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Friday, November 21, 2008

New Jersey Riders receive increase in mount fees

The new losing mount fee has been raised to $100.  Previously, losing mount fees ranged from $50 on the low end to $80 on the upper end of the purse scale.
The Guild sought the designation as representative of the riders to allow the formation of an insurance trust, the New Jersy Jockeys Health and Welfare Trust.   Its trustees will include three active New Jersey riders, Joe Bravo, Chris DeCarlo, and C.C. Lopez, as well as Dennis Drazin, president of the NJTHA, Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys' Guild and Dr. Angelo Chinicci, medical director for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.
The trust will complete its organizational formalities in the next week and is planning to report to the Commission before its December 3, 2008 meeting on the plan of benefits that will be adopted, the eligibility requirements for participation in these benefits and the payments riders will need to make to participate in the insurance program.
Dennis Drazin, President of the NJTHA stated: "The NJTHA on behalf of all New Jersey horsemen sincerely appreciate the efforts of the New Jersey jockey colony.  Not only are we proud of their contribution to New Jersey racing but we are especially proud of an opportunity to work with them and Dr. Angelo Chinnici to move forward in an attempt to bring health insurance to New Jersey jockeys and their families."
"It is a particularly good time for the Guild with the emergence from Chapter 11, the success in raising the losing mount fees to $100 and the designation of the Guild as the representative for New Jersey jockeys, said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys' Guild.  "I want to thank the New Jersey Racing Commissioners as well as Frank Zanzuccki for supporting these measures and Dennis Drazin for his help supporting the trust and participating as a trustee.  Once again it is clear that the industry can accomplish more by cooperation than being adversaries."
The raise in losing mount fees follows increases through legislation in California last fall and negotiated increases this year at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Finger Lakes, Calder, Fairmount Park, Hawthorne and Arlington Park.  Additionally, jockeys at Philadelphia Park and Penn National also received an increase.
"We appreciate the cooperation of the horsemen, racing commissions and track managements that have finalized agreements with us," Meyocks said.  "In many states, the jockeys have not received a meaningful increase in decades.  We are currently negotiating with representatives of a number of other jurisdictions to reach similar agreements."  The Jockeys Guild 
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

George Woolf Finalists Announced

The Woolf Award has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950 and is regarded as one of the most prestigious honors in all of racing.  It honors and recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.  The winner's trophy is a replica of the full-size statue of George Woolf which adorns Santa Anita's Paddock Gardens area.  The statue was created through donations from the racing public after Woolf's death following a spill at Santa Anita on January 13, 1946.  Woolf, who was regarded as one of the nation's top big-money jockeys, was affectionately known as "The Iceman," and was revered by his colleagues as a fierce competitor and consumate professional.
A long-time fixture in the Pacific Northwest, Baze is an iconic figure in his native Washinton.  At age 53, he has won 3,420 races, including a record five tallies in the prestigious Gr. III Longacres Mile.  A first cousin of North America's leading jockey Russell Baze, Gary began his career as an apprentice at the defunct Playfair Race Course in Spokane in 1972, and he went on to become Washington's all-time leading rider.  A regular once again this past season at Emerald Downs near Seattle, Baze finished fourth at the track that succeeded Longacres.
Like so many top Cajun riders before him, Calvin Borel began riding in match races in his native Louisiana long before he was old enough to compete at recognized race tracks.  From "matching" at the age of eight, to winning the 2007 Kentucky Derby aboard Street Sense at 40, Borel's career has been punctuated by hard work and a no-nonsense approach to the sport's daily rigors.  Now 42, Borel has become an iconic figure on the Kentucky-Arkansas-Louisiana circuit and has won riding titles throughout the region.  As he demonstrated during his Triple Crown-run with Street Sense, Borel has a penchant for hugging the rail en route to heart-pounding victories and has thus earned the moniker "Bo-Rail."  He recorded his 3,000th and 4,000th career wins at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas and through October 31, 2008, his win total stands at 4,535.
A native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, 31-year-old Javier Castellano is the son of a former jockey who began riding full-time in 1996.  He moved to America in 1997, where he began competing full-time on the South Florida circuit.  Castellano was thurst into natioanl prominence when victorious aboard Ghostzapper in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park.  He was back in the national spotlight in 2006, when he won the Preakness Stakes aboard Bernardini.  The race was marred by the breakdown of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.  Castellano's career win total through the month of October is 2,265.
Long regarded as one of Southern California's top jockeys, David Flores broke his maiden south of the border in his native Mexico at Agua Caliente racetrack in Tijuana on March 5, 1984.  Known for his level temperment and cool under fire, his career breakthrough came in 1991 when victorious aboard the Bobby Frankel-conditioned Marquetry in the Gr. I Hollywood Gold Cup, which would prove to be the first of ten $1 million stakes wins.  Now 40 years of age, he has won three Breeders' Cup races, the 2001 Juvenile Fillies aboard Tempera, the 2003 Juvenile on Action This Day, and the 2004 Mile on Singletary.  A winner of 3,183 races through October 31, Flores is involved in many charitable events and hosts his own golf tournament each summer at Del Mar.  At his direction, proceeds from the tournament benefit the "Orphans of Tijuana."
In what would prove to be a fortuitous career move, John Velazquez, under the guidence of Hall of Famer and fellow Puerto Rican jockey Angel Cordero, Jr., moved to New York from Puerto Rico in March of 1990.  Velazquez would go on to amass 24 riding titles in New York and was voted the nation's Eclipse Award winning jockey in 2004 and 2005.  He won the Bill Shoemaker Award for top Breeders' Cup performance by a jockey in 2004, as he won the Distaff with Ashado and the Sprint with Speightstown.  He won his first Triple Crown race with the filly Rags to Riches in the 2007 Belmont Stakes.  At age 36, he notched his 4,000th career win this past September 28 at Belmont Park.  His career win total through the month of October is 4,017.  "Johnny V." has long been regarded as a leader among his peers and he commands the respect of jockeys nationwide.
The Woolf Award is traditionally presented in late March or early April. Santa Anita Park Communications Department
Monday, November 17, 2008

NY Jockeys joining NY Jocks on All Star Muscle Team

Norberto Arroyo, Jr., a Muscle Team 2009 alumnus, will represent the NYRA Jockey colony at Monday's kickoff and both Prado and Arroyo are scheduled to be on hand for the main event on Tuesday, January 6, 2009.  Along with the rest of Muscle Team 2009, they will be featured in newspaper ads, billboards and platform ads on all regional subway and railroad lines.  Additionally, both Muscle Team events get extensive media coverage.
This marks the third year that New York Jockeys have participated in the MDA Muscle Team.  Chantal Sutherland, John Velazquez and retired riding legend Angel Cordero, Jr. have lent their time and efforts to past MDA Muscle Teams.
For more information concerning MDA's Muscle Team, please visit     NYRA Communications Department
Monday, November 17, 2008

Team USA Beat Team World in Inaugural Rider Cup

The five-race series, which awarded points to team representatives for their respective placings in each race, came down to the final leg.  Team USA had an 8-6-1/2 advantage, but Team World, which showcased jockeys born outside the United States, had Ramon Dominguez aboard 4-5 favorite Game Face in race 8.  With three points awarded for a win, Calvin Borel aboard 6-1 fourth choice Miss Isella had to secure two points for second to secure the victory for Team USA.
Game Face edged Miss Isella by a head and Team USA prevailed.
"I knew I had to run to get it for the team," Borel said.  "Heck, she ran so good I almost won the race.  She ran a heck of a race, she's a real runner.  I knew we had to run second if (Game Face) won to hang on.  We did it and got lucky.  It was a lot of fun."
"Those guys actually thought they were going to beat us," said Robby Albarado, who earned five points for Team USA with a win aboard O'Sotopretty in Race 4 (the first leg in the series) and a runner-up effort on Orangspangledgator in Race 7.  "We had a lot of fun; we should do this again."
One mount for each race was selected by celebrity team captains.  Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day represented Team USA and Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero, Jr. captained Team World.  No jockey could be chosen more than twice in the series.
Points were awarded on a 3-2-1 scale for first, second and third place finishes in each race.  If neither jockey hit the board, the rider with the best finish was awarded a half point.
Team USA had the most points at the conclusion of Race 8, was crowned the winner and $10,000 donation will made to charities of the winning team's choice.  The charities of the Team World will receive a $5,000 donation.
"I can't say enough about the jobs the jockeys had done and Churchill Downs for stepping forward and making these donations available to our charities," Day said.  "It's been a great day.  Thank you Churchill Downs, for hosting this event and to all the riders who participated.  Angel and I had a great deal of fun.  We're all greatly appreciative of the effort.
"We'll get together with the riders and see where they want the money to go.  They're the ones out here working on this miserable day (rainy and 39 degress)." Churchill Downs Communications Department
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Making a quick move.

Many people mispronounced Leparoux's name, and even if the shy young man wanted to correct them, he spoke only minimal English.  The next spring, Leparoux (and it's LE-par-OO) captured the Churchill riding title while rolling to the Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice.
The 25-year-old Frenchman again heads the Churchill jockey standings after the first 10 days, with a 24-19 win margin over spring titlist Robby Albarado.  That puts him on pace to break Pat Day's fall meet record of 55 wins set during the 30-day session in 1985.
Leparoux has answered those who wondered what would happen once he lost his apprentice weight allowances -- and when high-profile trainer Patrick Biancone wasn't there to put him on a slew of stakes horses.  (Biancone, a fellow Frenchman, was given a one-year suspension for having a banned substance in his barn.)
"A lot of talented people in this business don't get those opportunities," said meet-leading trainer Mike Maker, who began using Leparoux his first winter at Turfway Park. "It's what you make of it when you do have that opportunity, and Julien did.  You can say, 'Well, he was riding at Turfway in the wintertime for the best people when he started out.'  Then, when he took his success to Churchill and Keeneland, say, 'Oh well, that's because he's a bug rider.'  But he's just a good jockey."
In only three years, Leparoux has won two Breeders' Cup races, including the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf last month aboard Forever Together, and this spring was runner-up in the Preakness (Macho Again) and third in the Belmont (Anak Nakal).  He has eight Grade I victories and three riding titles apiece at Turfway, Keeneland and Churchill.
"I didn't know what to expect when I started," said Leparoux, who came to the United States in 2003 to work as a groom and exercise rider for Biancone.  "My goal was if I could win 50 races, I'd be happy every year."
Leparoux should be very happy after winning 862 races and almost $35 million in purses, and his English has become so fluent that his sense of humor and wit come through.
"I've always said it takes a rider five or six years to really come to themselves, to really get rolling," said his agent former jockey Steve Bass.  "It's very rare you see a jock in three years accomplish as much as Julien."
He ranks No. 11 in the country at $10.6 million in purse earnings in a year that started devoid of victories.
Leparoux and Bass headed to Santa Anita for thr first time last winter, shortly after Biancone's suspension.  After winning only two of 29 races, they moved to the Fair Grounds in midmeet before lackluster meets at Keeneland and Churchill.
Bass said the turning point was in the late summer at Saratoga, where Leparoux on the first weekend won the Grade I Diana and Grade II Jim Dandy.
"We really started to do good in the summer," Leparoux said.  "Before that (for) six, seven months...we didn't struggle, but it was not like usual."
"I was kind of expecting it, anyway.  You leave a trainer with 80 have a time you need to work on it."
Trainer David Carroll, who teamed with Leparoux to win Saturday's Mrs. Revere with Acoma, said Leparoux's slump might have been "one of the best things to ever happen to him."
Carroll predicts there's much more to come.
"We haven't seen the best of him yet by any stretch of the imagination," he said.  "But he's cool and calm and has all the tools.  He's just going to get stronger." Jennie Rees/Louisville Courier-Journal
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leparoux Jockey of the Week

Leparoux matched the Churchill mark held by Racing Hall of Fame member Pat Day with seven wins on Tuesday.  After guiding his first seven mounts to victory, Leparoux failed to break Day's record with two subsequent mounts.
"To win seven is a bit surprising," Leparoux said.  "Pat Day is the only one who has done it here.  I had won five races a few times and six in one day last year, but seven is the best."
A 25-year-old native of Senlis, France, Leparoux earned six wins at Churchill on June 27, 2007.  He leads the rider standings at the Louisville track with 31 victories through Tuesday.
Leparoux earned his most lucrative victory during the previous week by guiding Acoma to victory in the $175,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes (GII) on November 8 at Churchill.  He rode Forever Together to victory in the $1,951,080 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (GI) on October 24 at the Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita Park.
Leparoux's father, Robert, is a former jockey who began training horses after his riding career concluded.  The younger Leparoux grew up around racing in Chantilly, France, and rode competitive hunters/jumpers until his father allowed him to begin his racing career at age 18.
Leparoux moved to Southern California in 2003 to work as an exercise rider for trainer Patrick Biacone and later became the first-call rider for Biancone's stable.  He began his North American riding career in '05 at Saratoga Race Course and earned an Eclipse Award as North America's outstanding apprentice in '06.  Thoroughbred Times TODAY 
Monday, November 10, 2008

Pay Raise for Queensland, Australia Jockeys

The increase follows a submission from the QJA based on the increasing costs incurred by jockeys to conduct their trade along with the sharp rise in travelling expenses due to fuel cost increases.
The increase has been backdated to September 1 with a fee of $140 per ride to apply in the first year.
In year 2 from September 1, 2009, the riding feee will increase by the Consumer Price Index based on the June to June CPI.
QRL will continue to contribute towards the riding fee at a cost of more than $6 million per annum.
QRL also agreed to increase the barrier trial riding fee from $27.50 per ride to $35 per ride effective from December 1, 2008.
An increase in CPI in line with the increase in the jockey riding fee will also apply from September 1, 2009.  Racing Sports November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008

Julien Leparoux Jockey of the Week

Leparoux's mounts this season have earned $10,296,011 through November 4, which ranks 11th among North American-based riders.
A native of France, Leparoux guided Forever Together to a victory in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (GI) on October 24 at the Oak Tree Meeting at Santa Anita Park.  He also won the American Oaks Invitational Stakes (GI) aboard Pure Clan on July 5 at Hollywood Park.
The Eclipse Award winner as outstanding apprentice in 2006, Leparoux led all jockeys that year with 403 victories and set a record for an apprentice with $12,491,316 in purse earnings.  He has won riding titles at Turfway Park, Churchill Downs, and Keeneland Race Course.  Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Tuesday, November 04, 2008

NYRA Begins Two Significant Initiatives for Jockey Safety

Conceived by Keeneland last spring, and created in collaboration with InCompass, The Jockey Club Technology Services, Inc., the Jockeys' Guild, and Keeneland, the Jockey Health Information System is a secure online database that stores jockeys' updated medical histories and makes it possible for emergency medical personnel at racetracks to instantly access that information in the event of injury.
Following the successful launch of the Jockey Health Information System at the recently concluded Keeneland Fall meeting, the New York Racing Association is adopting the new system.
In addition, starting with the October 29 opening of the Aqueduct Fall meeting, NYRA instituted a Jockey Medical Advocate Program, designed to assist jockeys taken to area hospitals after an accident.  Under the program, a Registered Nurse serving as Jockey Medical Advocate will be on-call during all NYRA races.  In the case of injury, the Jockey Medical Advocate will meet the injured rider at the hospital to ensure the he or she is well cared for, and assist both jockey and family members with medical and administrative matters.
"NYRA is committed to the health and welfare of these athletes, and these two important new programs demonstrate that support,"  said David Smukler, NYRA Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations.  "We very much appreciate the leadership of The Jockey Club and Keeneland in developing the Jockey Health Information System and we are proud that, along with our Jockey Medical Advocate Program, we've taken significant steps forward in supporting the health and welfare of these jockeys."
Additonal information about the Jockey Health Information System is available by visiting the "Safety Initiatives" section of The Jockey Club website (
NYRA Communications Department


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