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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

‘Thrill Of The Chase’ Drives Stevens’ Desire To Keep Riding

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens has won three Kentucky Derbies, the first of which came aboard Winning Colors in 1988. Just two weeks ago, Stevens was aboard Firing Line as the pair finished second – beaten just a length – to American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby.

Stevens will be back in the saddle on Firing Line as the duo try to turn the tables on American Pharoah in the G1 Preakness Stakes.

As Stevens explained in a recent interview with the New York Times, it’s the “thrill of the chase” that has brought him back to the saddle after knee replacement surgery and retirements earlier in his career.

“Every emotion in your body, from head to toe, is lit up as high as it can get,” Stevens said of competing before a huge crowd such as the record one at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.

“The emotions of the Derby, that last sixteenth of a mile, that’s what I live for,” he said.

Read more in the New York Times

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Flavien Prat Named Jockey of the Week

Jockey Flavien Prat captured Sunday’s American Stakes (G3) aboard Bal a Bali (BRZ) at Santa Anita and was named the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for May 4 – May 10. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.

It was the second Grade III victory in less than ten days for the young Frenchman. He broke through with his first graded stakes win on May 2nd at Santa Anita with a win in the $100,000 Precisionist S. with Catch a Flight (ARG) to give top trainer Richard Mandella win number 2,000. Earlier in the card, Prat nearly scored in the Vanity S. (GI)

Mandella, who trained Bal a Bali (BRZ) as well, heaped high praise on his rider after the winner squeezed between horses in the stretch under the guidance of Prat and prevailed by a length to win the American.

“Yes (he had trouble), but he’s a pro,” Mandella said. “He’s run enough times. He knows what he’s doing. Prat is a pro, too.”

Earlier in the card, Prat nearly scored his first Grade I victory in the Vanity S. (GI) aboard another Mandella trainee. Prat couldn’t get the late running Gas Total (BRZ) up in time and was beaten a length by Mike Smith aboard My Sweet Addiction.

Currently the leading rider at Santa Anita, Prat had an incredible win percentage of 42% for the week and was in the money 67% of his mounts. He brought home five wins, two seconds, and one third from twelve starts and earnings of $261,260.

Prat is riding full time in North America now after spiting time between the U.S and Europe since the 2010 season.


JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, the Jockeys’ Guild, the Paulick Report, the Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.


Thursday, May 07, 2015

CONGRESSMEN SUPPORT MODERNIZING TAX RULES FOR PARI-MUTUEL WINNINGS

Two prominent congressmen, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) and  Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), have submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury reinforcing their support for amending Treasury regulations regarding withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel winnings. The letter, filed late last week, highlighted the economic impact of Thoroughbred racing in advance of the Kentucky Derby, horseracing’s biggest event, which generated a record $194.3 million in wagering.

 

“Unfortunately, the rules which regulate the tax treatment of these wagers were first put in place in the 1970s and do not reflect changes in betting over the past four decades,” the letter says.

 

Yarmuth and Boustany go on to endorse the public comments submitted last month by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and urge the Treasury Department to review and consider those comments as the process moves forward. Last June, Yarmuth and Boustany were joined by a bipartisan group of 15 other congressmen when they sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury urging tax modernization of pari-mutuel regulations relating to pari-mutuel withholding and reporting.

 

“The entire horse racing industry is united and in agreement that these proposed changes will benefit all participants in the sport, including horseplayers, as well as federal and state governments,” said NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop. “We thank Rep. Yarmuth and Rep. Boustany for their continued leadership on this issue. We urge all horse racing organizations, industry stakeholders and horseplayers to make their voices heard before the public comment period ends June 2.”

 

The NTRA has created an easy-to-use form that makes it easy for the public to submit an e-mail directly to the appropriate IRS and U.S. Treasury officials at www.ntra.com/IRScomment. Nearly 2,000 comments originating from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have already been submitted via NTRA.com.



 To learn more about this issue, visit the Legislative section of NTRA.com at http://www.ntra.com/legislative


Thursday, May 07, 2015

Trio Of Pro Athletes Join ‘Jockeys & Jeans’ Honorary Committee

With the second annual Jockeys & Jeans event a little less than one month away, final preparations are underway, and three more celebrity athletes have added their names to the Honorary Committee to help support the event. Rik Smits, former NBA basketball player, Fred McGriff, former MLB baseball player and Denis Savard, Hall of Fame NHL player are now members of the Honorary Committee for Jockeys & Jeans set for Saturday, May 30 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The event will raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) during a full evening of activities that includes appearances by the three living Triple Crown winning jockeys, Ron Turcotte, Jean Cruguet and Steve Cauthen.

Smits, the former 7’4 center for the Indiana Pacers, played his entire career in Indiana from 1988-2000. The Dutch native has been very active with the Pacers organization in several philanthropic events in his retirement. Smits is now involved in motocross racing.

McGriff’s career in the Major Leagues was recorded with six teams from 1986-2004. The five time All Star completed his career with 493 home runs. McGriff currently works for the Tampa Bay Rays organization and is also involved in radio as a co-host of “The Baysball Show.”

Savard played in the National Hockey League from 1980-1997, playing a majority of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks. Following his retirement in 1997, his jersey, No. 18, was retired. Savard was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2000.

Smits, McGriff and Savard join an impressive list of Honorary Committee members that includes 13 other individuals lending their support to the event. Included on the list is Gary Player, professional golfer, Ty Murray, nine-time World Champion Bull Rider and seven time World Champion All Around Cowboy, Mari Hulman George, chairman of the board of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Dan Issel, Hall of Fame professional basketball player, John Ortiz, actor, Richard Papiese, owner of Midwest Thoroughbreds, Keith Hernandez, Major League baseball player, Mel Daniels, NBA Hall of Fame professional basketball player, Don Buse, professional basketball player, Darnel Hillman, professional basketball player, Bobby “Slick” Leonard, Hall of Fame basketball player and coach, Mike Borchetta, horse owner and former record promotions for labels such as Capitol Records, and Thoroughbred Trainer Dale Romans.

Several of the Honorary Committee Members have donated items for the live and silent auctions to be held during the event. Items available for the auction include a championship western saddle, a guitar autographed by Josh Turner, John Deere Gator, jacket signed by George Strait, basketball, Boston Celtics jersey and practice shorts signed by Larry Bird, Army college football jersey signed by Glenn Davis and Pete Dawkins, Heisman Award winners, and four tickets to the 2015 Brickyard 400. Items will also be available online through Jeff Boone & Associates Auctioneers, who are donating their services to the event.

In addition to the Honorary Committee Members, five organizations have stepped up as Gold Sponsors for the event, including Wrangler, John Deere, Walmart, Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA), and American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). More than 30 other sponsors have stepped up to show their support, including Jeff Boone, owner of Cowpokes Western Wear in Anderson, Ind. Boone and his company, Jeff Boone Auctions, will serve as the official auctioneer for the event.

Jockeys & Jeans is in its second year. The first event, held at Tampa Bay Downs, was formed by a group of former riders looking to make a difference in the sport for some of their fellow riders who experienced career ending injuries. The PDJF was formed in 2006 to assist such riders, and now provides financial support to 61 former jockeys. Members of the Jockeys and Jeans committee include Darrell and Maureen Brown, Gordie Grubin, Kitty and Mike Manganello, Barry and Benjamin Pearl, Barbara Jo Rubin and Rev. Eddie Donnally.

Jockeys & Jeans will raise both awareness and funding for the worthwhile organization with all proceeds going directly to PDJF.

Also assisting with Jockeys and Jeans will be more than a dozen Hall of Fame jockeys, who will be in attendance for the event. Heading the list of impressive legends includes Ron Turcotte, best known as the winner of the Triple Crown aboard Secretariat. Turcotte is serving as the Honorary Chairman of the 2015 event and will be joined by fellow Triple Crown winners Jean Cruguet (Seattle Slew, 1977) and Steve Cauthen (Affirmed, 1978). Other standout jockeys scheduled to appear include Pat Day, Laffit Pincay Jr., Patty Cooksey, Chris McCarron, Sandy Hawley, Randy Romero, Shane Sellers, Jorge Velasquez, Mike Manganello, Jack Kaenel, Earlie Fires, Dave Erb, Walter Blum, Bill Boland, Diane Crump, John Rotz, Barbara Jo Rubin, Mary Russ Tortora, Rev. Eddie Donnally, Darrell Brown and Barry Pearl. All riders will be available for a public meet and greet during Jockeys and Jeans, which gets underway at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 30.

Special guests of the evening include five former jockeys who experienced career ending injuries. They will join Turcotte, who was paralyzed in a racing accident in 1978, in support of PDJF and Jockeys and Jeans and include Jack Fires, Michael Straight, Anne Von Rosen, Tad Leggett and Stacy Burton.

Tickets are still available for Jockeys & Jeans. The event price is $50 per person and includes food, beverages and exclusive access to the event, which will be held in the Clubhouse Dining at Indiana Grand. Nationally known racing analyst and on-air personality Peter Lurie will serve as the emcee of the event.

To reserve a seat, call Indiana Grand during regular business hours (9 a.m. until 5 p.m.) at (317) 421-0000. The event will coincide with the live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing program during the evening that includes two stakes races, the $65,000 Indy Star Overnight Stakes and the $65,000 PDJF Overnight Stakes.


http://www.paulickreport.com/news/the-biz/trio-of-pro-athletes-join-jockeys-jeans-honorary-committee/


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Carlos Huerta Voted AQHA/Jockeys’ Guild Quarter Horse Jockey of the Month for April

Jockey Carlos Huerta kicked off the month of April with stakes wins on back to back evenings at Los Alamitos Racecourse and was named the AQHA/Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Month for April. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by Quarter Horse members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.

It was an impressive feat for Huerta who won both halves of the premiere Los Alamitos Derby events in a 24 hour period. On April 3rd he won the $205,200 La Primera Del Ano Derby (G3) aboard the filly Bac In Front for Trainer Jaime Gomez. The next evening he won the $175,100 El Primero Del Ano Derby (G3) for the boys when he piloted Forget It to victory once again for Gomez.

Carlos is currently the second leading rider at Los Alamitos Racecourse. Huerta grew up in Colima, Mexico, where his father was a rancher and his two brothers avid horsemen. Both brothers are now working as grooms at Los Alamitos alongside Carlos.

For the month Huerta sported an impressive win rate of thirty percent while banking $195,806 in earnings.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Kerwin Clark Named Jockey of the Week

Jockey Kerwin Clark captured Friday’s Kentucky Oaks aboard Lovely Maria continuing his impressive comeback story and was named the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for April 27 – May 3. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Clark was perfect for the week with one win in one mount and Lovely Maria earned $570,400.

At age 55, Clark is enjoying a career year in 2015, with $2,275,196 in mount earnings. This year, his handling of Lovely Maria in two Grade 1 stakes wins has been the highlight, but he has provided solid overall riding with 29 wins and 27 seconds in 188 mounts. Many of those mounts have been for trainer Larry Jones and his strong stable.

Nicknamed “Boo Boo” as a child by his grandfather, Clark began his career at Evangeline Downs in 1975. The native of Lafayette, Louisiana has enjoyed a solid journeyman career with more than 2,900 wins and $50 million in earnings.

JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, the Jockeys’ Guild, the Paulick Report, the Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

RACETRACK WARRIORS, JOCKEYS’ GUILD AND PDJF ENTERED INTO AGREEMENT FOR JOCKEY DRAFT GAME

Racetrack Warriors, by EQUUS INTERACTIVE, today announced an agreement with the Jockeys’ Guild and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) that will bring a new fantasy draft game to market called “Jockey Draft.”  The game is set to launch May 8, 2015.

 “Jockey Draft” is a daily fantasy league style game in which players select a lineup of jockeys, in a “salary cap” style draft, riding at various race tracks from around the country.  Each game is assigned a salary cap in which players must stay at or below when picking their eight (8) jockeys, who are assigned an individual salary.  Each jockey receives a score for their mount’s finishing position, and the collective score of each lineup in the game determines the winner.

 With the increasing popularity of daily fantasy sports, Racetrack Warriors’ “Jockey Draft” will highlight racing’s biggest and brightest stars while allowing fans to follow their favorite jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Jockeys’ Guild.

Jordan Olin, CIO of EQUUS INTERACTIVE, said “We are truly excited to be launching our new game, Jockey Draft in time for the Preakness Stakes.  It is the first of our properties to leverage our innovative Fantasy Gaming framework. Jockey Draft shines a new light on these incredible professional athletes and we believe we are paving the way for the future of the sport.  We look forward to using it to collaborate with the Jockeys’ Guild in order to benefit both the Guild and the PDJF.”

 Jockeys’ Guild National Manager, Terry Meyocks, said “We are thrilled to partner with EQUUS INTERACTIVE in this new venture.  I am sure racing fans across the country will enjoy playing and know that their participation benefits the PDJF as well as allow the Jockeys’ Guild to continue to provide necessary benefits for our members.”

 Executive director of the PDJF, Nancy LaSala, commented “The PDJF is very excited to be a partner in the launching of this new fantasy game. This is a great opportunity to raise funds for the PDJF.”  The PDJF does not have guaranteed funding and our ability to maintain the funding necessary to meet our recipient needs has always been a challenge.  We are hopeful that there will a tremendous amount of interest in this new game and that the players will know that their participation is helping the men and women served by the PDJF.”

 Fans are encouraged to visit http://www.jockeydraft.com for more information.

 About Race Track Warriors

Founded by horse players with an expertise in technology, EQUUS INTERACTIVE is devoted to the thrill of participating in online gaming and the ultimate user experience.  EQUUS INTERACTIVE provides multifaceted services to players through Race Track Warriors Fantasy Gaming experience and also race tracks seeking to deliver and market online contests to their customer bae, thereby leveraging the rich features of a fantasy gaming experience.  Jockey Draft is the newest Fantasy Game to join the Warriors platform. 

 About the Guild

Jockeys’ Guild, Inc., the organization representing professional jockeys in Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing in the United States, was founded in May 1940 and has approximately 1,270 members, including active, retired and disabled jockeys. The purpose is to protect jockeys, strive to achieve a safer racing environment, to obtain improved insurance and other benefits for members and to monitor developments in local, state and federal laws affecting the racing industry, and in particular, the jockeys. More information at www.jockeysguild.com and www.facebook.com/jockeysguild.

 About the PDJF

The PDJF a 501(c)(3) charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.  Founded in 2006, PDJF has disbursed more than $6 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries.  The fund is a cooperative effort among race tracks, jockeys, horsemen and enthusiasts. More information at www.pdjf.org

Monday, May 04, 2015

Antonio Gallardo Sets Record at Tampa Bay

For a couple of minutes late Saturday afternoon, Antonio Gallardo looked like the loneliest person at Tampa Bay Downs.

As the stewards debated whether to disqualify Gallardo and his mount, 5-year-old gelding Silver Halo, after a claim of foul by second-place finisher Jose Angel Garcia on Abu’s Dream, Gallardo stood alone against the outside rail, watching the replay over and over on the big screen in the infield.

When the stewards ruled that the contact between the horses had been incidental, Gallardo pounded the rail in exultation and thrust his arms skyward. The victory was No. 145 for the 2014-2015 meeting, a new single-season Oldsmar oval riding record.

On a day when American Pharoah justified his favorite’s role in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands; trainer Bob Baffert solidified his reputation as Master of the Thoroughbred Universe; and Victor Espinoza became the sixth jockey to win back-to-back Run for the Roses, Gallardo again stole the spotlight before a festive crowd of 10,379.

The two Tampa Bay Derby runners to contest the Kentucky Derby, Oldsmar winner Carpe Diem and fourth-place finisher Danzig Moon, finished 10th and fifth, respectively.

Back home, the first person to congratulate Gallardo with an embrace was fellow rider Daniel Centeno, the five-time track riding champion who rode 144 winners during the 2007-2008 meeting.

“I was very happy about that, because he’s taught me a lot. He’s my friend, and he is very professional,” the 27-year-old Gallardo said afterward. “And he knows I have learned a lot from talking to him and watching him, so I think he was happy for me.”

With the current season’s title clinched weeks ago and back-to-back titles last year at Tampa Bay Downs and Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania under his belt, Gallardo has won three consecutive meeting titles. He will go for four in a row at Presque Isle.

Gallardo’s record-breaking triumph on the Blackacre Farms-owned Florida-bred Silver Halo came for another friend and mentor, trainer Kathleen O’Connell, who saddled three winners today. O’Connell stuck by the Spaniard after he went 73-for-755 in 2011-2012, and she legged him up on three of his four stakes victories at Calder in Miami on an August day in 2013, a feat Gallardo considers a turning point in his career.

“I wanted to break the record for everybody I rode for today, but to break it for ‘K.O.’ (O’Connell) was very emotional for me,” Gallardo said. “When I was down on the floor, she helped me a lot. And my agent, Mike Moran, has worked hard to help me get here.

“It’s very important to me,” he added. “There are not too many jockeys from Spain riding here, and I’ve got records now here and at Calder, so it feels great.”

O’Connell, who also used Gallardo when she earned her 1,500th career victory here two years ago with This One’s for Mel, was visibly emotional after the winner’s-circle presentation.

“I was praying (during the inquiry), I really was,” she said. “Antonio has been such a big part of the team for us, and he’s a helluva person and a helluva rider.

“He’s relentless in his work ethic. I don’t care if there is one horse to breeze, he comes out for whoever’s horse it is,” O’Connell said. “I don’t think he ever had a day off at Presque Isle last year while I was there. He was there every morning, even on dark days and non-racing days.

“He is very astute at studying horses and films, and he is just a wonderful person to work with,” she added. “He has always had the skill, but in this business, horses make the jockeys and horses make the trainers. When we were lucky enough to win a few races here a couple of years ago, people started noticing him.

“I am glad to be a part of this record-breaking performance. One day, he won’t be here on Derby Day,” O’Connell said. “He’ll be in Kentucky.”

Gallardo, who is named to ride the entire 10-race card Sunday, broke alertly on Silver Halo in the mile-and-a-sixteenth event, kept him inside and repulsed a stretch-long challenge from Abu’s Dream to reach the winner’s circle. “I always try to give everything I have, and my horse fought back when that other horse came to him and never quit,” Gallardo said.

O’Connell also won the second race with 3-year-old colt Ore and the seventh race with 4-year-old colt Early Entry.

Luis Figueroa, a 19-year-old jockey from Puerto Rico, extended his lead to 14-12 from Janelle Campbell in the battle for leading apprentice at the meeting by winning on Florida-bred Ore, who is owned by his breeders, Mary and T. Wynn Jolley.

Early Entry is owned by Tommy Roberts Racing Stable and was ridden by Ronnie Allen, Jr. The four-time track champion also won the eighth race on the turf on 5-year-old gelding Gray Beau for owner Elaine Vinson and trainer John Vinson.

Also today, jockey Keiber Coa returned to action six weeks after breaking his left collarbone in a spill, riding four races on the card. The son of retired great Eibar Coa finished second in the fourth race on Vivacious Annie and third in the third on He’s a Miracle.

“It felt great to be back, but I’m really exhausted,” Coa said after riding in the 10th and final race. “Riding back-to-back races twice made it even harder, but I know the only way to get really fit again is to ride races.”

Coa will head to Delaware Park after Sunday’s card. “I healed up pretty quick, and surgery to insert two plates in my shoulder helped me get to today. This is what I needed starting back, and hopefully (Sunday) I’ll feel even better,” he said.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Fans Can Vote for Mike Venezia Award Recipient

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) will provide racing fans with the opportunity to vote for the Mike Venezia Memorial Award online through Friday, May 15 at nyra.com.

 

Established in 1989, the Mike Venezia Memorial Award is awarded to jockeys who exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship. It is named in honor of Mike Venezia, who died as a result of injuries he suffered in a spill in 1988 at Belmont Park.


Representatives from the Jockey's Guild and the New York Racing Association have nominated four outstanding individuals to be considered for this year's award. Each is an accomplished athlete respected for their efforts on the track and in their respective communities.


Fans will be able to choose among:

  • Javier Castellano,
  • Cornelio Velasquez,
  • Jon Court and
  • Joe Bravo

The winner will be announced and presented with the award on Big Apple Showcase Day at Belmont Park, Monday May 25.   

 

PDJF

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