Sergio Franchi, Frank Sinatra Jr., Johnny Mathis, Jerry Vale, Phyllis Maguire, Al Martino, Tammy Wynette, Buddy Greco and many others.

He was a trouper to the end, doing 21 shows on the senior citizen circuit in Florida last winter. He regarded himself as a modern-day Will Rogers. His material was original and topical, never dirty or risqué.

He was an avid bridge player, lived and died with the Phillies, and played the horses all his life.

He was once asked if he ever intended to retire. He gave the reply of colleagues Milton Berle, George Burns and Bob Hope: ‘Retire? Retire to what?’

It was Ken Barry who taught me to observe horses in the post parade and warm-ups; to study odds moves on the tote board; to look for significant jockey changes and post position changes; and not to overlook horses coming in from an obscure circuit to run with the big boys.

Those observations still apply today.

A few years ago, my dad left his home in South Jersey, where playing the horses at Garden State and Philadelphia Park had turned into a bingo game, to enjoy some major league racing at Santa Anita.

He asked me if I liked anything the day he went to the track. I gave him a horse that won and paid $51.

I couldn’t wait to talk with him that night about his big score. A $51 winner. The kid did his dad proud.

Did you play it? I asked him eagerly.

Nah, came the honest response. I hooked him up in an exacta.

Ken Barry’s best horse story typifies a gambler’s mentality:

Two friends meet at the track an hour before the first race.

The first one asks the second if he can borrow $20.

“You can’t be broke already,” the second guy says. “It’s an hour before the first race.”

“Nah,” the first guy says. “I got money to bet. I need money to eat.”

Dad, thanks for the laughs.



Tomorrow is Father’s Day, and Santa Anita is offering two unique and fun experiences from which dads can choose.

The ‘Drams for Dads’ whiskey tasting and brunch in the historic Directors’ Room at Santa Anita includes brunch from 1-3 p.m., a complimentary glass of champagne or beer on arrival, Woodford Reserve tasting session, commemorative tasting glass, Club House admission, racing program and a meet ‘n’ greet session with a professional handicapper. For tickets, visit:

And, for dads who just want to show up in shorts, sit outside and enjoy a delicious barbeque, Santa Anita offers the Father’s Day Trackside Package. Each ticket includes a BBQ plate, one craft beer or wine, Club House admission, racing program and tip sheet and seating alongside the home stretch. For tickets, visit:



            Popular jockey and longtime Jockeys’ Room valet Luis Leon continues to recover from the effects of a stroke suffered this past April, according to his daughter Sylvia Leon Sanchez.

“My dad suffered a heart attack at home a couple weeks ago, but he’s recovering well now at Scripps La Jolla,” said Sylvia. “The doctors discovered he had multiple blockages, which were the cause of the stroke in April. They’ve applied stents and he’s doing much better. He’ll be in the hospital another two or three weeks, but he’s walking and talking, fully coherent.”

Leon, 86, who went to work for Rex Ellsworth and rode for the Ellsworth stable horses who were trained by Hall of Famer Mesch Tenney, retired from riding in the mid-1960s and later worked for many years as a valet for jockeys such as Eddie Delahoussaye, Patrick Valenzuela, Chris McCarron and Martin Pedroza prior to retiring to his ranch near San Diego in 1995.

Those wishing to send best wishes to Louie Leon may address their correspondence to Sylvia Leon Sanchez at 12122 Lakeland Rd., Norwalk, CA, 90650.



Bendable makes her first start in more than eight months Sunday in the Grade III, $100,000 Desert Stormer Stakes for fillies and mares, three and older, at six furlongs.

“She had a splint issue after her last race at Keeneland (third by two lengths in the Grade II TCA Oct. 8), but she’s recuperated, back ready to run and doing well,” said Richard Mandella, who trains the four-year-old Horse Greeley filly for Claiborne Farm.

Bendable has never been out of the money in five career starts, with three wins accounting for most of her $152,000 in earnings.

The field for the Desert Stormer, named for the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner  trained by Frank Lyons: Invested Prospect, Tyler Baze, 4-1; Coniah, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Bellamentary, Flavien Prat, 7-2; Pretty N Cool, Martin Garcia, 9-5; and Bendable, Mike Smith, 5-2.


The Thoroughbred Owners of California has announced the promotion of Elizabeth Morey to the position of Director of Racing and Northern California Operations, effective immediately.

“Elizabeth is one of the brightest young talents I have seen in my two decades in the industry,” said TOC President and CEO, Greg Avioli. “She is smart, hard-working, always prepared, and has earned the respect of our racetrack partners throughout California.”

Morey joined TOC in July 2016 as Northern California liaison. In addition to overseeing operations of the TOC in Northern California, her role quickly expanded to encompass oversight of the organization’s racing affairs. She is staff lead on the TOC Racing Affairs Committee, working with the California racing secretaries to implement purse agreements and tracking and analyzing handle and revenue trends.

A lifelong equestrian, Morey worked as an exercise rider in college and after graduating worked as a liaison between horsemen and the CARMA Thoroughbred retirement program. She came to the TOC with a wide variety of hands-on experience in the racing industry and strong research skills. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied public policy and city planning.

TOC is a non-profit corporation that serves as the CHRB-recognized representative of Thoroughbred owners in the California horse racing industry.


FINISH LINES: There is a two-day Pick Six carryover into Saturday of $230,887 and today’s total Pick Six pool is expected to approach $1 million . . . Cecil B. DeMille winner Term of Art, a candidate for next Saturday’s Grade III Affirmed Stakes for three-year-olds at    1 1/16 miles, worked six furlongs this morning for Doug O’Neill in 1:13.80 . . . Multiple graded stakes winner Vale Dori, who had a six-race winning streak snapped by champion Stellar Wind in the Beholder Mile on June 3, worked four furlongs in 47.40 under Rafael Bejarano for Bob Baffert as she prepares for a Del Mar excursion. Baffert said the drill was “very nice.” . . . Santa Anita hosts Cigar Festival Americana next Saturday, June 24, featuring cigar vendors, live music by Moonsville Collective and exciting live racing. For a special online package, visit . . . Monday and Tuesday, July 3 and 4, are Dollar Days at Santa Anita, with beer, hot dogs and sodas on sale for a buck each. First post time both days will be 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. . . . Owner/horse player Stuart Tsujimoto will be Tom Quigley‘s guest Sunday, 11:50 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens.


(Current Through Friday, June 16)          
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Flavien Prat 134 32 19 24 24% 56% $1,617,628  
Joseph Talamo 159 30 30 19 19% 50% $1,405,471  
Rafael Bejarano 128 29 20 21 23% 55% $1,677,040  
Evin Roman 120 24 12 13 20% 41% $703,595  
Tyler Baze 141 18 28 23 13% 49% $992,238  
Tiago Pereira 124 16 20 16 13% 42% $660,555  
Santiago Gonzalez 113 12 13 20 11% 40% $578,226  
Gary Stevens 53 12 9 5 23% 49% $689,958  
Edwin Maldonado 90 11 14 15 12% 44% $560,488  
Martin Pedroza 97 11 9 16 11% 37% $415,590  
Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 67 10 11 11 15% 48% $637,299  
Kent Desormeaux 54 10 11 7 19% 52% $709,402  
Kyle Frey 67 10 6 11 15% 40% $265,124  
Israel Ocampo 75 8 14 6 11% 37% $256,317  
Stewart Elliott 113 8 13 15 7% 32% $428,697  
Corey Nakatani 56 8 10 7 14% 45% $529,350  
Mario Gutierrez 48 8 7 5 17% 42% $376,645  
Trainer Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Peter Miller 97 27 13 13 28% 55% $981,555  
Richard Baltas 88 23 13 13 26% 56% $1,118,926  
Philip D’Amato 97 19 16 11 20% 47% $1,203,465  
Steven Miyadi 54 13 7 10 24% 56% $356,233  
Bob Baffert 39 12 8 6 31% 67% $1,098,490  
Doug O’Neill 74 11 18 12 15% 55% $599,329  
John Sadler 53 10 9 8 19% 51% $653,780  
Jack Carava 35 9 2 8 26% 54% $199,125  
Jerry Hollendorfer 64 8 10 10 13% 44% $437,496  
Peter Eurton 34 8 6 4 24% 53% $445,363  
Hector O. Palma 41 7 7 5 17% 46% $283,261  
Michael Machowsky 31 7 5 7 23% 61% $306,750  
Simon Callaghan 23 7 2 3 30% 52% $275,516  
Jeff Mullins 16 7 1 2 44% 63% $197,560  
Eddie Truman 16 6 1 2 38% 56% $217,690