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Thursday, April 24, 2014

SHELDON RUSSELL READY FOR CHICAGOLAND

From Arlington Park Communications Department
Watch a few races at Arlington International Racecourse and it becomes quite obvious that two of the most pertinent keys to a jockey’s success are patience and tenacity.  With a current colony that boasts some of the best to wrangle the reins in the country, the Chicagoland oval adds Sheldon Russell to its roster – a rider who has not only exhibited both of those qualities in his previous forays, but has earned multiple meet titles in the process.

       

Over the last six-plus years, Russell has been a mainstay in the Mid-Atlantic’s jockey standings, consistently vying for annual titles at Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and Colonial Downs.  In the process, the Middlesex, England-raised and Louisiana-born 26-year-old has bagged titles at Colonial (2010 and 2011), Pimlico (2011) and the overall Maryland title (Pimlico, Laurel and Timonium) in 2011.  In such, from gritty closing rides his many on multiple stakes-winning sprinter Ah Day to the finesse shown when guiding Rahystrada (a name not foreign to Arlington racing fans) in the Grade III Colonial Turf Cup, Russell has displayed an ability to adapt and excel – and now he is excited to take his show on road.

       

“Back in Maryland, I used to go to Colonial Downs in the Summer, but this year they’re having trouble making dates.  So, I wanted to do something new and had the choices of Monmouth, Delaware Park and Arlington,” explained the eloquent Russell.  “I rode the (Arlington) Million a few years ago on Rahystrada and remember really liking it.  Then, I had met (jockey agent) Doug (Bredar) over the winter and he reached out and told me that if I was ever ready to come this way, to give him a call – and I did.”

       

Some of the best jockeys, much like the racehorses beneath them, often come from quality breeding and training – and such is the case with Russell.  “When I was 16, I moved to my dad’s (a former jockey) in Newmarket, England.  At that time, my father was an assistant to Sir Michael Stoute,” Russell explained.  Stoute, of course, is same Stoute who trained Dank to demolish the 2013 Beverly D.  After deciding to follow in his father’s boot steps, he decided to venture Stateside in 2007 at the age of 19. 

 

“I had 65 rides back in England before riding here,” he said.  “I was only meant to come here for three months of vacation.  I came over to work on (trainer Michael) Dickinson’s farm.  While I was there, he was pumping it into my head that if I were to come over here full-time, I would get a lot more opportunities and he would help get me started.”

 

Riding for Dickinson – the famed two-time Breeders’ Cup-winning “mad genius” of training – not only exposed Russell to the best of conditioning, but allowed him to experience the idiosyncrasies of American racing for the first time.  “Growing up in England all I remember watching is turf racing.  Over here (in the States), was my first time riding on dirt.  Now, obviously with the Polytrack as well as the turf (at Arlington), I will most likely be returning to my old ways of riding.  I’m excited for that change-up,” he elaborated.  “All we train on in England is the Polytrack and we work the horses on the turf course.”

 

Dickinson’s influence was not only paramount in the young Russell’s skill development, but also created some unique opportunities.  “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here,” he explained.  “He also sent me down to Palm Meadows with three 2-year-olds and the groom.  I ended up staying backside at Palm Meadows and freelancing for Carl Nafzger and Ian Wilkes.  Just by luck, Street Sense’s (workout) rider had to go overseas.  They gave me the chance and I ended up galloping him for two weeks and got to work him one time before the Tampa Bay Derby.” 

 

Such confidence in Russell – entrusting him with a juvenile champion preparing for the first sophomore start en route to the Kentucky Derby – is not only impressive, but also proved successful, as the Jim Tafel-owned colt won both races.  And, in that same breath, credence in his abilities from multiple barns seems to be an ongoing trend.  On Saturday, April 19, at Pimlico, he had eight rides for eight different trainers – including multiple stakes mounts.

 

“I don’t have a single ‘whole’ barn I ride for in Maryland.  It’s nice to have a lot of different trainers wanting to ride me on their horses – especially on big stakes days like last Saturday,” he explained.  “When I first started riding I was fortunate enough to be given a lot of great opportunities from some great trainers like King Leatherbury on horses like Ah Day – who was his best horse at the time.  (Leatherbury) is one of those trainers who has given some great riders – like Kent Desormeaux – their first stakes win.”  Leatherbury is not only a legend in Maryland racing, but also is fourth all-time nationally in wins with 6,425.

 

As far as the new Midwestern frontier for the globetrotting Russell, he – in what seems to be his norm – simply wants to work hard and keep it realistic.  “I would like to get some exposure and ride for new trainers.  I’m also excited to ride on (Arlington’s) great turf course and win some races on the Polytrack – and if I finish in the top-5, that’s great for me.”  Considering his feats thus far, it would not be a surprise for the tough and levelheaded Russell to outride his expectations.

 

-END-
 

 

 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More than $63,000 raised for injured jockey Von Rosen

A pair of fundraisers at Turf Paradise to aid severely injured jockey Anne Von Rosen raised more than $63,000.

Von Rosen was pulling up her mount after a Quarter Horse race March 11 at the Phoenix track when the horse stumbled, tossed Von Rosen, and fell over her. Von Rosen was paralyzed from the waist down and has undergone several surgeries. She has returned to her native Germany to continue her recovery and physical therapy.

The Walk for Annie on April 12 allowed fans to walk 400 yards with members of the local riding colony and raised $2,200. An auction and dinner raised more than $61,000 on April 16. The auction included riding items from Bill Shoemaker and Red Pollard as well as memorabilia related to Horse of the Year Zenyatta, including unpublished pictures. A name-plated Zenyatta halter brought $3,500. Turf Paradise owner Jerry Simms contributed $10,000 to the cause.

“We are overwhelmed by the response from Anne’s extended family in the horse racing community,” track general manager Vince Francia said. “We hope the donations and thoughts and prayers of Anne’s many supporters will aid in her recovery.”

Anyone wishing to contribute is asked to contact Turf Paradise Horsemen’s Bookkeeper Bucky Huff (bhuff@turfparadise.net). Those wishing to donate directly can send a check made out to the Turf Paradise Foundation (mark memo line Anne Von Rosen) to the track at 1501 W. Bell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85023. All donations are tax deductible.

Monday, April 21, 2014

NAPRAVNIK TO PARTICIPATE IN FRIDAY SHOWCASE OF OFF-TRACK THOROUGHBREDS

Jockey Rosie Napravnik will ride her off-the-track Thoroughbred, Sugar, during “Thoroughbreds For All,” an event Friday evening in Central Kentucky at which all-star equestrians will promote the versatility of the Thoroughbred.

Sugar, whose registered name is Old Ironsides, is at Keeneland, where he is a stable pony for trainer Mike Maker. Napravnik’s husband, Joe Sharp, is Maker’s assistant. Click here for more about Napravnik and Sugar, whom Napravnik rode to two victories.

During Thoroughbreds For All, Olympian and respected international dressage judge Linda Zang will lead a session on retraining Thoroughbreds for dressage. Nuno Santos, a former assistant to Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, will ride promising dressage horse Ken’s Kitten, a son of Kitten’s Joy who was winless in five races for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Other participants are Pan American Games eventing gold medalist Lynn Symansky and Olympian Boyd Martin.

Sessions will be moderated by Steuart Pittman of the Retired Racehorse Training Project and Anna Ford of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program.

The event also will include a special presentation by The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program to recognize and award the 17 riders who will be competing on registered Thoroughbreds during this weekend’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Thoroughbreds For All will be held 5:30-9 p.m. ET at New Vocation’s Lexington facility at West Wind Farm, 15 miles west of the Kentucky Horse Park at 4787 Haley Road, and includes a Southern-style dinner and cash bar.

On Sunday at 9 a.m., Racing Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron will give a behind-the-scenes tour of The Thoroughbred Center on Paris Pike. The tour includes visiting the barn area, demonstrations by North American Racing Academy students and discussions on Thoroughbreds and race track life.

Tickets are $35 each and are available at www.eventbrite.com. Proceeds benefit New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and Retired Racehorse Training Project. Both are 501(c) 3 charitable organizations.

Monday, April 21, 2014

CHURCHILL DOWNS MAINTAINS TIGHTENED PUBLIC SECURITY MEASURES FOR 140th DERBY, OAKS

Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) has released its list of security and hospitality policies and procedures for this year’s 140th celebrations of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 3, and the Longines Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 2.

 

        The list mirrors the revised list of policies and procedures from last year that was issued following the attack on the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. As it retains last year’s adjusted roster of security and hospitality policies, Churchill Downs officials are again asking Derby and Oaks patrons to be aware during their visits on both days and to heed a simple, but important, reminder: “If you see something, say something.”

 

        Most prominent among the policies for this year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are:

·        A ban on carry-in coolers. Patrons will not be allowed bring their own coolers; however, coolers and ice will be available at several infield purchase points;

·        Purses or bags measuring more than 12 inches in any dimension will not be allowed through any admission gate;

·        Cans of any size or type and glass bottles and containers will not be permitted;

·        Patron and pop-up tents are prohibited.  Poles and stakes of any kind are not permitted.

·        A ban on laptop computers, cameras with detachable lenses, cameras with attached lenses measuring six inches or morecamcorders and tripods;

 

Most of the remaining security procedures on Churchill Downs’ 2014 list have been in place since sweeping changes to those policies were formulated by the track and its security and safety partners and adopted for the 2002 Kentucky Derby.

 

        Among the items permitted for carry-in on both days are:

·        Food items and box lunches contained in clear plastic bags or clear plastic containers measuring no larger than 18” x 18”;

·        Water and soft drinks in plastic bottles that are sealed and unopened;

·        Sunscreen (in non-glass containers only);

·        Purses measuring less than 12” in any dimension, and baby and diaper bags, if accompanied by a child.

·        Cellular phones, smartphones and tablets (patrons could be required to turn on electronic items before being allowed to enter the track);

·        Small cameras with non-detachable lenses no longer than six inches.

 

        “Our sincere hope is that every fan who visits Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks has an amazing experience,” said Ryan Jordan, General Manager of Churchill Downs.  “Our fans have told us that they feel safe when they visit our racetrack.  We are thankful for the tireless efforts of nearly 40 law enforcement, security and safety agencies who work together with Churchill Downs team members each year on security and safety policies for these great events. 

 

        “In addition to maintaining tightened security policies, we are again asking that our patrons be aware of their surroundings and to say something to a uniformed security officer or a member of our Churchill Downs staff if they see something that seems out of the ordinary. ‘If you see something, say something’ is an important thought for all to remember.”

 

        As has been the case since 2002, when security procedures were completely overhauled following the 9/11 terrorist attacks the previous autumn, all patrons entering the track on those days are subject to electronic wand scans.

 

The complete list of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks patron “do’s and don’ts” accompanies this press release.  The roster of policies and procedures is also listed on the official event web pages at www.KentuckyDerby.com and www.ChurchillDowns.com.

 

Monday, April 21, 2014

FUTURE IS NOW FOR YOUNG-AT-HEART COREY NAKATANI

From Santa Anita Communications Department
Corey Nakatani will seek his first Kentucky Derby victory in his 17th attempt when he rides Blue Grass Stakes winner Dance With Fate in the Run for the Roses on May 3.

          Although he’s 43, the native of Covina, California, is riding with the vim and vigor of someone half his age. Anyone who doubts his crafty competitiveness need only look at his courageously cunning victory aboard Flamboyant at 6-1 in yesterday’s La Puente Stakes.

Going into today’s finale of Santa Anita’s Winter Meet, Nakatani ranked seventh in the standings with 34 wins and was second in stakes wins with eight. Nationally, he was 10th in purse earnings through April 19with $2,951,201

He hopes to start a new run when he rides Halo Dolly for Jerry Hollendorfer in the $100,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for California-bred or sired fillies and mares next Saturday, the second day of Santa Anita Anita’s inaugural Spring Meet that begins Friday with twilight racing at 3 p.m.

          Halo Dolly, a veritable win machine with 18 victories from 37 lifetime starts, won the Dream of Summer Stakes at one mile on the main track March 23 with Nakatani aboard. The Fran’s Valentine will be decided at the same distance, but on turf, where Halo Dolly has won 11 times from 22 starts.

          “She’s a real classy filly,” said Nakatani, who rode the 6-year-old California-bred daughter of Popular to a length-and-a-half victory in the Dream of Summer.

“She does whatever they ask her to do. She can run on any surface, I believe. When I got beat on her (fourth in the Grade I Gamely last May) behind Marketing Mix, Tiz Flirtatious and Lady Shamrock, they’re pretty good fillies, so I think she’ll put her best foot forward on Saturday and hopefully win another race.”

          As one of Hollendorfer’s go-to riders, droughts in the winner’s circle are rare occurrences for Nakatani. The 67-year-old Hollendorfer, one of only five trainers with more than 6,000 career victories, is a staunch believer in Vince Lombardi’s credo that “Winning is the only thing.”

          “Anytime you get a chance to ride for a Hall of Famer, and someone who’s got as much passion as Jerry does, at his age, it’s a definite plus,” Nakatani said. “He’s out there every morning, he works hard and he has a passion for winning just like the riders. He’s competitive and it’s a pleasure to ride for him.”

          All that’s well and good, but Nakatani is still focused on every rider’s dream: winning the Kentucky Derby, which he hopes to do with trainer Pete Eurton’s Dance With Fate.

          “The horse earned his way to the Derby,” Nakatani said. ”It’s not like they gave him a spot in the race. He won a Grade I prep that has as much tradition as there is . . . After I looked at his past performances again, and the way he ran in the Blue Grass, he deserves a shot. He earned his way into the Derby. That was my feeling. He’s got the right style.

          “As long as he gets over the (Churchill Downs) surface well and I can give myself a position to track a few that are busy from Point A to Point B, I think he’ll give a good account of himself.”  

          If nothing else, Nakatani has history on his side. His agent, Tony Matos, has represented riders who have won the Kentucky Derby six times: Angel Cordero Jr. (Cannonade, 1974, and Bold Forbes, 1976); Laffit Pincay Jr. (Swale, 1984); Kent Desormeaux (Real Quiet, 1998 and Fusaichi Pegasus, 2000); and Victor Espinoza (War Emblem, 2002).

 

Friday, April 11, 2014

PRADO OUT FOR 30 DAYS AFTER TRAINING ACCIDENT

Racing Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado was injured in a training accident at Keeneland Thursday morning and will be out of action for at least 30 days.

“He is doing fine this (Friday) morning. He has a hairline fracture of the C-7, which is at the base of his neck,” said Prado’s agent, Bob Klesaris. “The horse he was on hit him in the face with his head and Edgar was knocked out when he fell.”

Prado, a three-time winner of the Toyota Blue Grass (G1), was scheduled to ride Vinceremos in Saturday’s 90th running of the $750,000 race.

In the same incident, jockey Jose Lezcano bruised his shoulder.

“He is sore and will be off all of his mounts today but plans to ride Saturday and Sunday,” Keeneland Clerk of Scales Javier Torres said of Lezcano.

Lezcano was named to ride Alkazan Alakazan (BRZ) in today’s Maker’s 46 Mile (G1). Corey Lanerie will now ride the horse. ~ Keeneland Barn Notes 4/11/2014

Friday, April 04, 2014

JOCKEYS VISIT CINCINNATI CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

By John Englehardt
On Friday, March 28 a half-dozen riders made an afternoon visit to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  The visit started in the unique Ryan Seacrest Radio and Television Studio where a live feed is broadcast throughout the hospital.  The radio interviews have camera shots and there is even a performance area with a fixed camera.  This is one of five such studios in the country.
 
            The jockeys took turns being interviewed by host Zach Wells and his special guest Ethan Kidd.  Ethan, a current patient in the hospital has equestrian experience so it was easy for him to relate to the jockeys he interacted with.  All of the jockeys took part in the Q & A session and some “name that tune” contests.  Unknown to the jocks there was a dance-off challenge at the end of the session, which turned out to be rather entertaining.  Jockey Jeremy Rose taught Ethan Kidd how to uncock and spin a whip in about five minutes.
 
            After presenting a framed and signed photo to Zach Wells to hang on the wall of the studio, the jockeys headed up to the activity room.  They handed out jockey cards and coloring books while posing for photos, signing autographs and helping with arts and crafts.
 

            They ended up staying at the hospital about an hour longer than scheduled and a good time was certainly had by all.  Big thanks go out to Amanda Tamburello, Megan Fadlovich, Jeremy Rose, Rodney Prescott, Ben Creed and Dean Sarvis.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Keeneland Jockeys to Participate in “Jocktails” Charity Event to Benefit PDJF

A “Jocktails” charity event will take place during Blue Grass Stakes Week with members of the Keeneland jockey colony tending bar for tips to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). The PDJF is a 501(c)3 public charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered debilitating on-track injuries.

The event will begin directly after the final Keeneland race on Wednesday, April 9, and will take place at Furlongs Restaurant, located at 130 West Tiverton Way in Lexington. A special menu will be featured for the evening.

“These guys put their lives on the line every day for this game we all love and cherish,” stated Tommy Walters, proprietor of Furlongs. “This is something we can do to help the ones who have been hurt.”

Live and silent auctions of Keeneland prints, halters, stallion seasons, and other memorabilia also will be held.

Past years’ participants have included Kentucky Derby winning jockeys Kent Desormeaux, Calvin Borel, John Velazquez, and Mike Smith; Hall of Fame inductees Randy Romero and Edgar Prado; Robby Albarado, Shane Sellers, Corey Lanerie, Julien Leparoux, Rosie Napravnik, and many others.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Historic gathering of female jockeys set for Sunday, April 13 at Keeneland

Approximately 25 retired and active female jockeys, including those who were first allowed to ride in 1969 and some of the most accomplished members of their profession, will be honored at Keeneland on April 13 as part of Horses and Hope Pink Day.

Keeneland co-hostsPink DaywithHorses and Hope, First Lady Jane Beshear’s initiative to reach women working in Kentucky’s horse industry with education about breast cancer and mammography screening. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to raise breast cancer awareness and purchase a commemorative poster of the female jockeys by noted cartoonist and caricaturist Peb (Pierre Bellocq) that the women will autograph to raise funds for Horses and Hope and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Prior to the races, a special Horses and Hope luncheon for breast cancer survivors and supporters will be held in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion. That afternoon, participants will gather in the North Terrace for live music and unique Pink Day activities. Race 6 will be the special Horses and Hope race, and horses will wear pink saddle towels. For more information about Horses and Hope, visit horsesandhope.org.

The jockeys, some of whom are breast cancer survivors, will participate in a question-and-answer session with fans in the Walking Ring that begins at noon. A tribute video about the women will be shown as they are recognized in the Winner’s Circle before race 2, followed by the autograph signing.

“Keeneland is honored to host this historic gathering of female jockeys who have transcended horse racing,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing W.B. Rogers Beasley said. “They include pioneers who faced many obstacles in the pursuit of their riding careers and opened doors that created opportunities for other women. All have been successful due to their courage and determination.”

The women are traveling to Keeneland from across North America and include:

Patti Barton, the first female jockey to win 1,000 races, and her daughter Donna Barton Brothers, the first to ride in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Kaye Bell, who during Keeneland’s 1972 Spring Meet became the first to win a race at the track.

Patricia “PJ” Cooksey, the second woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and the first to compete in the Preakness (G1). Andrea Seefeldt Knight, who also rode in both races, is scheduled to attend.

Diane Crump, the first to ride against men and the first to compete in the Kentucky Derby.

Abigail Fuller, who won the 1985 Triple Tiara aboard her father’s homebred Mom’s Command.

Julie Krone, the most successful female jockey in Thoroughbred racing history with 3,704 victories and mount earnings of $90,126,584. Her firsts include winning a Triple Crown race (the 1993 Belmont [G1]); winning a Grade 1 race at Keeneland (1992 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup); and being inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame (2000).

Kathy Kusner, who in October 1968 became the first to be licensed to ride.

Rosie Napravnik, who during Keeneland’s 2013 Fall Meet became the first to be the track’s leading rider. She also has a win in the Breeders’ Cup and is the first to win the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Tammi Piermarini, second to Krone with 2,310 wins as of March 30.

Tami Purcell-Burkland, the first to win Quarter Horse racing’s two most famous races, the All American Futurity (G1) and the Champion of Champions (G1).

Barbara Jo Rubin, the first to win a race at a recognized Thoroughbred track.

Cheryl White, the first African-American female jockey to compete in Thoroughbred racing.

###

 

For more than 75 years, The Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. As the world's largest Thoroughbred auction company, Keeneland conducts sales every January, April, September and November. Its sales graduates dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a private, for-profit corporation that returns its earnings back to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses, as well as millions of dollars in charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. To learn more about Keeneland, visit us online at www.keeneland.com.

  

For more information contact Amy Gregory at 859 361-3490 or Amy Owens at 859 421-2566

 

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