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Friday, May 29, 2009

New whip rules in effect at Woodbine

 Jockeys will have the option to continue using Lite Touch Whips for the rest of the day’s races if they choose to do so.

The temporary Use of the Whip Initiative also requires jockeys to utilize no more than two consecutive strikes during the duration of a race in a manner consistent with exerting the best effort to win.

Robert King Jr., secretary-manager for the Jockeys Benefit Association of Canada, said the association, including Canadian jockeys, supports involvement with the initiative.

Woodbine is the only racetrack currently restricting the design and limited use of racing crops.

The rule also states that whips in the first two Woodbine races on each card shall not exceed 30 inches in length, including a looped popper 1½ inches in width. Whips must consist of one inch of three rows of feathers.

The Ontario Racing Commission will meet at the end of June to evaluate the progress of the program.  The Thoroughbred Times

Friday, May 29, 2009

Help For Disabled Riders

The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund makes a huge difference in the lives of these former riders, who currently number 60 (nine are women). Nancy LaSala, the Fund’s board chairman, is like so many in the racing community who is hoping and praying that Rene Douglas, severely injured in an Arlington Park accident on May 23, does not become disabled jockey No. 61.

“There is a need for assistance for these individuals,” said LaSala, a native of Chicago who for 26 years has been married to jockey Jerry LaSala, currently an officer with the Jockeys’ Guild. “Many of the riders are hurt at a young age. They don’t have time to build retirement savings. Some have young children. They have no other means of income. Many have said to me, ‘If I didn’t have this assistance, I wouldn’t have a roof over my head.’ The $1,000 a month we provide helps them pay for basic necessities. If they’re ever thrown a curveball, believe me, it’s devastating for them.”

That there is even a Fund for permanently disabled riders is almost a miracle, given the turmoil the Jockeys’ Guild went through under the disastrous leadership of Wayne Gertmenian, whose 2001-2005 reign of terror left the organization teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and its Disabled Jockeys Fund depleted. Gertmenian was removed as president in November 2005, just a month after a Congressional hearing on the Guild uncovered massive problems. The Guild eventually was forced into bankruptcy.

During the final stages of Gertmenian’s tenure, Nancy LaSala and a number of Guild officers worried that the disabled riders would be left on their own, without any assistance. “I very much care about the welfare of the jockeys,” LaSala said. “In 2005, before the Guild severed its relationship with Gertmenian, I asked, ‘If this organization fails, what will happen to these disabled riders? We got involved in helping with their needs, and I think that was very valuable. We then started having meetings with other groups in the industry in January of 2006.”

Racing executives like Steve Sexton of Churchill Downs Inc. and Don Amos, then with Magna Entertainment, helped lead the charge to start a new Fund, and in May 2006 the

Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund was created as part of NTRA Charities. One month later, with seed money from Churchill Downs Inc., Magna and other tracks, it was able to begin offering financial assistance to permanently disabled riders in need.

LaSala said many racetracks have really stepped up to help raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Horsemen’s organizations have not been as supportive, though individuals in the ownership ranks, including Richard Santulli, chairman of NetJets, Bill Casner of WinStar Farm, Barbaro owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson, and Michael Bello, a California-based owner, have made significant contributions. In 2008, thanks to Santulli and Casner, the Fund

raised $500,000 during the Triple Crown, which amounts to more than half of the Fund’s $800,000 annual operating budget. Santulli and Casner again kicked into major contributions to the Fundat this year’s Kentucky Derby.

“Jockeys have the most hazardous occupation of any professional athlete, and I feel are greatly unappreciated,” said Casner, the former chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and a self-described “ex-gallop boy that got on about 25,000 of those beasts over 16 years as a young racetracker,” one who “had my share of hitting the ground and having several flip over on me …

but for the grace of God."

“There are around 1,500 licensed professional jockeys,” Casner added, “with most of them struggling with weight and making a living. They put their lives and bodies at risk every time they get on one of our horses and most will deal with a plethora of injuries over
a career. If they are lucky they will walk away and not have to deal with paralysis. Exercise riders and backstretch help should also be included in this group. While they do not experience the injury opportunities that race riders do, they are still subject to the same events. It is only right that we as an industry work with the jockeys to help them help themselves as well as other backside employees. I comment Richard Santulli, as well as the riders, for taking the leadership on this important charitable endeavor over the last two Triple Crowns.”

Riders have been directly involved in some of the creative fundraising that’s been done for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. At Keeneland this spring, “Riders Up!” a karaoke competition involving many current and past jockeys, was the highlight of a very popular dinner that raised $50,000 for the Fund.

Earlier, in Hot Springs, Ark., restaurateur Mike Loy provided free dinners at his popular KJ’s Grill and racing fans paid $100 each to dine and meet some of their favorite jockeys, raising another $17,000 for the Fund. A similar event, “Dining With the Dynasties,” will be held at Arlington Park Aug. 7, the day before the Arlington Million, thanks to Arlington boss Richard Duchossois and track president Roy Arnold, who is now a member of the Fund’s board of directors. Retired Hall of Fame jockeys like Pat Day and Gary Stevens, along with other current and former riders, including some of those who benefit from the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, are expected to participate at the Arlington event.

Speaking of Pat Day, there is good news about him and Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey, two former Jockeys’ Guild presidents who resigned from the organization when the former manager, John Giovanni, was forced out and Gertmenian was brought in. Now that the Guild has regained its credibility and is on the road to financial recovery under the leadership of Terry Meyocks and a newly configured board, Bailey and Day have rejoined the organization in a show of support. Meyocks said a number of other current riders who had quit the Guild during the Gertmenian era have also come back into the fold.

Earlier this year, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund became a standalone 501(c)3 charity, and it is no longer part of NTRA Charities. It continues to struggle for its funding. “We need the support of the entire industry and all of its partners,” LaSala said.

Please contact the Fund if you would like to help. Its

web sitewill have an online donation link in the near future. In the meantime, you can send donations to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, P.O. Box 803, Elmhurst, IL 60126. The telephone number is: (630) 595-7660 and fax is (630) 595-7655.

Copyright © 2009, The Paulick Report

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jockey Douglas Paralyzed in Lower Extremities

Douglas, who entered surgery around 2:30 a.m. (CST) and came out around 9:30 a.m., was injured in a racing accident at Arlington Park in the May 23 Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III).

“They said he might not walk again, it didn’t look like,” Cooper said. “He’ll probably have use of his upper body, but they gave it to me straight that he’s not likely to walk. They won’t be a million percent sure until after the swelling goes down in about 10 to 14 days, but it doesn’t look good.”

Douglas will remain in the intensive care unit of Northwestern for two weeks, until he moves to rehab.

“It’s devastating,” Cooper said.

Douglas was worked on by a team of specialists who made efforts to repair compressed vertebrae and damage to the rider’s neck. But the main concerns centered on Douglas’ spinal cord, which may have been damaged by a fragment of splintered bone, Cooper said.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital said that Douglas was in fair condition following his surgery. Neither the hospital nor Arlington Park officials would release any details about his injuries, Associated Press reported.
"All of our thoughts and prayers are obviously with Rene and his family, and we continue to hope for the best," Arlington Park spokesman David Zenner said.
Cooper said Douglas was alert and able to speak with his wife before he was moved to surgery. Doctors had him transferred via helicopter from Northwest Hospital near Arlington to Northwestern before they began the procedure. He had initially lost feeling in his lower extremities after the accident, but was reported to have regained some feeling in his legs while still at the first hospital. He was also complaining of pain in his arms and back.

Douglas was thrown from his mount in the Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III) when the 4-year-old Born to Be was bumped by Sky Mom, clipped heels with Boudoir, and fell in upper stretch. Born to Be flipped and tossed Douglas over her head, then landed on top of the prone rider. Track workers had to drag the daughter of A.P. Indy   off of Douglas before he could be transferred to a backboard. He was removed from the track via ambulance, as was his mount.

Cooper said he had been told that the horse, trained by Eric Coatreiux, had recovered from the incident. A spokesperson for Arlington Park said the filly returned to the barn and had not been euthanized on the day of the accident.

“She went straight down head over heels just like in slow motion,” Cooper said. “She hit him with her whole body, dropped there on top of him and just laid there.”

The filly remained on the track for several moments before being transferred to the equine ambulance. Sky Mom, who finished fifth, was disqualified for interfering with Born to Be and was placed last.

A naitve of Panama, Douglas has been the leading rider at Arlington six times (2001-2004 and 2007-2008) and holds the record for most consecutive titles at the Chicago track with four (2001-2004). This season, he was tied with E.T. Baird in the early contest for leading rider honors at the track with 15 wins going into the May 23 card.

Douglas has nearly 3,600 North American victories, including the 2006 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I)  with Dreaming of Anna and the 1996 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on Editor's Note. His mounts have earned more than $102 million through May 23.
Claire Novak/The Blood-Horse
The Jockeys' Guild extends their thoughts and prayers to Rene and his family.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Sometimes, if the jockey in question is an apprentice or young journeyman, the stewards will call him or her in the next racing day to review the incident in the film room. Occasionally, the jockey might get a fine or suspension. Far too often, these incidents pass without any warnings or repercussions to the jockey. No harm, no foul, the thinking goes.

But then we have a situation in which there were severe consequences, as in Saturday’s Arlington Matron at Arlington Park near Chicago. Jamie Theriot, riding Sky Mom, was tucked in along the rail, right behind the leader, and anxious to let his horse run. Even though Rene Douglas and his mount, Born to Be, was racing shoulder to shoulder with Sky Mom, Theriot forced his way out, jostling with Douglas’ mount, and resulting in Born to Be clipping heels, throwing Douglas to the ground, and then rolling onto the fallen jockey and causing severe damage to his spine.

Moments later, the horse on the lead that Theriot was so impatient to pass, drifted off the rail while tiring, providing enough room to drive a Mack truck through. By then, however, it was too late. The damage had been done. Born to Be suffered a fatal injury, and Douglas likely had his highly successful career cut short. There’s a very good chance he’ll never walk again.

Theriot was only riding the way stewards in too many racing jurisdictions allow him to ride. Watch the replays from any track on any given day, and you’re likely to see similar moves by other jockeys — some with less experience, others with more — than the 30-year-old Theriot. 

Stewards who don’t pay attention to these incidents, who live by the “no harm, no foul” philosophy, are like the referees in a basketball game who don’t call many fouls, who “let the kids play,” at least until things get out of control. The stewards who let these incidents pass, just as much if not more than Jamie Theriot, are to blame for the accident that so severely injured Douglas.

Theriot got a 30-day suspension for his actions in the race from the stewards at Arlington Park. It’s a moot point now, but I’m curious if there would have been any disciplinary action taken against Theriot had Born to Be not clipped heels and fallen after being bumped, and Douglas not been injured. Would the same move off the rail by Theriot, but with no accident and death to a horse and injury to a jockey, have resulted in a 30-day suspension? I don’t think so.

The Illinois Racing Board stewards refused to discuss the incident with the Paulick Report or with other reporters. It is part of racing’s secret society, the one that says the public has no right to know what these “judges” are seeing and thinking during or after the running of a race. In many racing states, it’s virtually impossible to find out if stewards have taken action against jockeys, trainers or other licensees, even though the rulings are a matter of public record.

By contrast, racing officials in many international jurisdictions routinely file in-depth stewards reports on every race they see. It is part of the culture in those countries that the racing public has a right to know. In some countries, trainers are required to disclose riding instructions to racing officials in advance if they are likely to result in a change in tactics. In other countries, jockeys or trainers are quizzed when a horse has a reversal in form. Interviews with jockeys about lane changes are published. Click on the following hyperlinks to see some examples of stewards reports in

Dubai, Hong Kong, Australiaand Singapore.

There are at least two reasons state racing commissions across the United States should insist their stewards file similar reports.

First, it will indicate whether or not these officials are doing their jobs, or how well they are doing them. The racing public, as well as horsemen, will keep the stewards’ feet to the fire and make sure they are paying attention and performing their duties. Many of the currently unreported riding incidents may no longer be brushed aside.

Second, the betting public deserves to know what is going on in the races on which they are betting their money. This is, after all, a game with betting at the foundation, and diligence and attention by the officials who are paid to keep the game clean and on the up and up should go a long way toward building confidence among horseplayers and satisfying the public’s desire and right to know.

Racing has so many challenges now, many of which do not have immediate solutions. This is not one of those “unsolvable problems.” Disclosure and transparency by racing stewards is easy. And it’s the right thing to do.

Better performance by racing stewards, along with greater transparency, may not have saved the life of Born to Be and the career of Rene Douglas. But what is the downside to expecting more from those who are hired to enforce racing’s rules?By Ray Paulick

Copyright © 2009, The Paulick Report

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jockey Cruz Gets 2,000th North American Win

“They told me yesterday (Saturday) that I was getting close,” said Cruz, who rode four winners at Calder May 23 to get him to win 1,999.  He finished first in the last race on Saturday, which would have been victory number 2,000, but was disqualified for interference in the stretch and subsequently placed second. 
“I just had to get it (2,000) done today,” he said.  “I was confident with my first mount, but we lost by a neck.”

A native of Brazil, Cruz was among the top jockeys at Hipodromo Cidade Jardim, winning 1,200 races there before coming to the United States in 2000.  In 2002, Cruz earned his first riding title in the U.S. when he was the leading rider at Tampa Bay Downs.  He joined the Calder riding colony that summer and was the second leading jockey of the meet.
Cruz has earned five riding titles at the Calder and Tropical meets and rode his 1,000th North American career winner on Sept. 17, 2005 at Calder and is the leading jockey at the current meet.
“I love my job,” said Cruz, after getting doused with water by his colleagues outside the winner’s circle, a tradition usually reserved for first-time winners.  “This makes me so happy.  Now I can’t wait for 3,000, 4,000, and 5,000.
The Blood-Horse
Friday, May 22, 2009


  Earlier in the card, the Swedish-born jockey tallied with Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Itchy Toes ($3.40) in the second race; Eagle Valley Farm’s The Elevator ($11.80) in the third; Midwest Thoroughbreds’ What About It Brud ($6.20) in a dead-heat in the fifth; and Iron County Farms Inc.’s Snapped ($21.80) in the eighth.

 The five-bagger gives her 11 for the season which began on May 1 and ranks her tied for fourth in the current meet standings.

 Karlsson, 26, was last year’s leading apprentice at Arlington, followed that success with a fall-winter riding title at Hawthorne Race Course and was runner-up in Eclipse Award voting as the nation’s outstanding apprentice in 2008.
Arlington Park Communications Department
Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fund-raiser planned for jockey

Cornwell, 33, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early this month, and the longtime Laurel resident who spent much of the last 10 years galloping horses in the mornings at the Bowie Training Center has since returned to South Carolina where his family resides.

Laurel Park will hold a fund-raiser for Cornwell and his family from 5 to 10 p.m. on Sunday. The event is being organized by Kristy Wilson, who works for local trainer Howard Wolfendale, and is the daughter of former jockey Rick Wilson, who won nearly 5,000 races and rode twice in the Kentucky Derby.

Many patients with pancreatic cancer are usually given 18 months to live, but Wilson said in Cornwell's case that number has been cut in half because the cancer has already spread to his lungs. Cornwell's sister, Heather, made the long drive from South Carolina to Maryland last week to bring Cornwell home.

Cornwell rode his last winner on April 24 at Pimlico aboard Captain Zim for trainer Jackie Earhart and owner Andrew Murtaugh, 18 months after attaining his first career victory aboard 72-1 long shot Banana Pancakes at Laurel Park on October 31, 2007 for trainer Stephen Casey.

Cornwell is among the hundreds of jockeys who spend their entire careers without ever getting a mount in a Triple Crown race. At 5-foot-1 and 101 pounds, he earned the nickname "Stick man," yet he has a reputation for being one of the biggest eaters in the jockey's room in a profession where maintaining a light weight often creates excessive demands on the body.

"Marion was always one of those jockeys who rode nothing but long shots," Wilson said. "When he won a race it seemed like everybody in the jockey's room was happy for him. He galloped horses for a lot of trainers at Bowie every day. He was known as a freelance exercise rider and he probably got $10 for each horse that he galloped in the morning."

Attendees at Sunday's function will have the chance to bid on several items in a silent auction. Among the more prominent are a pair of boxing gloves signed by county native Sugar Ray Leonard and a breeding share of sire Afleet Alex, who won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 2005. Jockey Jeremy Rose, who guided Afleet Alex to his biggest triumphs, has donated the breeding share.

Tickets for the fundraiser and buffet-style dinner can be purchased at the door for $15. Those interested in donating items to the auction can reach Wilson at 443-277-4495.

E-mail Ted Black at
While not a member of the Jockeys' Guild, Marion Cornwell needs the entire jockey community's support.
Monday, May 18, 2009

Desormeaux Wins Pimlico's Jockey Challenge

The Hall of Fame jockey, who won the Preakness aboard Big Brown last May and Real Quiet in 1998, finished third in the last of four races among eight of the nation’s leading riders, but he earned four points in the race that pushed his total to 22, enough to edge Javier Castellano (20). Garrett Gomez finished third with 18 points.    

Fourteen points were awarded for a win, six for a second, four for a third, and three for a fourth-place finish in the four designated races. Julien Leparoux won the 10th race finale aboard Avie’s Tale on the turf to finish fourth with 17 points, followed by Ramon Dominguez (16), Mario Pino (9), Mike Smith (3), and Rafael Bejarano (3).

“I actually had butterflies going into the starting gate (for race 10),” said Desormeaux, who will ride longshot Tone It Down in the May 16 Preakness. “I’ve ridden in a lot of these contests around the world, but I’ve never won one before. It’s good to be home with all my friends in Maryland.”

Desormeaux, who won five riding titles at Pimlico during the 1980s, set an all-time record when he rode 599 winners in 1989 to earn his second of three Eclipse Awards. He led the nation in victories in 1987, 1988, and 1989 when he was based at Pimlico and Laurel Park.

Castellano’s second-place finish aboard Streetscape in the seventh race gave him a two-point lead (20-18) over both Gomez (who won with odds-on Bright Gem) and Desormeaux entering the final race.

Desormeaux took the lead after two races by winning the fifth with Mike Trombetta’s front-running favorite Bette to Win. That gave him 18 points after the first two heats. Dominguez picked up six points for second with Pissarro, followed by Gomez aboard Magamoo. And a Cherry Tree and Bejarano managed fourth in the allowance sprint.

Castellano took the third race and 14 points aboard Tweebie for trainer Dale Capuano. Desormeaux was third on Riddles and Rhymes.

The Challenge featured the top four riders in the country based upon earnings, two Hall of Famers, and two Eclipse Award-winning riders. Castellano won $10,000 for finishing second and Gomez took home $8,000 for third. Going into the competition, the eight riders have combined to win more than 28,000 races and $1 billion in purses.

The Maryland Jockey Club, which teamed with the Jockeys’ Guild for this event, is making a $5,000 donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The jockeys participated in a morning autograph session and posed for a special souvenir poster.

“The event is a win-win for racing, the fans, and riders who have suffered life-threatening injuries,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.
Edited from Maryland Jockey Club Release.
Friday, May 15, 2009

Smith gets acquainted with Mine That Bird

Smith caught a brief glimpse of the Birdstone gelding flashing along the rail under jockey Calvin Borel on the way to a shocking upset at odds of 50.60-to-1.

Smith knows what it is like claim a surprise Derby victory, as he did on Giacomo in 2005. But he will be in a very rare position on Saturday in picking up the mount on the Derby winner after Borel chose to ride Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Rachel Alexandra.

Smith stopped by the stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course on Friday morning to visit Mine That Bird and talk strategy with trainer Chip Woolley Jr. (click here for video of Woolley talking about Mine That Bird)

Woolley and Smith both said they do not expect to be able to duplicate the last-to-first, rail-skimming journey that Borel pulled off in the Derby.

“Not quite the same,” Smith said of what he envisions for a Preakness trip. “If you look at his past performances he’s come around and come through, he’s gone everywhere he needs to go, so we’ll just see what kind of trip he gets.”

What will not vary is the strategy of laying back for one burst, which is the one big difference Woolley saw in Mine That Bird’s success in the Derby opposed to the gelding’s races prior to the classic. Smith also has noticed.

“In some of his earlier races they were trying to match strides too soon and it would take its toll at the end,” said Smith, who won the 1993 Preakness on champion Prairie Bayou and finished third with Proud Citizen in 2002 and Giacomo in ’05.

“Just getting him way back out of there, he seemed to really drop the bit and get into a rhythm and make that huge run, and that’s what we’re going to try.”

Woolley kept his choice for a replacement close to the vest until it was clear that Borel would be switching to Rachel Alexandra. Smith, however, has been waiting in the wings since a few days after the Derby.

“It’s just a great, great opportunity and what makes it even better is that we’re all from New Mexico,” Smith said. “It’s pretty cool. If we could pull this off it would be pretty amazing.”

Smith and Mine That Bird’s co-owner, Leonard Blach, D.V.M., have known each other since the 1970s, when Smith, born in Roswell, New Mexico, was starting his career in bush-track match races. He joins the New Mexico crew of Woolley, Blach, and co-owner Mark Allen.

“It’s kind of ironic, it makes it total New Mexico connections now,” Blach said. “I called him and told him that we might need another jock, and he said that he was available. At the time, I didn’t know whether Chocolate Candy would go back [in the Preakness,] and he said, ‘No, right now, I’m available.’ I said, ‘Well, you just plan on it.’” (click here for video from Blach on the jockey switch)

Woolley asked Borel to bring Smith up to speed on Mine That Bird, but Borel figures he does not have much insight to offer the Hall of Famer.

“I’ll talk to him [on Saturday],” Borel said. “Chip asked me to explain to him a little bit about [Mine That Bird], which, you know … Mike knows his horses. It’s kind of hard for me to tell him how to ride the horse. Like Chip said, ‘Just talk to him, [tell him] ride my horse with a little bit of confidence.’ The horse has a little bit of ability and I said, ‘I’d be more than happy to do that.’”

Jeff Lowe is a THOROUGHBRED TIMES staff writer

Friday, May 15, 2009

Retired Jockey, Steward Passmore Dies

 Passmore, who was known on the Maryland circuit as “Willy J.,” retired in 1984 after 37 years as a jockey. Beginning with his first victory with Minneapolis on May 14, 1948, Passmore rode 3,533 winners from 29,490 mounts, with earnings of almost $23 million.  He had been a member of the Jockeys' Guild for more than 50 years.

Upon retirement, Passmore became a steward of the Maryland Racing Commission, a position from which he retired in fall 2008.

He regularly rode at Pimlico, Laurel, Bowie, Marlboro and Timonium so he could remain close to his wife and seven children, and he rode at many of the New England and New York tracks. He was a regular rider for top Midlantic trainer King T. Leatherbury and was the regular jockey for owners Art Rooney, Jim McKay, Katie Voss, John T. Merryman, and Bayard Sharp, among others. His father was the late William L. Passmore, a steeplechase rider and trainer.

He is survived by his spouse of 54 years, Charlene, and children: Dr. Patricia Nilles, of Boston, Mass.; Cathlene Lindberg, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Sharon Passmore of Millersville, Md.; William J. Passmore Jr. of Glen Elg, Md.; Ann Marie Dodds of Melbourne, Fla., James Passmore of Los Angeles; and Sandra Criss, of Winchester, Mass. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren.

One of Passmore’s daughters, Cathlene Lindberg, said her father was devoted to horse racing, his family and friends, and was described by many as “the nicest man one could ever meet.” She said Passmore was always promoting camaraderie among those involved in the sport and that “his home was a continuous open house to trainers, agents, valets, and jockeys.” Among the regulars included Bill Hartack, the McCarrons, the Turcottes, "Cowboy" Jack Kaenel, Sammy Boulmetis Jr., Darrell McHargue, Gunnar Lindberg, Butch Easeman and others.

A memorial is being planned for early June at St. Mary's Church in Laurel, MD.
The Blood-Horse
Friday, May 15, 2009

Borel Confident in Decision to Ride Filly


The next day, May 16, Borel will ride the morning-line favorite, Rachel Alexandra, in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

Borel is the central character in an unprecedented situation. He rode Rachel Alexandra to win the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 1 and Mine That Bird to victory the following day in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

It was a perfect situation at the time, because he could continue to ride both since Rachel Alexandra was not going to run in the Preakness or Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

But then Rachel Alexandra, by Medaglia d'Oro  , was sold and Borel had a decision to make. After being purchased by Jess Jackson and Harold McCormick, Rachel Alexandra was moved from trainer Hal Wiggins to the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen.

"I never dreamed (I would be in this situation), because Mr. Hal had a plan (that did not include the Preakness)," Borel said while speaking from Louisville, Ky., via speaker phone to reporters at Pimlico. Borel will fly to Baltimore the evening of May 15.

"I was at the barn the morning they came to get her and I had tears in my eyes," Borel continued. "They said, ‘She’s yours if you want to ride her,’ and that meant a lot to me. I told them regardless of where they run her, I would ride her."

Now Borel is in the situation where if he wins the Preakness, it will be at the expense of the Birdstone   colt he won the Derby on.

"Really, there was no decision to make," Borel said. "If the filly had been in the Derby, I would have ridden her."

Borel said that on the morning of the Preakness he will speak to Mike Smith, who trainer Chip Woolley named to ride the Derby winner.

"I will speak to Mike; Chip asked me to do that," Borel said. "Mike knows how to ride but maybe there is something I can tell him that will help. I think the horse has put on weight since the Derby. The Derby didn’t seem to take much out of him."

Because he had to make a decision as to who to ride, Borel said there is some added pressure in the Preakness. "She (Rachel Alexandra) has a lot to prove and I do, too, because I said she’s the best horse. But if Mine That Bird wins, I will be the first to congratulate them."

Borel is not predicting that situation arising, however.

"This filly has an unbelievable stride," he said. "Not a fast stride, but a big stride. If she’s as good as I think, we will prove better than these."

Then Borel can go home a happy man, though his grass will need mowing again.
by Dan Liebman/The Blood-Horse
Friday, May 15, 2009

Jockey life's a bumpy ride

As glamorous as it might seem during the Triple Crown races, a jockey's career features a daily grind of win some, lose some and hope to go home with money in your pocket and every limb intact.

"It's definitely a job," said Perry Ouzts, 54, who has 36 years of jockey experience, much of it at River Downs and Turfway Park. "And it feels like a job without much security sometimes when you don't know where your next paycheck is coming from - unless you win. Now that's a thrill you can't get anywhere else."

Horse racing is taking its annual trip through the sporting limelight with the Preakness Stakes coming Saturday as the second stage of the Triple Crown series. Jockey Calvin Borel made news by himself when he declared he would switch mounts from Mine That Bird, whom Borel rode to a Kentucky Derby victory, in order to ride filly Rachel Alexandra in Saturday's race. Television cameras will focus on Borel and writers will chronicle his style and strategy, lavishing attention upon the jockey as though he were a Hollywood celebrity.

But then there is the jockey room at River Downs where men - and one woman this season - try to string together a living by fearlessly mounting 1,100-pound animals several times per day. Their job is no different than Borel's, except that the horses they ride aren't as elite and the money exchanged is far less.

At all tracks, the only significant sum of money for jockeys comes in the winner's circle, where the jockey gets 10 percent of the horse owner's winnings. Most races at River Downs are low-stakes affairs, which means a jockey might collect $300 for a victory. Of that, 25 percent goes to an agent and 10 percent goes to the valet who maintains the jockey's equipment. That leaves the jockey with about $200 after a race with a $5,000 purse. And he or she still has to pay for insurance, food and travel expenses.

And for the jockeys who don't win? They get mount fees of $38-$45 with the same percentage of payouts directed to the agents, valets and other expenditures. In other words, every jockey but the winner risks his or her life each race for $17-$20.

"That's why most jockeys can only ride for two or three years before they have to give it up," said Rodney Prescott, a mid-career jockey who consistently has made his way to the winner's circle. "If you don't win, there's not much there."

A jockey who isn't getting regular mounts isn't making much money - if any at all. When he's healthy, Ouzts has little trouble getting mounts. Even at his age, trainers want Ouzts on their horses because of his proven talent. Through Thursday, Ouzts was the leading rider this meet, with 26 victories.

Twenty-four-year-old Erin Wilkinson, however, doesn't have near the name recognition as Ouzts, nor the riding opportunities. She's in her apprentice year as a jockey, which means she is allowed to ride with less weight than other jockeys in order to encourage trainers to hire her. Still, she usually gets no more than a few mounts per day at River Downs, which is a 90-minute commute from her home in Kentucky.

"I've had trainers tell me that they don't ride women," Wilkinson said. "So sometimes it's tougher to get people to believe in you. I just want to ride, and so far, I think I've made a good impression. We'll see how the rest of the meet goes."

Prescott is so aggressive in seeking rides that he frequently rides during the day at River Downs and then drives more than an hour to Indiana Downs in Shelbyville to ride at night. It can make for good business for an accomplished rider like Prescott, 35, who uses his career to support his wife and two young daughters. But it also can lead to exhaustion.

"And it also makes for a very long day when I go 0-for-15," Prescott said. "One time, though, I had a really good streak going where I won 21 races in seven days at both tracks. But it's draining because I work every weekend and every holiday except for Christmas and Easter."

Some 1,800 jockeys ride horses throughout the United States. Most are like those at River Downs who either came from foreign riding schools or were eager, young Americans who hung around the backside barns long enough until a trainer gave them a chance to ride.

For a lasting career, a jockey must win and maintain a weight around 110 pounds - the means include exercise, fasting and, in extreme cases, forced vomiting - but the median time span is less than two years. The working conditions can be dangerous, with about 2,500 jockey injuries happening every year. Wilkinson took two spills during the winter meet at Turfway Park and suffered a concussion after the second one. Felix Chavez, the clerk of scales at River Downs, is a former jockey who broke his back in five places during his jockey career and experienced the feeling of being run over by 10 horses. Ouzts has broken nearly every bone in his body except for his right leg.

"I loved being a jockey," Chavez said. "But it's dangerous. The most dangerous job in the world as far as I'm concerned."

Once a jockey survives the first two years, it becomes easier to make a career that can last for more than a decade, according to the Jockey Guild. So a riding career spent winning races at tracks like River Downs, Turfway Park and Beulah Park in Grove City can be satisfying, although recognition doesn't exist past the track cafeteria.

"A track like this, it's kind of like the minor leagues," Ouzts said of River Downs. "You try to eke out a living and keep showing up for work every day, hoping the job will still be there."
By Dustin Dow

Friday, May 15, 2009



One race earlier, Tom Amoss became the ninth trainer in track history to saddle 300 local winners when Maggi Moss’ McGlamery Road prevailed in the fifth.


“I hope this is the start to a great weekend,” said Borel, who is scheduled to ride Kentucky Oaks champ Rachel Alexandra in Saturday’s 134th running of the $1.1 million Preakness Stakes – the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown. Two weeks ago, Borel rode Mine That Bird to an upset win in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, but Borel and his 19-year agent Jerry Hissam agreed to ride the 20 ¼-length Oaks champ in the Preakness.


Only Pat Day (2,482 wins), Don Brumfield (925) and Larry Melancon (907) have won more races at Churchill Downs than Borel, a 42-year-old native of St. Martin, La. who won local riding titles at the 1999 and 2006 Fall Meets.


Amoss, the 47-year-old New Orleans native who won Spring Meet training titles in 2002 and ’08, joined an elite cast of horseman to win at least 300 races at Churchill Downs: Bill Mott (615), D. Wayne Lukas (466), Dale Romans (460), Bernie Flint (411), Jack Van Berg (335), Angel Montano Sr. (319), Steve Asmussen (314) and Forrest Kaelin (309).  Churchill Downs Communications Department

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


        “It feels good,” Leparoux said. “I’ll feel even better when I get 1,001. Each victory feels a little bit better. There are so many people that have helped me along the way, including [trainer Patrick] Biancone, who helped me from the start to my agent Steve Bass, trainers like Mike Maker and great owners such as Ken and Sarah Ramsey. There are too many good people to mention, but I’d like to thank all of the owners and trainers who gave me the opportunity to ride their horses.”
The 25-year-old native of Senlis, France is in the midst of his fifth year as a professional jockey. Leparoux won his first race on Aug. 18, 2005 at Saratoga Race Course and has ascended ever since.
In 2006, he won a career-high 403 races while his mounts earned a personal-best $12.4 million. The impressive year-end statistics – he led all jockeys in races won – resulted in an Eclipse Award as North America’s top apprentice rider.
Leparoux has amassed 87 stakes wins, including 53 in graded races. His most notable wins came aboard Nownownow in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Forever Together in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Leparoux is also the regular rider of top older horse Einstein-BRZ, who prevailed in last fall’s Grade II Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs and this year’s Grade I Santa Anita Handicap and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic.
“It’s nice when you can ride good horses like Einstein, Forever Together and [2009 Humana Distaff champ] Informed Decision,” Leparoux said. “So far, it’s been a fun run. Hopefully, we can keep it going and have a very good year.”
The Frenchman is a four-time leading rider at Churchill Downs: Spring 2006 (87 wins), Spring ’07 (69), Fall ’07 (27) and Fall ’08 (record 63). Last fall, Leparoux rode seven winners at the Louisville racetrack on Veterans Day to match legendary Pat Day’s single-day track record. Churchill Downs Communications Department
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pimlico Jockey Challenge Set for Friday


Riders will accumulate points for finishing first (12), second (6), third (4), and fourth (3) in each race with the winner of the series receiving $14,000. Other prize money includes $10,000 for finishing second, $8,000 for third, and $3,500 for fourth through eighth.

Races involved in the challenge will be the third, a $26,000 allowance; the fifth, an optional allowance claiming test; the seventh, a $30,000 allowance; and the 10th, another optional allowance-claimer.

Through yesterday, Gomez leads the earnings list for the year with $6,788,023 followed in order by Julien Leparoux ($6,261,152), Rafael Bejarano ($6,252,166), and Ramon Dominguez ($5,164,351). Preakness-winning jockeys are Desormeaux (Real Quiet in 1998 and Big Brown   in 2008), Javier Castellano (Bernardini   in 2006), and Mike Smith (Prairie Bayou in 1993). Mario Pino has visited the winners’ circle nearly 5,000 times at Pimlico and Laurel.
"It's an honor to be considered and involved," said Dominguez, who led the nation with 431 wins while riding in Maryland in 2001. "Everything beyond that is a plus. I guess the track handicapper (Frank Carulli) is doing the handicapping and it'll be set up so everybody has a fair shot. And, it's definitely for a good cause so everything is well with it."

All the jockeys will participate in a morning autograph session in the Pimlico grandstand and a special souvenir poster will be made available.

The Maryland Jockey Club is making a $5,000 contribution to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and teaming with the Jockey's Guild for this event, a four-race competition. The Blood-Horse

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Do Jockeys Matter in Horse Races?

Yes, but only a little. Horse-racing enthusiasts like to say that the jockey accounts for 10 percent of a horse's performance on any given day. While that's hardly scientific, it gets to the nut of a jockey's role: He can't do much with a lousy horse, but he can help a great horse win. The best jockeys know an animal's strengths and weaknesses. Some horses prefer to hang back and break at the last minute, while others, known as speed horses, like to be out front the whole time. Some horses are comfortable running in close quarters and can pass along the rail on the left, while others need more space and pass on the right. A jockey takes these factors into account and adjusts his strategy accordingly.

Borel's Derby win was a perfect example of how a jockey can decide a race. Borel, knowing that Mine That Bird likes to hang back, stayed behind for most of the race, only to rocket ahead in the last three-eighths of a mile. (Watch the video here.) He was also able to drive Mine That Bird through a series of narrow gaps between horses. Not all jockeys would be willing to take that risk—horses are more likely to get cramped and trip while threading the needle—but Borel is known for it. Hugging the rail is a signature move that has earned him the nickname, "Bo-rail." (Other jockeys are known as speed riders, although the labels are not particularly strict.)

Good jockeys also research the competition. They review videos of other horses and read the Daily Racing Form for updates on their performances that then inform strategy. If three speed horses are entering your race, for example, you might want to let them battle it out for the frontrunner position and surge once they get tired. Jockeys also need to know the track. For example, the way the water runs off may leave the inside path drier than the rest, making it a more attractive place to be. Meanwhile, the Pimlico track, where the Preakness takes place, has a reputation for favoring speed over come-from-behind horses.

Jockeys also have very particular physical characteristics. Controlling a horse at 40 miles per hour requires a rare combination of strength and lightness. Jockeys tend to weigh between 109 and 116 pounds and eat very little in the days before a race. Finally, the best jockeys can relate to horses—they know how to keep them calm in tense race situations.

Bonus Explainer: Do jockeys make a lot of money? Only if they win. Most races pay out prize money to the top four or five finishers; jockeys get to keep 10 percent of those winnings. Any jockey who doesn't get a prize will receive between $40 and $100 as a "mount fee" for each race, depending on the state and track. In 2008, the top jockey won $23 million in prize money, which means he took home roughly $2 million. The top 14 jockeys last year reaped more than $1 million each. But after that, the numbers drop off. After expenses—jockeys have to pay their agents 25 percent of their winnings, plus another 10 percent for valets who take care of their equipment—the typical jockey makes between $100,000 and $200,000 a year.

Got a question about today's news? Ask the Explainer.

Explainer thanks Michael Dempsey of Turf 'n' Sport, Frank Garza of Frank Garza Jockey School, Terry Meyocks of Meyocks & O'Hara Racing Enterprises, and Ron Mitchell of the Blood-Horsemagazine.

Christopher Beamis a Slate political reporter.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009



In turn, the jockeys will donate money from the Preakness Stakes sponsorship to The Jockey Club Foundation, a charitable trust that provides financial assistance to needy people in the industry and their families, primarily backstretch workers.


A similar agreement for the Kentucky Derby resulted in $200,000 in donations to racing charities including a $150,000 donation from the jockeys to be evenly split between the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) while WinStar Farm’s Bill Casner pledged $50,000 to the PDJF.


The total amount of money raised for racing charities through last year’s Triple Crown season, 2008 Jockey Club Gold Cup and this year’s Kentucky Derby stands at $956,000.  Through the NetJets sponsorship, the jockeys have donated a total of $531,000 while NetJets, Richard Santulli and Bill Casner have combined to contribute $425,000.


“NetJets is honored once again to continue its sponsorship of the jockeys through the remaining Triple Crown races,” said Richard T. Santulli, chairman and CEO of NetJets. “We recognize and respect their abilities on the track as well as their dedication to the important charities that work hard to support all jockeys and their families.”


“We are extremely pleased to continue this relationship with NetJets and hope that it continues through the entire Triple Crown,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.  “Thanks to NetJets, Richard Santulli, Bill Casner, the Derby owners and the jockeys, a substantial sum of money was raised for two worthy charities.  I am particularly proud of the contribution the jockeys have made, not only to their own charity, but also other charities that benefit backstretch workers and the horses.  Heading into the Preakness Stakes, we will be able to help out another racing charity because of the continued commitment of NetJets, Richard Santulli and the jockeys.  It is critical that these charitable organizations continue to receive donations because of the positive effect they have on both the people and horses so important to the industry.”









About NetJets Inc.

NetJets Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the worldwide leader in private aviation and provides the safest and most secure private aviation solutions.  NetJets fractional aircraft ownership allows individuals and companies to buy a share of a private business jet at a fraction of the cost of the whole aircraft ownership, and guarantees availability 365 days a year with just a few hours notice.  The NetJets

programs worldwide offer the largest and most diversified fleet in private aviation, which includes 15 of the most popular business jets in the world.  Access to the NetJets fleet is also available in the form of a short-term lease, sold on a pre-paid basis in 25-hour increments, through an exclusive alliance with Marquis Jet Partners.  NetJets Inc. also offers aircraft management, charter management, and on-demand charter services through its subsidiary, Executive Jet Management.  More information on NetJets, the Marquis Jet Program and Executive Jet Management is available at

Tuesday, May 12, 2009



Because certain milestones were met in an agreement reached in October, 2007, losing mount fees have been increased from a minimum of $55 to $70.  The increase is now in effect.


“We are very grateful for the cooperation of the board of the Finger Lakes HBPA and its president, Dave Brown,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.  “They stood up during difficult times and honored an agreement that was made in the fall of 2007.   Herbie Rivera, the Guild’s regional manager, is also to be commended for his hard work on behalf of the Finger Lakes jockeys.   The jockeys hope to work together with the horsemen on other issues facing racing in the area.”


This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation at California tracks and negotiated increases at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Hawthorne, Arlington, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder, the Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, Evangeline Downs, Delta Downs, Tampa Bay Downs, Turf Paradise, Yavapai Downs, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, Delaware Park, Charles Town and Prairie Meadows.  Jockeys at Philadelphia Park and Penn National have also received raises in their losing mount fees.  Negotiations are ongoing in other racing jurisdictions.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Vitek to Undergo Stem Cell Transplant

Vitek, 35, has been undergoing chemotherapy at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center since his doctors told him his leukemia had returned. The last round of Vitek’s chemotherapy treatment is May 10 and nine days later he will go in for his transplant. He is hopeful for a full recovery.
“The doctors said the donor is not a perfect match, but close enough,” said Vitek May 8. “They say they will know in 15 to 25 days after the transplant if it was successful. After that, I have to stay close to the hospital for about 100 days to make sure everything is going OK. I’m hopeful.”
Vitek, who grew up about an hour west of Houston, has many of his friends and family with him during this trying time. He is hoping to return to his home in Sulfur, Ky., to be closer to his daughter, Bree, when his treatments are over. Getting healthy is the only thing on his mind right now.
“The chemo is the hardest part,” Vitek said. “It takes its toll on you and all the people around you. The best way I can describe it is it’s like having the flu for a month. You just feel so horrible all the time and it makes you moody and cranky. It’s no fun, but you have to do it.”
Vitek, who was diagnosed with myelogenous leukemia in February 2008, underwent his initial round of chemotherapy at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital during that year. After months of treatment, in which medical costs were helped offset by an April fundraiser that included many from the Thoroughbred industry, doctors told him the disease had gone into remission. A professional rider since 1993, Vitek returned to the racetrack Feb. 14, 2009 at Turfway Park, getting his first mount in nearly a year.
But after riding only four races, Vitek began feeling ill again. He had more tests done and doctors told him his Leukemia had returned.
“It was devastating,” Vitek said. “It’s hard to keep your spirits up. After a while though, you have to learn to fight.”
Vitek began riding professionally at Sunland Park in New Mexico, and also enjoyed success at Turf Paradise and Emerald Downs. Eventually, he moved east to become a regular on the Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana circuits.
In his career, Vitek has won 739 races from 8,056 mounts. His biggest victory came aboard Miss Pickums in the 2000 Golden Rod (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
Jason Shandler/The Blood-Horse
Friday, May 08, 2009

Casner: Build on KY Derby Sponsorships


Bill Casner, co-owner of WinStar Farm, which had three horses in this year’s Derby at Churchill Downs, said May 7 he plans to work to “try to structure something palatable for everyone.” There were rumblings the week of May 3 that not everyone was happy with the Derby sponsorship hammered out by the company and the jockeys.

Casner, who was involved in the Derby sponsorship tied to charitable causes, said there may have been misperceptions because “everything came down at the 11th hour, and everybody was scrambling around to get approval.” The official Derby field wasn’t known until April 29, which left the Jockeys’ Guild and others with three days to get approval from 20 owners for jockeys to wear the NetJets logo in the race.

NetJets, whose chairman is Thoroughbred owner Richard Santulli, contributed $15,000 for each jockey; 19 horses raced, so the total was $285,000. Of that, $75,000 went to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and $75,000 to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

“What the process revealed is that there has to be more planning,” Casner said. “We’re going to work on that. But the (NetJets Derby sponsorship) was a win-win. (The Jockeys’ Guild) did a yeoman’s job contacting owners and working with the jockeys.”

Guild national manager Terry Meyocks said NetJets sponsorships, which began last year, along with other contributions have produced $956,000 for various charities. Meyocks said the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Churchill Downs “got the ball rolling” in 2008.

“We had a great conversation (with Casner and others),” Meyocks said. “We don’t want to close people out of this. The riders, and Richard Santulli and Bill Casner, should be commended for what they do, not questioned.”

Casner said he personally isn’t looking to make money from sponsorships. “We want to make money off of our core business,” he said. “As a group, owners want to be generous. Good things always happen when everyone gets into a room. Everyone can have input and be part of the process. I think all owners agree it’s a good thing.”

Further talks will be held this summer, Casner and Meyocks said. Jockeys Kent Desormeaux, Garrett Gomez, Julien Leparoux, Edgar Prado, and John Velazquez are among those who have taken leadership roles, they said.
Casner said jockeys have a right to make money through sponsorships, and that “allocating the lion’s share of the money to charities” is a positive for the industry. He is particularly interested in supporting the PDJF, which provides funds for disabled riders.

“There has to be awareness created for riders,” he said. “We would like to work with the riders to increase the visibility of the (PDJF). We should probably include exercise riders and backstretch help. If a groom gets hurt, we need to provide some assistance. Sometimes they become invisible on the backside.”

Casner said he would focus on the Derby for corporate sponsorships involving jockeys and owners.

“It has to happen,” he said. “Both are involved, and both of them have to sign off. I’m speaking strictly of Kentucky and the Derby; other states have different rules (on sponsorships in races). The Derby is a special event, and we can create focus and awareness.”  Tom LaMarra/The Blood-Horse

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Health Plan for New Jersey Jockeys Launched

The fund, known as the New Jersey State Jockey Health and Welfare Trust, was endowed by money generated from handle at the state’s off-track betting facilities. Since the opening of the first OTB parlor in 2007, money has been held in escrow by the New Jersey Racing Commission; the first release of funds came just two weeks ago.

“This plan will revolutionize healthcare in the racing industry,” said Angelo Chinnici, medical director for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns Monmouth Park and Meadowlands. “The steps taken in creating this trust for New Jersey riders are a prime example of how Monmouth Park takes care of its own and remains committed to the health, safety, and welfare of our riders.”

In addition to funds generated by OTB handle, the trust will receive funds from the riders who are members of the group. Jockeys will pay $15 per New Jersey mount fee, up to 300 races per year, to the trust fund in order to pay the premium for the insurance policy, which is written by United Healthcare.

Robert Kulina, vice president of racing and general manager at Monmouth; Terry Meyocks, Jockey’s Guild national manager; and jockeys Joe Bravo, Chris DeCarlo, and Chuck Lopez will serve as trustees.  Chinnici will serve as the trust’s medical adviser; Dennis Drazin will serve as legal adviser; and, Tom Kennedy will serve as the trust’s attorney.

In order to qualify for inclusion as a member in the catalog health plan, a jockey must ride in New Jersey for a specific period; ride a certain number of races; or a combination of both. A formula to determine jockey eligibility was established by the trustees, advisers, and NJRC executive director Frank Zanzuccki.

New Jersey becomes the fourth state to provide health insurance to its jockeys, following California, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

The 2009 Monmouth racing season runs from May 9-Sept. 27. 
From Monmouth Park/Blood-Horse
Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The ride of his life - again

Calvin Borel won the Kentucky Derby last Saturday aboard 50-1 shot Mine That Bird with a spectacular rail-skimming ride, the second time in three years that he has elicited praise for his cunning and skills in the Derby. A relative unknown before taking the 2007 race aboard Street Sense, Borel has joined an exclusive group by becoming just the 23rd jockey with two or more Derby wins.

Of the prior 22, only one, the late Chris Antley, has yet to be elected to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.

"The Hall of Fame?" Borel said, shaking his head as if the thought had never crossed his mind. "Oh, man, I don't know about any of that."

Of course he doesn't. As focused as Borel is, he does not care about the pomp and ceremonial trappings that coincide with major racing events or individual accomplishments. He is all about riding horses, winning races, and little else.

Ask him for dates, names, numbers, or riding titles, and you're likely to get a puzzled look and a shrug. But ask him about something like the wild ride he took on Mine That Bird, and he will joyfully take you through every step from post 8 in the field of 19.

"We kind of got squeezed at the start, and he grabbed hold of the bit for a second, but then I got him to turn it right off," said Borel, 42. "I thought, 'Well, that's good, I don't have to fight him.' "

Past the wire the first time, Borel already was hugging the rail while at least six lengths behind Mr. Hot Stuff, the second-to-last horse.

"Calvin and I had talked about him taking the horse back 10 lengths or so," said Bennie Woolley Jr., trainer of Mine That Bird. "He's a little horse that can't take a lot of bumping and banging. He can't absorb it. But by the time they hit the backside, I could tell Calvin was real comfortable. I knew then we weren't going to run last."

With a half-mile to go, Mine That Bird was still last but ready to roll. Borel noticed that "everybody was already riding their horses" and decided he would take his chances by staying on the rail. Approaching the three-eighths pole, the first horse he needed to slip past was West Side Bernie, ridden by Stewart Elliott.

"I yelled, 'Stew, Stew!' and he give me a little shot, let me come on through there," Borel said.

Mine That Bird immediately began to pass horses in clumps. Nearing the quarter pole, Borel had to maneuver around Atomic Rain, the only opponent he would pass from the outside. Borel quickly angled back inside and soon came upon a wall of horses near the eighth pole, with the early leader, Join in the Dance, racing closest to the rail - but with just enough room to his inside for a horse to get through.

"After I made the bend, I saw the hole on the rail, and I said, 'That's us,' " Borel said. "When we had to go through there, the little horse switched to his left lead and then back to his right, like he knew what he was doing."

The rest was easy. Mine That Bird drew off to win by 6 3/4 lengths, the largest margin of victory in the Derby since Assault won by eight lengths in 1946.

For Borel, the victory was even more emotional than his 2007 triumph. His father, Clovis, died in 2004, and although his mother, Ella, watched him win aboard Street Sense from a Louisiana nursing home, she has since died, too. Talking about his parents, Borel momentarily broke into tears while being interviewed by NBC's Donna Brothers on horseback just a minute or two after winning the race.

"My mom and daddy," he wailed. "If they could only be here to see what I accomplished in my life."

Borel's ride is being roundly acclaimed. Pat Day, the retired Hall of Fame jockey in whose shadow Borel rode for years at Churchill and other Midwestern tracks, said Tuesday: "I don't know that any other rider in the country would've won or could've won on that horse. Over the years, Calvin acquired an intuitive sense about when he can or can't go through on the fence. Obviously, it's something that works for him."

Trainer Cecil Borel, Calvin's older brother and mentor, said the many years of hard work and lessons learned have allowed his brother to achieve things beyond his wildest dreams.

"My wife and I spent our whole lives taking that young boy in, keeping him on the right road," said Cecil Borel, who is nearly 13 years older. "There are so many boys back home in Louisiana who could've made it like him, but it just doesn't happen. He's come a long way - a long way."

Borel will be back aboard Mine That Bird on May 16 when the gelding runs in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the 134th Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

"I'm going to ride him the same way," Borel said, "but I don't think we'll get as far back. If he gives me the same turn of foot, I'll be happy."

  Marty McGee/David Grening - Daily Racing Form

Monday, May 04, 2009

Daniel Centeno Named Tampa Bay Leading Rider

Centeno had 138 victories this year, just short of his record 144 wins during the 2007-2008 meet, and had nearly $2 million in purses. Centeno will take his tack to Monmouth Park over the summer, and plans to return to ride at Tampa when racing resumes again in December.  Tampa Bay Communications Department
Monday, May 04, 2009


            Visitors to trainer Chip Woolley and owners Mark Allen of Double Eagle Ranch and Dr. Leonard Blach of Bueno Suerte Equine included three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, trainer of Derby 135 runner-upPioneerof the Nile; winning jockey Calvin Borel; and Tom McCarthy, the owner-trainer of General Quarters the winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI) and 10th to Mine That Bird in Saturday’s race.

            There was also a live appearance by Woolley, Borel, Allen and Blach on NBC’s “Sunday Today” that included an appearance by the Kentucky Derby winner, as the horse stood behind the winning connections grazed in front of Barn 42 while wearing the winner’s saddle towel that bore the official Kentucky Derby 135 logo and the images of roses in the area that covered Mine That Bird’s withers.

            Woolley, whose stable is based at New Mexico’s Sunland Park, said Mine That Bird was doing well after the race, and the gelding validated that assessment as he nibbled at the Churchill Downs grass and never turned a hair as a sizable crowd of reporters, videographers and well-wishers looked on.

            “It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Woolley.  “It’s actually a little bit hard to get your arms around right at the moment.  It’s hard to believe that you actually came in here and won this thing.”

            The 45-year-old Woolley admitted to getting little more than an hour of sleep after the biggest win of his training career.  Allen, when asked about how the night of celebration had gone, said “It’s still going,” and drew a hearty laugh from media members present on the morning after America’s greatest race.

            Woolley said it will be a while before a decision is made on a possible bid for the $1 million Preakness (GI), the second jewel of the Triple Crown that will be run at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course on May 16.

            “We’ll decide that today or tomorrow,” Woolley said.  “Me and the owners will meet and have a little discussion.  It really wasn’t something that was on our radar, so we’ll decide on it.  We were looking to run the horse farther anyway, so we’ll just have to see what it brings today.

            “You’ve got to do what’s best for the horse, and the horse comes first.  So we’ll just see what happens.”

            Blach and Allen agreed that the condition of Mine That Bird would be the basis for the ultimate decision on a Preakness bid, but Allen was most enthusiastic about the notion.

            “We’re going to let the horse tell us that,” he said.  “This horse is doing good and comes off this race good, you bet we’ll run, but he’s going to have to tell us.”

            All three credited the patient, ground-saving ride by jockey Calvin Borel as being the key to the upset victory by the 50-1 shot, the second-largest upset in the 135-year history of the “Run for the Roses.”  Mine That Bird was last in the field of 19 on the first run through the stretch after being jostled shortly after leaving the starting gate.

            “The one-run was definitely the plan and we had talked about being eight-to-10 (lengths) from the lead,” Woolley said.  “I had felt all along that’s where the horse needed to be, but we had just never gotten that trip.  When he got annihilated leaving there – this is a little horse, he’s not very big – and when he got banged around leaving there, we were really concerned right away about that.  I had told the press before that he couldn’t take a bunch of beating, so when he got shuffled that far back, I actually wasn’t too high on my chances when he came by me at the grandstand way last.  But the horse responded and Calvin done a super job of riding the horse.  So we’re just lucky to have been there.”

            “It’s truly an honor to be a part of it, but I’m telling you guys that this horse never got nearly enough credit for his ability.  You earned your way here.  It’s not like we just paid him in here and brought him.  The horse earned his way here and he deserved a chance to run in the Derby.  He was doing super, the horse was training good and we just felt like he had earned his spot here and we had to come and take ‘em on.  He anted up, I’m telling you.  He’ll leave it on the track every time.”

            Baffert, who spent more than a little time racing in New Mexico and at Sunland Park, dropped by the barn and said “Where’s that cowboy who beat me?”

            After offering best wishes to Woolley, Allen and Blach, Borel arrived and receive a hearty handshake from Baffert, who told Borel that this weekend, which began with Borel’s 20 ¼-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks aboard Rachel Alexandra and reached its peak with his unlikely romp in the Kentucky Derby, had earned the Louisiana native a spot in racing’s Hall of Fame.

            “He’s the only one who could have pulled that off,” Baffert said of Borel’s ride.  “What he did was just incredible.  He won that race.  He sat back there and I watched the replay – and he’s last at the three-eighths pole – you just don’t do that.  He weaved his way through there and everybody knows that the rail’s the place to be, but everybody gets off of it.  I think he deserves a lot of credit, but that guy that trained him (Woolley), he did a great job with this horse.  This horse was ready and he trained him, and even though he vanned him here an it was like “Casey’s Shadow,” they got here and they won the biggest race.”


PIONEEROF THE NILE (Second) – Trainer Bob Baffert was noncommittal about a run in the Preakness for Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile.

            “He looks good this morning, but I want to give him a couple of days and see how he comes out of it,” Baffert said.

            The Zayat Stables’ color bearer had his four-race win streak snapped Saturday when he finished 6 ¾ lengths behind Mine That Bird.

            “I saw Garrett (jockey Garrett Gomez) at the three-eighths pole and he was loaded and at the quarter pole he was still loaded,” Baffert said. “I didn’t see anything coming and I thought ‘Mine!’ Then that horse (Mine That Bird) went by me and I was like ‘What happened?’ My horse was battling with the others (Musket Man and Papa Clem) … it was a shocker.

             “If he had won, I thought he had a shot at the Triple Crown. He can get the distance and he runs his race every time, Maybe the ‘Bird’ is for real.”


MUSKET MAN (Third) – Eric Fein and Vic Carlson’s Musket Man was scheduled to leave for Monmouth Park on Sunday.

            “We will give it a few days,” trainer Derek Ryan said about making a decision on the Preakness. “I am sure the owners are looking at it.”

            Musket Man now has a career record of five wins and two thirds in seven starts and Ryan was happy with the colt’s effort Saturday.

            “I can’t complain. He had the two hole and I wish he could have stayed there, but he got bumped out of there,” Ryan said. “The rail was golden.

            “You need the right kind of horse for a race like this. He has great temperament. He never schooled in the paddock and he might have been the best one in there. He’s got class and (Oaks winner) Rachel Alexandra, she never went to the paddock or gate.”


PAPA CLEM (Fourth) – Trainer Gary Stute said Sunday morning that Bo Hirsch’s Papa Clem would remain on the Triple Crown trail after his fourth-place finish Saturday behind Mine That Bird.

            “With a little luck, I think he could have been second,” Stute said. “We will probably stay here a few days but we will go to Baltimore when there is a flight.

            “He may go back to the track here, but I want to get him to Pimlico and have a work over the track before the Preakness.”

            Papa Clem was in a three-horse photo for second with Pioneerof the Nile and Musket Man, finishing a head in back of Musket Man after being bumped near the sixteenth pole by Pioneerof the Nile.

            “I thought we might get put up,” said Stute, who noted Papa Clem came out of the race with “one little scratch.”


CHOCOLATE CANDY (Fifth) – Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was on a plane Sunday morning jetting back to California, but his right-hand man – Galen May – was keeping a watchful eye on his Kentucky Derby runner Chocolate Candy, who had finished fifth in the mile and a quarter run on a “sloppy” track Saturday.

            “He was trying to bite me this morning, so you know he’s fine,” May noted.

            The Candy Ride colt had taken his share of flying mud racing on the inside for most of the trip, a point both Hollendorfer and May said they thought affected the good-sized bay.

            “It’s too bad he couldn’t have gotten clear to do some running,” May said, “but sometimes things work out that way.”

            Chocolate Candy had gone off at odds of exactly 10-1 and had picked up a check for $60,000 for running fifth, beaten 13 lengths.

            May said the horse had come back without any nicks or cuts and had no problem cleaning his feed tub Saturday night. He also noted that he was likely to head back to California shortly and train up to the Belmont Stakes on June 6.

            “His breeding and style say he should like that mile and a half,” May said.


SUMMER BIRD (Sixth) – K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman’sSummer Bird was scheduled to ship Monday morning at 5 o’clock to Louisiana Downs, according to trainer Tim Ice.

“We have never thought about the Preakness; maybe the Belmont,” Ice said. “I have no interest at all in the Preakness because that track doesn’t suit his style of running.”

Ice said Summer Bird came out of the race in good order.

“He came back playing last night,” Ice said. “He galloped out second after the wire; the only one ahead of him was the other Birdstone (winner Mine That Bird).

“I was happy with his race. It was only his fourth race and he can only improve. He got lots of experience yesterday. He beat some nice horses and it proved we were not totally out of our minds.”


JOIN IN THE DANCE (Seventh), DUNKIRK (11th), ADVICE (13th) – Trainer Todd Pletcher reported some minor wounds, but no major damage, to his heralded Kentucky Derby runner Dunkirk, while stating at the same time that his other two competitors – Advice and Join in the Dance – had come out of the eventful renewal none the worse for wear.

            Dunkirk took the worst of it,” the five-time Eclipse Award winner said. “He’s got his share of nicks and cuts and he also grabbed a quarter on his left hind (leg). I think someone had to do it to him during the running. Where it is, it isn’t likely he did it to himself.

            “He stumbled coming away from there, then he stumbled for several jumps just after they got running heading up the straight. Then he got caught in some of the jostling you always get in this race going through the stretch the first time. Add in the fact that that track was just what we didn’t want it to be – drying out and heavy – and it never allowed him to get a real grip on it. He just never got a chance to get in a rhythm.”

            Dunkirk had gone off in Derby 135 at 5-1 and had finished 11th, beaten 19 lengths by 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird.

            Pletcher said Dunkirk and his stablemate Take the Points would ship to his barn in New York at Belmont Park. Dunkirk’s next start was up in the air at the moment, but Take the Points, who was eligible to run in the Kentucky Derby but took a pass, would be prepared for a go in the May 16 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

            Both Advice and Join in the Dance returned to Barn 38 after their Derby adventures in good shape and both “would be staying in Kentucky for right now,” according to Pletcher.

            Advice had gone off at 49-1 in the mile and a quarter race and had finished 13th, 21 lengths behind the winner. Join in the Dance had performed the best of the barn’s runners, setting the pace in the race into the stretch, then holding on to finish seventh, beaten just over 14 lengths, despite his 51-1 odds.

            “Join in the Dance was still bouncing after the race,” the trainer said. “He’s such a high-energy horse and we were proud of how well he did yesterday. There’s a chance he could come back in the Preakness. I’ll have to talk to his owners and see what they want to do.”

            Join in the Dance, a Sky Mesa colt, is owned by Jake Ballis, Reagan Swinbank and Orlando Magic pro basketball player Rashard Lewis.


REGAL RANSOM (Eighth), DESERT PARTY (14th) – Both of the Godolphin colts, Desert Party and Regal Ransom, were fine Sunday morning, said Henry Spiller, an assistant to trainer Rick Mettee.

            The colts are scheduled to be shipped back to Belmont Park on Tuesday. They are not being pointed toward the Preakness.

            Regal Ransom, winner of the UAE Derby in his final start before the Derby, attended the pace set by Join in the Dance in the opening mile of the race. The Distorted Humor colt, sent off at odds of 22-1, finished eighth, 14¾ lengths behind the winner, Mine That Bird.

            Desert Party, who was bumped at the start, was forwardly placed, about three lengths behind the leaders, by jockey Ramon Dominguez for a mile. He dropped out of contention in the second turn and finished 14th.


WEST SIDE BERNIE (Ninth), ATOMIC RAIN (16th) – George and Lori Hall’sWest Side Bernie and Atomic Rain were scheduled to return to Monmouth Park on Sunday after their Kentucky Derby efforts.

“They came out of the race fine,” Breen said. “We are going to regroup and see what happens, but we are not looking at anything in two weeks.”


GENERAL QUARTERS (10th) – Owner/trainer Tom McCarthy said that General Quarters came out of Derby 135 in good order, but with no plans to continue on to the Preakness.

            “The only excuse I can find for him was that he was not getting over the ground good,” McCarthy said. “I think we will go ahead and regroup and see what direction to go in. The Northern Dancer (on June 13 at Churchill Downs) is a possibility.”

            The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) winner raced in midpack most of the way around in splitting the field.

            “He got bumped coming out of the gate and pushed to the inside, which is where we didn’t want to be,” McCarthy said. “He just wasn’t striding out like he usually does and one thing I learned yesterday is that I will keep him off wet tracks.

            “He is better than what he showed yesterday.”


HOLD ME BACK (12th) -- Elliott Walden, vice president and racing manger for WinStar Farm, said Sunday that Hold Me Back was fine and would be given a break. Walden wasn’t sure whether the colt would stay with trainer Bill Mott or be sent to the farm during his hiatus.

        “He’s good,” Walden said. “He scoped good and looks like he came out of it OK. We’re going to regroup and go from there. He’s had a pretty solid six weeks.”

            Hold Me Back won the Lane’s End (Grade II) on March 21 and finished second to General Quarters in the Toyota Blue Grass (Grade I) on April 11.

        In the Derby, he was squeezed at the start and pinched back. Jockey Kent Desormeaux quickly rode him into contention – they were two lengths off the pace after a mile – but he could not sustain his run in the stretch and finished 12th, beaten 20 ½ lengths.


MR. HOT STUFF (15th) – Things were quiet Sunday morning at Barn 41 where the 15th-place Derby finisher Mr. Hot Stuff had spent an uneventful Saturday night following his little-impact journey in the 135th Run for the Roses.

            “He’s fine,” reported groom Martin Rodriguez. “He was OK after the race; no cuts or bruises. He ate all his food last night.”

            Rodriguez also reported that the dark Tiznow colt would be headed back to his Southern California base “in the next day or two.”

            Mr. Hot Stuff, who went off at 28-1, was steadied, bumped and squeezed back at the start and never managed to make much headway on the “sloppy” racing strip. He was beaten 23 lengths.


NOWHERE TO HIDE (17th) – The Nick Zito-trained Nowhere To Hide wasn’t feeling any negative effects on the morning after his 17th-place Kentucky Derby finish.

            “He came back perfect,’’ assistant trainer Stacy Prior said. “The jockey said after the race that he was just spinning his wheels out there.”


FRIESAN FIRE (18th) – Cindy Jones, the wife and assistant of trainer Larry Jones, reported that their Louisiana Derby winner was feeling reasonably well Sunday morning, considering that the 7-2 beaten favorite had suffered cuts in his left front foot while getting bumped shortly after the start of the Kentucky Derby.

            “He grabbed his quarter. He’s got a pretty good cut on his quarter,” Jones said of Friesan Fire, who faded to 18th after his troubled start. “Mentally, he’s fine. He’s got a few cuts and scrapes, but we’ll get him healed. He ate up. He’s walking very well this morning. He’s not pulling, but he’s walking well. He did clean up (his feed tub) this morning.”

            Friesan Fire, who was squeezed on both sides after bumping with Papa Clem out of the gate, got back into the race under Gabriel Saez but was hindered by traffic.

“I couldn’t see it at all. Larry said he got hit hard at the start. You can’t see anything. Larry said he couldn’t find racing room and everywhere he went sort of closed up on him,” Jones said. “I think he and Gabe had enough before the race was over with.”

Jones said the groom Corey York summed up the mood at Barn 45 perfectly.

            “He said, ‘We’re very disappointed this morning, but we’re not heartbroken like last year,’ ” said Jones, whose stable was devastated by the death of Eight Belles, who suffered a fatal breakdown while pulling up from a sensational runner-up finish behind Big Brown in last year’s Derby.


FLYING PRIVATE (19th) – The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Flying Private was reported to have come out of his last-place finish in the Kentucky Derby in good order Sunday morning.

            “The horse came back fine,” assistant trainer Gary Neece said. “He’s no worse for the wear.”
Churchill Downs Communications Department
Monday, May 04, 2009


LOUISVILLE, Ky.(May 2, 2009) – Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird, the longest shot on the board at 50-1, exploded along the rail down the stretch under Calvin Borel to win the 135th running of the $2,177,200 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I).


 Mine That Bird rallied from last in a field of 19 Thoroughbreds to win by 6 3/4 lengths before a crowd of 153,563, seventh-largest in race history.


            The victory margin was the largest in the Kentucky Derby since eventual Triple Crown winnerAssault won the Kentucky Derby by eight lengths in 1946.  Prior to Mine That Bird’s win, the 6 ½-length win by Barbaro in 2006 had been the largest win margin since Assault’s Derby romp.


            Pioneerof the Nile, Musket Man and Papa Clem battled for second, with the former finishing a nose in front of Musket Man, while Papa Clem was a head farther back.  Friesan Fire, the 7-2 favorite, finished 18th.


            The 42-year-old Borel collected his second Kentucky Derby victory after taking its 2007 renewal aboard Street Sense.  He had won Friday’s $500,000 Grade I Kentucky Oaks, the Derby’s sister race, aboard heavily favored Rachel Alexandra, who won by a record 20 ¾ lengths.  Borel became the seventh rider to achieve the Oaks-Derby sweep in the same year Jerry Bailey did it in 1993 aboard Dispute andSea Hero, respectively.


            “It’s unbelievable,” said Borel.  “I took the rail the whole way, we had a good trip, got stopped maybe one time going around the turn but after that, it was awesome. I knew he was going to win by the 3/8th pole. I knew if we could just find our way through that we were going to win from there.”


            Trained by Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr., Mine That Bird became the ninth gelding to win the Kentucky Derby and first since Funny Cide in 2003, who in turn had been the first gelding to take the “Run for the Roses” since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929. Mine That Bird is a Kentucky-bred son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone out of the Smart Strike mare Mining My Own.  The Derby winner won the Sovereign Award that honored Canada’s 2-year-old champion in 2008, and became the first Canadian juvenile champion to win America’s greatest race since Sunny’s Halo in 1983.


The winner ran the mile and a quarter on a “sloppy” main track in 2:02.66 in turning back 18 rivals.


            The victory was worth $1,417,200 and increased Mine That Bird’s career bankroll to $1,791,581. Mine That Bird, who came into Derby 135 off a fourth-place finish in the Sunland Park Derby on March 29 at New Mexico’s Sunland Park, has now won five of nine career starts.


            “It’s wonderful, it hasn’t sunk in,” said Woolley, whose stable is based at the New Mexico track.  “I just can’t say enough. I’m feeling like I never have before. I was thinking Calvin Borel is the best, he just rode a huge race, and everybody around him did a great job and we just were lucky to get here.” 


            Mine That Bird paid $103.20 to win, the second-largest payoff in Derby history, ranking only behind Donerail’s $184.90 payoff in 1913. Mine That Bird returned $54 to place and $25.80 to show. Pioneerof the Nile returned $8.40 and $6.40 with Musket Man paying $12 to show.


Join in the Dance, ridden by Chris DeCarlo, led the field under the wire the first time in :22.98 with Regal Ransom, Pioneerof the Nile and Papa Clem in closest pursuit. At the back of the pack was Mine That Bird, who found a spot along the rail.


The top four remained unchanged through a half-mile in :47.23 and Mine That Bird had not changed his position. Approaching the half-mile pole, Join in the Dance and Regal Ransom were joined near the front by Hold Me Back, who made a bold move on the inside under Kent Desormeaux. Mine That Bird, who  was still last.


As the battle continued up front, Borel started his “Street Sense-like move”, skimming the rail without a straw in his path. Borel moved Mine That Bird off the rail only once, to move past Atomic Rain and then cut back to the rail for an unimpeded run.


Once in the stretch, Mine That Bird squeezed by a tiring Join in the Dance and raced into Thoroughbred history.



The field was reduced to 19 by the withdrawal Saturday morning of morning-line favorite I Want Revenge because of heat in the left front ankle. There was inflammation above and below the sesamoids.  It marked the first time since the morning line was published in the program in 1949 that the favorite was scratched the day of the race.

Monday, May 04, 2009



Two racing charities will benefit from that sponsorship as the jockeys will donate money to both the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.  Bill Casner, co-owner of WinStar Farm with three horses running in the Derby will make a donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.  The PDJF provides assistance to jockeys who have suffered disabling injuries on the racetrack while the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation provides care for retired racehorses.


“NetJets is truly honored to join with the Derby jockeys and Bill Casner to make this donation to both the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation”, said Richard T. Santulli, Chairman and CEO of NetJets. “Through our sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby, we hope to build awareness of the many worthy charities within the Thoroughbred industry, and help raise additional money to benefit these great causes.”


“Once again, NetJets has stepped forward to make the Kentucky Derby an extra special event for jockeys who have suffered life-altering injuries and for horses that need homes when their racing careers are over,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild.  “Our thanks to NetJets, Richard Santulli, Bill Casner, the owners of all the Derby horses for their approval of this sponsorship and the Derby jockeys for their support of these two causes.  We also want to thank the NTRA and Churchill Downs for getting the ball rolling with this sponsorship last year.  The lives of racehorses after their careers are over and the lives of jockeys who have become permanently disabled on the racetrack are two important issues facing our sport.  It is to the credit of NetJets, Bill Casner and the jockeys that they have chosen to contribute to these organizations that help both humans and horses in need.”


About NetJets Inc.

NetJets Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the worldwide leader in private aviation and provides the safest and most secure private aviation solutions.  NetJets fractional aircraft ownership allows individuals and companies to buy a share of a private business jet at a fraction of the cost of the whole aircraft ownership, and guarantees availability 365 days a year with just a few hours notice.  The NetJets programs worldwide offer the largest and most diversified fleet in private aviation, which includes 15 of the most popular business jets in the world.  Access to the NetJets fleet is also available in the form of a short-term lease, sold on a pre-paid basis in 25-hour increments, through an exclusive alliance with Marquis Jet Partners.  NetJets Inc. also offers aircraft management, charter management, and on-demand charter services through its subsidiary, Executive Jet Management.  More information on NetJets, the Marquis Jet Program and Executive Jet Management is available at


About the Jockeys’ Guild, Inc.

The Jockeys’ Guild is an organization that was formed and is governed by Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse jockeys who ride throughout the United States.  The organization represents jockeys on a national and local basis to address issues concerning riders.  The Jockeys’ Guild also assists injured and disabled riders and their families.  The Guild has served as an advocate for the jockeys since it was incorporated in 1940.




Contact:  Jockeys’ Guild, Inc.

              (859) 305-0606


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