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Friday, April 24, 2015

CASTELLANO REGISTERS FIRST KEENELAND LEADING RIDER TITLE

Javier Castellano has ridden more than 4,060 winners and the earners of more than $220.6 million, received the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding jockey in 2013 and 2014 and has four Breeders’ Cup victories to his name. He is the year’s leading rider by wins and earnings. He now has added another notch to his impressive resume.

Castellano has clinched his first Keeneland leading rider title, visiting the Winner’s Circle 20 times through the first 14 days of the 15-day Keeneland season. He has won four graded stakes – Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), Jenny Wiley (G1), Ben Ali (G3) and Transylvania (G3) Presented Keeneland Select – and has five three-win days during the Spring Meet.

“I’m very blessed,” Castellano said. “The Keeneland meet is very prestigious and I’m very lucky to ride good horses and have a lot of support from Mr. (Ken) Ramsey and a lot of owners, and top trainers Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown and Shug McGaughey, Mike Maker and everyone. I’ve been on a lot of good horses. I’ve been very lucky and fortunate.”

On Friday, Castellano will ride Hellenistic in the Bewitch (G3). With a win, he will equal Jerry Bailey’s Keeneland meet record of five graded stakes wins set during the 2005 Spring Meet.

“It’s a great achievement to be mentioned with that level of jockey like Jerry Bailey,” Castellano said. “That keeps me going and motivated to win races and be competitive.”

The native of Venezuela has had success at Keeneland with 124 career wins here, including 26 stakes victories, through April 24. His first mount at the track resulted in a victory when Proper Gamble won the 2002 Stonerside Beaumont (G2). Castellano said claiming his first leading rider title caught him a bit off guard.

“You don’t think about (the wins) in the moment, you just go with the flow,” Castellano said of his success at the Spring Meet. “The more you win, the more you want to win more races. It’s momentum. You try to focus on each race and do the best you can for each horse, and at the end of the day you realize you’ve had a good (meet).”

Castellano has ranked in the top three in North America in earnings each of the past four years and in wins each of the past three. His Breeders’ Cup victories are the 2004 Classic (G1) on Ghostzapper, 2012 Filly and Mare Turf (G1) on Zagora (FR), 2013 Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Ria Antonia and the 2014 Filly and Mare Turf (G1) on Dayatthespa  He also won the 2006 Preakness (G1) on Bernardini.

“I’ve been very lucky and got to ride a lot of cool horses,” Castellano said. “I’m very fortunate to be in this position.” Keeneland Communications Department

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cornelio Velasquez Named Jockey of the Week

By all accounts Cornelio Velasquez had quite a week to remember yet he continued to add accolades when he was named the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Award on Monday. Most would say that earnings of over one million dollars and two stakes wins would be enough, but our panel of distinguished voters at JockeyTalk360 thought he was deserving of one more win this week.

When top notch Shared Belief was eased midway during the running of the Charles Town Classic, (Gr. II) on Saturday Velasquez took advantage aboard last years third place finisher Moreno. He initially broke for the lead from post six in the three-turn race, but quickly gave it up to the speedy Warrioroftheroses, who fired out from the outside post nine. Velasquez gave Moreno the cue as the field headed down the backstretch, and the 5-year-old Ghostzapper gelding took control passing the six-furlong mark with the lead.

Trainer Eric Guillot said of Moreno and Cornelio’s ride “He’s a speed horse and this track has three turns, a short stretch. He didn’t know where the wire was. I told (Velasquez) you have to stay busy on him, and he did exactly what I said. He listened to instructions and knew the logistics of the race perfectly.”

Velasquez and Moreno not only won the Charles Town Classic, but did it in impressive fashion by setting the course record at 1:48.81.

Earlier in the Saturday Charles Town card Velasquez drew off to win easily by 4 ½ lengths aboard Control Stake to win the $100,000 Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes. He nicely rated the 3-year-old Discreetly Mine colt and booted clear when asked to win the 7 furlong listed event in hand.

For the week Velasquez brought in a staggering $ 1,024,785 in purse earnings with an overall record for the week of four wins, three seconds and three third place finishes from 24 mounts.

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.
Monday, April 20, 2015

DERBY DAY SILENT AUCTION FUNDRAISER TO SUPPORT PERMANENTLY DISABLED JOCKEYS FUND

A consortium of racing organizations has announced a Derby Day fundraising campaign to be held on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 25 tracks and racing venues across the U.S. to raise funds for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).

 

Each participating track will hold a silent auction of framed, autographed photographs of California Chrome (signed by jockey Victor Espinoza), Secretariat (signed by owner Penny Chenery), Wise Dan (signed by jockey John Velazquez), and Zenyatta (signed by jockey Mike Smith).

 

Proceeds from the collaborative effort by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA), PDJF, JockeyTalk360, and the Jockeys’ Guild will provide aid for permanently disabled jockeys’ health care and living expenses.

 

            TRA-member tracks participating include: Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Delaware Park, Finger Lakes, Gulfstream Park, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Parx Racing, Pimlico, Portland Meadows, Prairie Meadows, Remington Park, Sam Houston Race Park, Santa Anita Park, Tampa Bay Downs, and Turfway Park. Finger Lakes will be conducting their auction on their opening day, Friday, May 1.

 

            Non-TRA facilities participating are Les Bois Park, Ruidoso Downs, and the Casper and Evanston OTBs in Wyoming.

 

            Individuals and others who wish to contribute to the fundraising effort for disabled jockeys may do so by sending checks payable to: PDJF, P.O. Box 803, Elmhurst, IL 60126 or visit its website at www.pdjf.org.  PDJF is a 501(c)(3) public charity providing financial assistance to 60 former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries. Since its founding in 2006, the fund has disbursed over $5 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries.

 

            For more information about the fundraiser, contact Jane Murray at the TRA, (410) 392-9200, ext. 222 or jmurray@tra-online.com.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Golden Gate Fields Incident A Career-Ending One For Jockey Dennis Carr

Jockey Dennis Carr underwent head trauma surgery at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., Sunday night after being seriously injured in a starting gate accident in the fifth race at Golden Gate Fields. His mother, Joan Carr, said his riding career is over.

“He was in surgery all night – for six or seven hours,” the 46-year-old jockey’s mother told the Paulick Report. “Doctors found brain bleed. He has a severe head injury, and they had to remove a portion of his skull.

“He made it through the surgery,” she added, “but his racing career is over. He’ll never ride again.”

Carr said her son was conscious after the surgery. “The nurse said he wakes up and knows what happened and knows where he is,” she said.


According to Daily Racing Form, Carr struck the back of his head when unseated in the starting gate while aboard the 3-year-old gelding Sharpton in a maiden claiming race.

Carr is fourth in the current Golden Gate standings, with 43 wins from 219 mounts. He’s been based at the Northern California track since 2012 after moving west from Finger Lakes in New York. He rode the Northern California circuit on two prior occasions, from 1995-2002 and 2004-07.

Carr began his career in 1986, riding his first winner, Crobosity, at Aqueduct on Jan. 25, 1987. His biggest win came at Belmont Park in 1989 when he rode Loblolly Stable’s De Roche to victory in the Grade 1 Jerome.

During his career, Carr recorded 2,905 wins from 19,666 mounts that had total earnings of $56,070,111.

In 2013, Carr was featured in a Paulick Report video produced by editor-in-chief Scott Jagow for the Breeders’ Cup or Bust fundraiser for the Permanently Disabled Fund.


http://www.paulickreport.com/news/thoroughbred-racing/golden-gate-fields-incident-a-career-ending-one-for-jockey-dennis-carr/


Monday, April 20, 2015

STEINER RIDES 1000th CAREER WINNERAT EMERALD DOWNS

Jockey Joe Steiner rode his 1,000th career winner Sunday afternoon at Emerald Downs.

Steiner, 50, notched the milestone on his first mount of the season, riding long shot Gold Boom ($24.80) to a 2 ¾-length victory in the day’s second race for owner/trainer Arturo Arboleda.

“Honestly, I thought that my best chance was to get it on Boss Lori in the (third) race, but this horse pulled through for me,” said Steiner, a Renton native back home after several years in Southern California.

Coincidentally, Arboleda celebrated his 91st birthday Sunday. A former boxer, Arboleda and Don Munger are the track’s two nonagenarian trainers this season.

Steiner, who learned the ropes under the tutelage of legendary Hall of Fame jockey Johnny Longden, began his riding career in the 1980s. While most of Steiner’s wins have come in Southern California, he occasionally rides in his home state and was pleased his family could witness No. 1,000 Sunday.

“I’ve ridden at 52 tracks in my career,” Steiner said. “I didn’t think it was that many until I actually counted it. With family here, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to get this win.”

The Steiner family is a mainstay at Emerald Downs; Joe’s parents, Joe and Sally, operate the Quarter Chute Café in the stable area, and jockey Joe plans to ride the 70-day meet here.

Gold Boom, like Steiner, was returning to Emerald Downs after stints up and down the coast. An 8-year-old Virginia-bred mare, Gold Boom debuted at Emerald Downs with a second-place finish September 16, 2011, her 10 subsequent starts were at Golden Gate Fields, Pleasanton, Turf Paradise and Portland Meadows.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Castellanto Named Jockey of the Week

Veteran rider Javier Castellano has been voted as the winner of The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Award. Castellano, who was the Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey in 2013 and 2014, had a very productive weekend. He pulled off a Grade I “double” with scores in both the Friday and Saturday features at Keeneland Racecourse.

He took top honors aboard the Todd Pletcher trained Jack Milton in the Grade I Makers 46 Mile on Friday. He then topped that day by winning the Grade III Ben Ali Stakes on the under card on Saturday before notching another Grade I win when he and Ball Dancing won the Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes later in the day.

Jack Milton, the beaten favorite in his seasonal debut at Gulfstream Park in February relished the soft going when passing all six of his opponents in less than a quarter of a mile. “I really like the way it set up today,” said Castellano.

Ball Dancing, who began her career in France and has excelled since coming to the U.S. last fall, made short work of her five rivals in the stretch of the $300,00 Jenny Wiley on Sunday with Castellano guiding her out of some early  traffic troubles entering the first turn. There were no worries late as she surged to take command coming into the stretch and steadily drew clear to win.

“She’s kind of a European horse – you need to cover up a little bit and save something for the end,” said jockey Javier Castellano. “It really worked out beautiful.”

She improved her record to two wins and two seconds in four starts in the U.S. The 4-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate is trained by Chad Brown for owners William Farish and F. Steve Mooney.

Castellano had an extremely solid week overall with nine wins, three seconds, and two thirds from 33 starts and weekly earnings of $676,311.

Monday, April 13, 2015

‘GREAT HONOR’ FOR LUZZI TO WIN WOOLF AWARD

Mike Luzzi was basking in the sunshine of another glorious morning at Santa Anita Saturday, 30 hours before he was to enjoy a more significant moment in the sun, acceptance of Santa Anita’s George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award after tomorrow’s sixth race.

          “It’s a great honor,” said Luzzi (as in fuzzy), who was accompanied by his son, Lane as he greeted old friends and well wishers. “My grandfather (Virgil “Buddy” Raines) was a trainer and was friendly with George Woolf, so the award means a little extra to my Mom.

          “Raines was a regular at Delaware Park and that’s where I grew up, right outside the gate there (in Stanton). My grandfather and George Woolf were close. I actually have some souvenirs from that time, the last program on the day he was killed, so this means more to me than it might to someone else, because I heard about George Woolf from Pops.”

Sidelined because of a broken leg and a fractured pelvis sustained in a paddock accident last Nov. 2 at Aqueduct, Luzzi, winner of 3,420 career races, has undergone reconstructive surgery and hopes to resume riding at some point this year.

Presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950, the Woolf Award is one of the most coveted honors in racing, as it recognizes riders whose careers and personal character have earned esteem for both the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Jockey Stewart Elliott Elected to Canadian Hall of Fame

Toronto-born, second generation jockey Stewart Elliott will be inducted in the Jockey Category. 

In 2004, Stewart made headlines around the world when he became the first jockey in 25 years to win the Kentucky Derby in his first appearance when he rode Smarty Jones.  The pair followed up with a dominating win in the Preakness, only to be beaten a length by Birdstone in the Belmont.

During a career consisting of over 29,000 starts, horses ridden by Elliott horses amassed earnings in excess of $93 million with wins in 4,650 races.  In 2010 he was named the winner of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award.  Steward Elliot currently stands 36th on the all-time list for career wins, and 5th on the all-time win list amongst Canadian-born riders.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Kerwin Clark Named Jockey of the Week

Kerwin Clark, winner of the Grade I Ashland Stakes on Saturday, has been voted as the winner of The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Award. The voting members of the weekly honor seemed to be in unison when casting ballots this week, thinking that it’s not just a numbers game. It isn’t always how many wins, but in this instance at least, how big of a win.

It couldn’t have been a bigger win for Clark, who finally scored his first Grade I victory with a win in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland Racecourse. Clark had the call for the Larry Jones trained Lovely Maria on Saturday and she delivered that elusive win in style in front of a packed house on opening weekend at the iconic Lexington venue.

Clark described his victory by saying, “It was a great trip. I thought I’d be more forwardly placed, maybe even on the lead. She’s a nice filly just coming into her own and you can pretty much put her wherever you want her to be. She relaxed nice. Down the backside she’s laying third and her ears are flicking back and forth, and I thought ‘Boy, this is pretty good.’ When I called on her she just accelerated.”

The Brereton Jones’ owned Lovely Maria chose the right date to put in the best race of her career, tracking the early pace and surging in the stretch to win the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths for her first stakes victory. It’s surely a date that the long-time jockey won’t quickly forget.

The 55-year-old Clark, nicknamed “Boo Boo” by his grandfather, is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana and began his career at Evangeline in 1975. In that year, he recorded 13 wins, 22 seconds, and 15 thirds in 165 mounts. In 1977, he switched his tack to the Nebraska circuit. He captured his first black-type stakes win aboard Spark D’or in the Columbus Futurity in 1977. In 1989, Clark scored one of the biggest wins of his professional career as he guided the Harvey Vanier trained Western Playboy to a convincing 17-length victory in the Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park. Clark also rode multiple stakes winner Dispersal and more recently scored in the Grade III Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth last summer aboard Albano, also owned by Jones.

It was a feel good win for many who follow the sport as fans but it may mean even more to his fellow competitors on the racetrack who immediately tweeted out their congrats following the win. Track announcer Kurt Becker also noted the milestone win during the final furlong of his call of the Ashland.

For the week, Clark finished with one win and one second from just three starts for earnings of $312,387.

PDJF

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