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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glenn Boss warns of greater risk for jockeys

Triple Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss said there was a greater risk of injury if jockeys rode with their feet in the irons.

Boss said there was high chance a jockey could get a foot caught if he fell and be dragged.

Riders were likely to break free if they fell when riding with only their toes in the irons, he added.

Former champion jockey Pat Hyland said in yesterday's Herald Sun that hoops were inviting trouble by riding with only their toes in the irons.

High-profile jockeys Damien Oliver, Danny Nikolic, Craig Williams and Darren Gauci agreed apprentices should ride with their feet in the irons and required education.

Australian Jockeys' Association chairman Ross Inglis said the issue had been discussed at state and national level.

Inglis said the prevailing view among senior jockeys was that apprentices needed to be educated to ride with their full foot, or at least the ball of the foot, in the irons.

"Young riders should learn how to ride in a race correctly and gain some experience before they start riding with the edge of their toes in the iron," Nikolic said.

"The only reason I ride with my toe in the iron is that I get better balance.

"There is an upside riding with your toes in the iron if you can master it. You can spread your weight a lot more evenly.

"The downside is if you cop a decent bump, like Pat pointed out, or if a horse knuckles, your foot comes out and there is not a lot to play with."

Oliver said it was imperative apprentices gain experience riding with feet in the irons before they started emulating the styles of top jockeys.

He was comfortable and confident riding with his toes in the irons, a practice he had employed for the past 10 years.

Gauci, who rides with the balls of his feet in the irons, said the issue was a matter of personal preference.

"I feel riding with the ball of my foot in the iron, it keeps my weight more forward. I feel more comfortable and lighter on the horse," he said.

Williams said the width of the base of the stirrup had increased dramatically since Hyland rode.

But he agreed with Hyland that apprentices needed to be taught the safest possible practices.

"Everyone will then develop their style from there and whether that's with their toe, the balls of their feet or their feet in the iron is a totally a personal preference," Williams said.

"I ride with the ball of my feet. The danger is always going to be horse racing. We know we take a risk every time we go out there."

Boss dismissed Hyland's assertion that the rise in jockeys' insurance was as a result of falls because of the toes-in-the-iron issue.

"Why our insurance is increasing is because jockeys are getting killed and they are getting killed because they are falling off," Boss said.

"It doesn't have anything to do with toe in or toe out.

"Accidents are happening and most can't be prevented. There is saturation racing. The stats go up - more racing, more falls. It's a simple equation."  Adrian Dunn/Herald Sun

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Memorial Service for Sam Thompson January 12

Cottonwood Church is located at 4505 Katella Avenue, about a half mile west of Los Alamitos Racecourse.  Thompson, 36, died at a southern California hospital on Christmas morning, after he sustained injuries from a fall after a race at the track on December 21.
 
"Sam rode for so many owners, and he knew so many people from so many different states who I never had the opportunity to meet," said his girlfriend Kristen Watanabe.  "Sam's family would love for everyone who knew him to join us on this day."
 
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the Sam Thompson Memorial Fund, Los Alamitos division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, 4961 Katella Avenue, Los Alamitos, CA  90720.
Monday, December 29, 2008

On Christmas Day, a gift that is unquestionably priceless

He falls off a horse early in his career, breaks his back and while in a cast from neck to almost foot listens as his dad appeals to the former high school valedictorian to give it up and go to college.

"I try my best," his dad says. "But he tells me, 'If I die on a racehorse, Dad, you'll know I died happy.' "

The kid goes on to spend as much time in the hospital with broken ribs, pelvis and whatever as he does in the winner's circle, and he wins a ton of races.

He breaks a foot early this year but is up in the morning and standing along the Los Alamitos Race Course rail on crutches, then on a cane watching riders and horses exercise.

He's back for maybe a month now, and it's five days before Christmas. He considers going to El Paso for the weekend to ride at the Sunland Park Racetrack, but there's a horse here he just loves at Los Alamitos.

And so he stays, his girlfriend of 11 years, Kristen Watanabe, who has her home decorated with pictures of her favorite jockey, on a pony now leading him and Harems Dynasty to the starting gate.

It will be the first race Harems Dynasty runs in her career, and less than 17 seconds from start to finish, her last.

On the schedule, it's only one of 11 races on a Saturday night Los Alamitos racing card, nothing unusual at the start, 300 yards as fast as four legs will carry a jockey to the finish line. And Sam Thompson Jr. is excited.

He's ridden Harems Dynasty many times in the mornings, telling Kristen at one point, "We're going to make headlines with this one." He has no idea.

The horse's trainer, Cody Joiner, saddles the well-bred promise, meets the jockey in the walking ring and tells him, "Good luck."

Expectations are running high. "He just loves that horse," who, Kristen tells her boyfriend jockey as they near the starting gate, "looks like she's warming up like a champ."

"Yeah, she is," Sam tells her, Kristen riding off to the barn to catch the race on TV.

But Harems Dynasty just isn't herself breaking from the gate, maybe a misstep and then a push to catch up, but as Joiner says, "75 yards into the race you can see Sam notices something is wrong."

Kristen notices too. "He never let the filly run. He's trying to take care of her."

Harems Dynasty finishes seventh of eight horses, Sam earning between $33 to $35 for the last ride of his life, the horse breaking a knee nearly 200 yards beyond the finish line, falling and rolling over the jockey.

A short time later the horse is euthanized.

Across the track, there's the sound of a siren. "I hear it," Kristen says, "but heavens no, I know it's not Sam. I saw the race."

But the horse never returns to the barn, Kristen beginning to worry, word arriving instead that the siren is for Sam.

Kristen gets to the parking lot just as the medics are bringing her boyfriend back to life.

IT IS Christmas morning, a time for giving, maybe the best Christmas some folks will ever know.

A team of doctors is ready. The decision has been made, Sam's father the last to come around, but now in complete agreement. The respirator will be turned off so some of Sam's organs might save others.

It's been five days since Sam's last ride, with him never regaining consciousness and two or three times requiring resuscitation.

Kristen is there every minute. "Putting together two chairs, as I've done so many times before for a bed," she says, the hospital a very familiar place for the girlfriend of a jockey.

The hospital hallway is caked in dirt, jockeys, grooms, trainers and owners arriving from the track and waiting and waiting for word, someone from their family now in a very bad way.

"He looks so beautiful when I first see him, like a prince who will wake up any time," says Donna McArthur, who almost always has Sam riding her horses.

He has so many friends, Mary Parsons says. "No, he's not a famous athlete making millions. And even though he wasn't a name most people might recognize, not even a 7-foot basketball player could walk as tall as Sammy."

He's only 36 years old, and he's "my best friend," Kristen says. "He just makes me laugh. Still. I sit here thinking of things, and I laugh.

"He's my rock," Kristen says, and then while recalling Sam's words, she adds, "we're a team."

She takes the next few days while everyone gathers from around the country to promise her partner she will do right by him and say goodbye, later adding, "I was lucky to have that."

But there is no hope save those who are counting on just that, maybe a pancreas or a new kidney.

"Sam's got such a good heart, he would want to save someone else," she says, and so papers are signed and it's Christmas morning, only three hours into a new day and somewhere the phone is ringing with of all things -- the best news.

Back in the hospital, "the respirator is turned off," Kristen says, "and his little heart just won't stop beating. He's in such good shape. It goes down a little bit, but then right back up."

His mother, his friend McArthur and Kristen sit with him, "and it's peaceful," Kristen says, no one saying anything. "It's so serene."

In time it's over, the doctors moving in quickly to make this Christmas one that won't ever be forgotten.

"I'm very proud of my son for the way he lived his life," his father says, "and very proud of him for being an organ donor. He was new life for someone else."

t.j.simers@latimes.com
Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Horse Racing Docu-Drama JOCKEYS

Competition comes from across the country and the world in search of elusive winnings all for the love of horse racing. Minutes before the race, the jockeys clad in their colorful "silks" mount up. They sometimes have as little as 10 minutes to bond with their horses, each relying on the other for success and survival.

Premiering Friday, February 6, at 9 PM ET/PT, Animal Planet presents JOCKEYS, a docu-soap chronicling the lives and careers of seven 112-pound jockeys and their 1,200-pound horses. See who crosses the finish line first in the quest to win a share of more than 35 million dollars in purse money at the prestigious Oak Tree Meet. Sixty-eight years ago at Oak Tree, the infamous Seabiscuit saw his final victory, and now, these seven jockeys and their horses aspire to make history as well.

"The world of the race track is complex and controversial. Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the country, and this series is charged with the high stakes, big risks, strong personalities and drama of the sport on and off the track," says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. "The lives of these jockeys and their mounts are on the line in every race. It's an intense existence that makes for exciting television."

Cameras take viewers on and off the track -- from their homes to the jock's room where we see how these athletes physically and emotionally prepare for each race. At the starting gate, the anxious energy of the horse and jockey must be contained within their stall. With jockeys and horses fatally injured each year, the ambulance engines are on and ready for action at a moment's notice. In the stands, revelers wait with baited breath to see which horse-and-rider team takes the lead...and if everyone finishes safely.

The drama for these jockeys doesn't end when the race is finished. Off the track, gorgeous jockey Chantal Sutherland makes the emotional decision to leave her family in Canada for California to be closer to her boyfriend fellow jockey Mike Smith and ride at Santa Anita racetrack. Joe Talamo's high school girlfriend ponders whether or not she can be in a relationship where each phone call could mean Joe has had a bone-breaking -- or worse -- deadly fall. Family man Aaron Gryder worries that his children will grow up afraid that their daddy can be hurt at any given moment, but he's driven by finding the next horse that will take him to "the big time."

Audiences get to know the lives of these seven jockeys, their personalities, strengths and flaws. They all have big dreams and even bigger egos and are determined to cross the finish line first -- every time.

  • THE ICON -- Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is a living legend and a fan favorite. His fierce riding style and stringent pre-race ritual has earned him a shaman-like reputation among fellow jockeys.
  • THE HOTSHOT -- Joe Talamo may be young, but he already has taken the racing world by storm earning nearly $4 million in purse money in one racing season.
  • THE BREAKOUT FEMALE STAR -- Canadian jockey star Chantal Sutherland is a woman who's dominating the tracks. And, because she's dating fellow jockey Mike Smith, it puts her in competition with the man she loves. Can they make this work?
  • THE WORKING MAN -- Aaron Gryder is credited with more than 3,000 career wins and is motivated by supporting his family.
  • THE ELDER STATESMAN -- After racing more than 30 years, Jon Court is the consummate veteran, and he has no plans to quit.
  • THE NEW GIRL -- Fresh-faced Kayla Stra is racing gold in her native land of Australia, but only time will tell if she has what it takes to be a success in the US.
  • THE COMEBACK KID -- Alex Solis bounced back after a broken back injury nearly took his life. He's been to the winner's circle 4,000 times, but he's yet to be inducted into the Jockey Hall of Fame.

For these jockeys, everything they have is riding on the next 30 days at the Oak Tree Meet, which leads up to some of the most important races of the season -- The Breeders' Cup, two days of high stakes racing that can canonize a rider's career.

"So little is known about what goes into becoming a jockey, but these athletes couldn't triumph without the strength, speed and spirit of their equine partners," says Kaplan. "I think audiences will be surprised by what unfolds throughout the series."

Jason Carey is executive producer for Animal Planet on JOCKEYS. Liz Bronstein, Tina Gazzerro and Gary Auerbach are executive producers for Go Go Luckey.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sam Thompson Critically Injured

According to a friend of Thompson's, the 35-year-old jockey suffered a neck injury.  Members of his family were flying to Southern California to be by his side. 
 
The accident occured in Saturday's eighth race.  Thompson was riding Harems Dynasty who suffered an injury after a 300-yard race for maidens.  Thompson was unseared, and may  have been struck by Harems Dynasty while he was on the ground.
 
Thomspon is a senator with the Jockeys' Guild.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Sam and his family.
Thursday, December 18, 2008

Carlos Madeira Reflects on Perfect Peppers Pride

Along the way, there have been close calls and plenty of pressure. Peppers Pride overcame extreme trouble to equal the modern North American record for consecutive wins on April 25. She was then set to make her record attempt in July, but heavy rains dashed those plans and Peppers Pride did not race again until Oct. 4, setting the record in her 17th career start.

Peppers Pride has continued right along since, winning what might have been the final start of her career by 5 3/4 lengths in last Sunday's $125,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap at Sunland Park.

"We never thought in our wildest dreams something like this would come about," said Madeira, 32. "One win led to another and another, and when we got to 10, that's when everybody started talking about the record."

The momentum built as Peppers Pride hit 14 wins, then 15. She equaled the mark of 16 held by Citation, Cigar, Hallowed Dreams, and Mister Frisky in the $75,000 Foutz Distaff at SunRay Park in April. Peppers Pride was a determined two-length winner of that race after being knocked hard in the first turn, and forced well wide. The performance gave many a greater appreciation for the mare.

"She showed this big turn of foot around the second turn and she just exploded late," Madeira said. "She showed a lot of heart and class and from that race, everybody said, 'Wow, that separates her.' That was the race everybody speaks about, the way she did it, and she knew it.

"There were a couple of times I thought we'd get beat. There was a time or two we only got up by a nose or a neck, or her races weren't won by far. There was a time or two when I said 'Man, that was close' but she pulled through and got us out of there. She just has that need to win. I don't know how she does it. She does not want to be left back."

Madeira is a native of Northern California. His first exposure to racing was as a child, when he made trips to Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields to watch horses owned by his father and an uncle.

"I went to the races and just like any other kid, I said, 'I'm going to be a jockey.' "

Madeira launched his career in 1995 in Northern California. He came to the New Mexico circuit in 2000 at the behest of a friend, and soon afterward formed what has been a longstanding, successful relationship with Peppers Pride's owner, Joe Allen, and trainer, Joel Marr. Madeira rides both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses on the New Mexico circuit where he usually ranks in the top five in the standings. Through Wednesday he had won 864 career races and had mount earnings of $13.7 million.

Madeira became acquainted with Peppers Pride when she was 2.

"He's been on her back, been in the saddle 90 percent of the time," said Marr, noting Madeira regularly gallops and works Peppers Pride. "It's been a lot of hard work. We take her out early in the morning, and she goes to the track five or six days a week."

Madeira liked Peppers Pride from the start.

"She was a gorgeous-looking filly and my first impression was that she was very well put together," he said. "When I rode her in her first race, that's when I said, 'Wow, we might really have something here.' "

Madeira said he has enjoyed every moment of the streak. Even living in a pressure cooker for months on end as the wins mounted and records were at stake, often with months between starts.

"I don't care who you are, you've always got to feel a little bit of pressure," he said. "I tried to block it out but it just gets harder and harder. Every time she ran, after the race, it was like a big weight lifted off my shoulders.

"She's opened a lot of eyes around the country," he added. "I think she's shown racing that a little bitty mare from New Mexico can do something like that. I think she's put a lot out there for horse racing. I'd just like to thank her, and Joe Allen, and Joel Marr for putting me in this type of situation."

"If it would have been somebody else, who knows?" Marr said.
Mary Rampellini/Daily Racing Form
Thursday, December 18, 2008

Prado Named Jockey of the Week

The 41-year-old native of Lima, Peru, ranks fourth among North American-based riders by earnings with $15,109,135 in 2008.  He has 215 wins from 1,207 starters this year.
 
The Hollywood Starlet win was Prado's eighth Grade or Group I victory this season.  His top wins this year include the $2 million Gulf News Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-GI) aboard Benny the Bull and the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI) with Monba.
 
A 2008 inductee into the Racing Hall of Fame, Prado has won some of the country's most important races, including three United States classic victories and three Breeders' Cup wins.
 
The Miami resident won the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) with Barbaro en route to winning the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey.  He also won the Belmont Stakes (GI) in 2002 and '04 with longshots Sarava and Birdstone, respectively.
 
In the Breeders' Cup, Prado won the 2005 Alberto VO5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) with champion two-year-old filly Folklore, the '05 TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (GI) with Silver Train, and the '06 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (GI) with Round Pond.
 
Since moving to the United States in 1986, Prado has led all North American-based riders by wins three times in 1997, '98, and '99.
 
Prado won the 2003 George Woolf Award Memorial Jockey Award, presented annually to honor the rider whose career and personal character reflect positively on himself and the sport of Thorughbred racing.  Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mount Fees Increased at Turf Paradise

"We are happy that we were able to reach an agreement with the Arizona HBPA," said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys' Guild.  "This is the first meaningful increase in losing mount fees in Arizona in decades.  I would like to thank Tom Metzen, the executive director of the Arizona HBPA, Scott Stevens, our guild rep,  and the Guild's regional manager, Darrell Haire, for their work in reaching this agreement.  The jockeys look forward to working with the horsemen and Turf Paradise management to help grow racing in the Phoenix area."
 
This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation in California last fall and negotiated increases this year at Finger Lakes, the New York Racing Association tracks, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Calder, Hawthorne, Fairmount Park, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park and Tampa Bay Downs.  Jockeys at Philadelphia Park and Penn National have also received raises in their losing mount fees.
 
"We appreciate the cooperation of the horsemen's groups, racing commissions and track managements that have helped achieve these needed raises in losing mount fees," said Meyocks.  The Jockeys' Guild
Monday, December 15, 2008

Riders Up/Final Turn - The Blood-Horse



Because of the nature of their profession and injury histories, many jockeys have a difficult time getting insurance or finding affordable health care coverage. The Guild continues to analyze ways to incorporate a health and welfare reimbursement program into our member benefits.

The Guild continues to make strides in reestablishing itself as a credible and meaningful organization in the racing industry.

Recently, the New Jersey Racing Commission approved the Guild to serve as a representative of the jockeys for the New Jersey Jockeys Health and Welfare Trust. The newly established Trust will enable New Jersey riders to obtain health insurance.

We have been able to negotiate a meaningful increase in losing mount fees at a number of tracks including, just recently, those in New Jersey. In many cases this is the first real increase in decades. The Guild has worked with state racing commissions, owners, horsemen’s group, and racetracks to reach these agreements, and we continue to negotiate with many other jurisdictions.

This past spring, the Guild partnered with The Jockey Club and Keeneland to develop a secure, Internet-based program to document the medical histories of jockeys for use by emergency medical personnel. To date, participating tracks in the Jockey Health Information System include Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Meadowlands, Monmouth, Turfway, Laurel, Pimlico, Timonium, Sunland, Hawthorne, Aqueduct, Belmont, Saratoga, Hoosier, and Santa Anita.

Also encouraging is the fact that, with the help of Richard Santulli, NetJets, Bill Casner, and the jockeys riding in the Triple Crown races, $742,000 was raised for racing charities. The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, The Jockey Club Foundation, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Anna House, and the Backstretch Employee Service Team benefited through a unique sponsorship throughout the Triple Crown series.

The Guild has been able to attain a significantly greater representation on the board of the Disabled Jockeys Endowment, which will result in improved oversight and control of the funds in that account.

We all know there are many issues facing the racing industry and a number of those are being tackled now by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety and Integrity Alliance. The Alliance has asked the Guild to join its efforts, which we enthusiastically support.

The Guild is working with the The Jockey Club, NTRA, HBPA, ARCI, KTA, TOBA, AAEP, and TRA to assure a safe racing environment. Among the issues being addressed are: the setting of medical standards/ambulances at racetracks for the care of jockeys and backstretch personnel; improved standards for helmets and safety vests; mandatory race-day veterinary examinations of entered horses; comprehensive standards for jockey weigh-in and weigh-out procedures; gate-loading procedures; establishment of a scientifically based jockey scale of weights; establishment of a jockey nutrition program; participation of all racetracks in The Jockey Club-In Compass medical reports program; an approval system for jockeys racing in North America for the first time; restrictions on the entry of horses that have undergone shock wave therapy; and new standards for riding crops.

As an example, with the help of Dan Fick of The Jockey Club and owner and breeder Scoop Vessels, we sent jockey helmets now in use for testing to Bill Simpson, whose company, Impact Race Products, designs NASCAR safety equipment. During the past few years, the company has improved the helmets used by NASCAR drivers. Simpson’s testing revealed there needs to be improvement in the quality of helmets used by jockeys and exercise riders, and prototypes have already been designed.

The difficult work now being done will need the cooperation of all racing organizations. Hopefully, these changes will reduce the cost for on-track accident policies and lower the workmen’s compensation costs to horsemen.

I would like to thank the Guild members for the loyalty they have shown to the Guild during these trying times. Their support has been critical in moving the Guild forward.

Terry Meyocks is the national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.

Friday, December 12, 2008

U.S.-based riders enjoy time in Hong Kong

Gomez, last year's Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey, rode at Sha Tin Racecourse 17 years ago at age 19.  He was fascinated by the incredible sight of Happy Valley Racecourse while riding in the Cathay Pacific International Jockey Challenge on Wednesday and is eager to compete at Sha Tin this weekend.
 
"I walked the course at Happy Valley before riding and will ride at Sha Tin," he said of his preparation.  "I will breeze a local horse over the track tomorrow or the next day and will ride four or five local horses on the undercard."
 
Velasquez, one of the top riders in New York and Florida, beat Gomez in a race to the wire at Happy Valley in the Jockey Challenge and was looking forward to riding against some of the world's other top jockeys.
 
"Everytime I ride at home, I ride against the best jockeys," he said.  "Gomez is such a great rider, but I have had the better horse."
 
The two will face each other again in the $3,520,000 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile (HK-GI), in which Velasquez will ride Kip Deville and Gomez will be aboard Awesome Gem.
 
"Kip, he tries hard every time," Velasquez said.  "I think he will run a very good race."
 
Word of Velasquez's ability has begun to spread globally.  He will go to Saudi Arabia to ride for a  prince on January 1 in a race that the owner hopes will lead to a berth in the $6-million Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup (UAE-GI) on March 29 at Nad al Sheba Racecourse.
 
As for Gomez, he also has the mount on Out of Control (Brz) in the $4.4 million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (HK-GI). K.T. Donovan/Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jockeys' Guild turns focus to health insurance

At its two-day assembly on December 8-9 in Las Vegas, Guild leaders and members discussed health insurance costs and improved on-track medical care.  The Guild currently does not offer health insurance to its members.
 
Guild members voted to support the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Safety and Integrity Alliance.  Announced in October, the NTRA's plan focuses on equine safety.  While pleased with the goals to reduce equine breakdowns - which in turn help reduce jockey injuries - the Guild called on the industry to consider specific jockey health and welfare issues.
 
The Guild asked for the industry to develop an affordable health insurance plan for riders and their families, continue discussions on the jockey scale of weights, improve existing accident insurance at all tracks, adjust weekly disability benefits to keep pace with inflation, and gain increased industry support to develop better helmets and safety vests.
 
Barry Schumer, M.D., medical doctor for the Keeneland Association, delivered a presentation in which he outlined the new jockey medical database that allows riders to update their medical histories via the Internet.  The secure database provides information to medical personnel in times of emergency.  It was developed by InCompass Solutions, a subsidiary of The Jockey Club; the Jockey Club Technology Services; the Jockeys' Guild; Schumer; and Keeneland Association.
 
The Guild announced plans to reach out to jockey organizations throughout the world to explore solutions to common problems while developing sponsorship opportunities.  The Guild plans to meet with groups from Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong and Japan.
 
Other guest speakers included Don Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association; Mike Mossholder, vice president of sales for Churchill Downs, Inc., Don Larkin, senior investment specialist for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network; Michelle Penna of InCompass; and Nancy LaSala, who reported on the Disabled Jockeys Endowment and Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
 
"We appreciate the input of all the presenters at the assembly and in particular, we would like to thank Don Fehr for attending our meeting and explaining the steps that he and the MLBPA have taken to improve the status of Major League Baseball players," Jockeys' Guild National Manger Terry Meyocks said.
 
The Guild also conducted elections and the entire slate of officers was re-elected, including: Chairman John Velazquez; Vice Chairman  G.R. Carter; Treasurer Jerry LaSala, and Secretary Jon Court.  Frank Angst/Thoroughbred Times TODAY 
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Luis Quinonez Jockey of the Week

Quinonez earned three stakes wins on December 6 at Retama Park in Selma, Texas.  He won the Bara Lass Stakes with Tiffany Royal, and also earned wins aboard Stealth Cat in the Yellow Rose Stakes and Pretty Squall in the San Jacinto Stakes.
 
With four days remaining in Remington's 20th season of Thoroughbred racing, which concludes Sunday, Quinonez is in good position to earn his first Pat Steinberg Award, which is presented to the Oklahoma City track's leading rider.
 
Quinonez posted 72 wins through Tuesday and leads runner-up Clifton Berry by 17 victories.
 
A Sinaloa, Mexico native who lives in Jones, Oklahoma, Quinonez led all riders by victories at Oaklawn Park in 2007.  He finished second in the 2008 standings at the Hot Springs, Arkansas track.
 
Quinonez, 41, made his North American riding debut in 1989 and won five straight riding titles at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota from 1995 through 1999.  He has made 954 starts this year with 198 wins through Monday, including a victory by Brownie Points in the $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff Handicap (GIII) on May 26 at Lone Star Park.  Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jockeys' Guild Emerges from Bankruptcy

On December 3, 2008, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western Division of Kentucky entered an order confirming the Jockeys' Guild, Inc.'s plan of reorganization.  This allows the Guild to emerge from Chapter 11 as a reorganized Debtor, to continue its work on behalf of the nation's jockeys and the racing industry.  The Guild wishes to thank its members and the racing community for the patience and support that they have shown it throughout this process.  In particular, the Guild recognizes Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Magna, the NTRA, Michael Bello and Dwight Manley, whose assistance promoted its reorganization.
Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dominguez Named Jockey of the Week

Dominguez, 32, won the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (GI) with Court Vision and the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes (GI) aboard Cocoa Beach (CHI) on November 30 at Hollywood Park.
 
Dominguez won the Remsen Stakes (GII) on November 29 at Aqueduct with Old Fashioned.  On November 27 at Aqueduct he took the Fall Highweight Handicap with Fabulous Strike and the Shopping For Love Stakes with Love Cove.
 
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and currently residing in Elkton, Maryland, Dominguez ranks fourth with 296 wins and seventh by purse earnings with $13,991,731 through Tuesday, December 2 among North American jockeys this year.
 
He has won 23.1% of his starts during his career, including 14 Grade I wins among 71 graded stakes victories.
 
Dominguez began his North American riding career in 1996 at Hialeah Park after moving to the United States in 1995.
 
Hed led the rider standings at Delaware Park from 2004 through '07 and led the nation in wins in '01, and '03.  In '04, Dominguez won the Issac Murphy Award which is presented by the National Turf Writers Association to the jockey with the highest winning percentage for the year.
 
Dominguez rode Better Talk Now to victories in four Grade I races, including the 2004 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (GI).  He also piloted Horse of the Year Invasor (ARG) to a win in the 2006 Pimlico Special Handicap (GI).
 
Dominguez lives with his wife, Sharon, a former rider at Delaware Park, and sons, Alexander and Matthew.  Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Monday, December 01, 2008

Leparoux breaks fall meet win record at Churchill Downs

Hall of Fame rider Pat Day previously established the Fall Meet mark in 1985 when he rode 55 winners in a 30-day met.
 
Day rode an average pf 1.8 winners per day for the meet that ran 271 races.  Day's success rate was 28.6 percent (55 for 192).
 
The 2008 Fall Meet ran for 26 days and offered 268 races.
 
Leparoux ended the meet  atop the standings with 63 victories.
 
"When you ride for people who win...it's been a good team.  I really think that's what made this happen.  We've had a lot of success with Mike (Maker) and the Ramsey's.
 
"What's funny about this is that I never really thought about breaking Day's record until I went to an appointment last Tuesday in Louisville and the guy told me 'Just don't beat him because we love Pat Day over here!  Can you just tie it?  Don't beat him!'  I thought that was kind of funny.  I like the Louisville people, but I've got to keep winning races."
 
Leparoux's biggest day of the meet came on Tuesday, November 11 when he notched seven wins in nine starts - winning on each of his first seven mounts during the afternoon - to tie Day's record for wins in a single day at Churchill Downs.  Day won seven races from eight mounts on June 20, 1984.
 
A 25-year-old native of Senlis, France, Leparoux also won titles in the 2006 and 2007 spring meets as well as the 2007 fall meet.
 
After a 10-day vacation in Hawaii, Leparoux will head for the Gulfstream Park meet which begins January 3.
 
"You've got to follow the people you ride the most for and see what happens.  We hope to get a good horse for the (Kentucky) Derby.  That's why you want to go to big places like this and where the best trainers go.  Hopefully, we can get lucky over there, too.
 
"For the past three years, I've been lucky to be with people who have had success.  When you have people like that, you'll have success, too," said Leparoux, who is represented by jockey agent Steve Bass.  "I've got to thank everybody.  You cannot do it alone."  Churchill Downs Communications Department

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