“That’d be good, but we have a long way to go,” said Leparoux of a possible riding crown. “I’m really happy with the way things are going and hope to keep winning races.”
Leparoux, who won last year’s Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey, suffered was injured in a spill in May’s Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, but was always hopeful he’d be back to health in time for Saratoga.
“The doctor was pretty confident I’d be able to ride at Saratoga, and I was lucky to get fit and be 100 percent ready for the meet,” said Leparoux, who returned to action July 1.
Leparoux, set to ride Forever Together in Saturday’s Grade 1 Diana, is also looking forward to guiding Warbling in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss August 8 and Informed Decision in the Grade 1 Ballerina August 28.
“And hopefully I can find a good 2-year-old filly or colt,” he added.
NYRA Communications Department
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Jockeys 45, Horsemen 41
Three years ago, they took on a fifth grade A.A.U. team from Texas, beating the youngsters by a score of 44-39; two years ago, the kids came back for a rematch and trounced the riders, 49-32.
Last night, the jockeys took on the horsemen, and the eligibility rules for each team were, shall we say, loose. The jockeys’ team comprised coach Angel Cordero, Jr.; Kent Desormeaux (and his son Josh), Eibar Coa (and his son), John Velazquez, Robby Albarado, Rajiv Maragh, Channing Hill, Jaime Rodriguez, Victor Santiago, Jose Amy, Umberto Leon, Will Walden (son of WinStar Farm’s Elliott), Jermaine Bridgmohan, and Joey Migliore. And oh, yes, two players who were at least 6’2”; Kevin Hopkins is reportedly a Saratoga native now playing professional basketball in Germany, and Kyle Forester reportedly plays for Memphis. Yes, jockeys indeed. (All photos courtesy of NYRA photos; click to enlarge) www.brooklynbackstretch.com
On the horsemen’s side were coach Kiaran McLaughlin; Neema Ghazi and Matt Silvano from NYRA’s marketing department; racing secretary P.J. Campo; trainers Rick Schosberg, Billy Badgett, Todd Pletcher, Carlos Martin, Mike Tannuzzo, and Pletcher assistant Witt, whose last name was not available at press time. Paul Veitch, a Saratoga police officer who is the son of turf writer Michael Veitch, Elliott Walden, Mark Bardack of the PR firm Ed Lewi Associates joined the trainers, as did NYRA chairman Steve Duncker; Patty Rich, Dennis Brida, and West Point Thoroughbreds president Terry Finley, introduced by announcer Mitch Levites (NYRA’s producer and videographer) as “the man who put the ‘sin’ in syndicate.”
Levites interviewed Duncker before the tip, asking which Duncker thought more likely: the horsemen beating the jockeys, or NYRA getting slots. “Slots,” said Duncker without hesitation.
The racing community turned out in full force to support the Racetrack Chaplaincy and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the recipients of the proceeds of the event; in the crowd were jockeys Alan Garcia, Julian Leparoux, Edgar Prado, Jose Lezcano, and Ramon Dominguez; Jim Gallagher, executive director of New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association; and trainers Dallas Stewart, Linda Rice, and Lisa Lewis. Rice and Lewis were rather unfortunately referred to in print as “cheerleaders” and at the event as “watergirls.”
What the jockeys lacked in size, they made up for in speed (and those six-foot ringers didn’t hurt, either); nonetheless, the trainers played them close for most of the game. The jockeys pulled away in the third quarter, but the trainers came back to within four with just a few minutes left, which would have made for quite an exciting finish had not the game done its best imitation of the NBA: the last three minutes took about an hour and a half to play.
The usual genteel Todd Pletcher channeled a little Rasheed Wallace as he bullied his way around the court, taking down both the younger, bigger, stronger Hopkins and the younger, smaller, stronger Maragh. He also showed some game, starting a pretty pass play to Finley and Duncker, who unfortunately was unable to finish—the story of the horsemen, who also might benefit from a little free-throw practice.
Showing not only game but gamesmanship, Pletcher was not too proud to cherry-pick, hanging under the basket and taking a full-court pass to put in the easy lay-up.
As he did in the other games, Coa established himself as a player to be reckoned with, going white-hot and shooting lights out in the third quarter to put the jockeys firmly in the lead. While the two Desormeaux and Victor Santiago displayed impressive hoop skills, the play of the night had to be Coa’s block of a Billy Badgett shot late in the game. Dismissed!
The final score was jockeys 45, horsemen 41, but the real winners are the backstretch workers and the disabled jockeys who will benefit from the generosity of both the players and the audience.
After working hard all day and anticipating early alarms, jocks and trainers gave up their time (and in some cases, their bodies) to support these charities. A few trainers reported a little body soreness this morning, and I heard some vows to “start getting in shape earlier next year,” but good humor reigned on both sides—especially the jockeys’, who get bragging rights for another year. Teresa Genaro's BrooklynBackstretch
Kent Desormeaux with Coa trailing and John Velazquez on the sidelines
Victor Santiago going up for a shot
Rick Schosberg on the jump
Another Walden shooting for the horsemen
Thursday, July 29, 2010
'Money Rider' Don Pierce Wins Way Into Hall of Fame
Election to the Hall of Fame came on a vote of the Hall's Historic Review Committee. Pierce will be inducted Friday, August 13 in Saratoga Springs, NY, joining a group of contemporary inductees -- retired jockey Randy Romero, horses Best Pal, Azeri and Point Given -- and fellow "historic" inductees, the late trainer Buster Millerick and the horse Harry Bassett.
Pierce, a resident of Encinitas north of Del Mar, has chosen friend and fellow Hall of Fame rider John Rotz to introduce him to the assemblage. "We've been friends for a long time and we've kept up with each other over the years," Pierce said.
He can't be blamed for regretting that his longtime pal and compatriot Bill Shoemaker won't be there with him. He no doubt will be there in spirit -- they were that close. If the late Shoemaker were there? "That would be big," Pierce said. "He always wanted me to be in the Hall of Fame with him. I wish he were here to see it. I still miss him. He was such a great friend."
Does Pierce feel any animosity over what many in the sport consider the long-overdue recognition of him as one of the best of his generation, one that includes the great "Shoe," Eddie Arcaro, Milo Valenzuela, Bill Hartack, John Longden, Angel Cordero, Jr. and Laffit Pincay, Jr."Absolutely not," Pierce said emphatically. "There are a lot of great riders who have been eligible over the years. I was on the ballot in 1983 and again, I think, in '86, and then I didn't hear anything. But I knew someday they'd get around to me [with a chuckle]."
His record speaks volumes: 3,546 career victories, 351 of them in stakes, $39 million in purses, led all North American riders with 32 stakes wins in 1973, won a riding title at Belmont Park and won several major stakes at Saratoga, won the Santa Anita Handicap four times; won the Del Mar riding title in 1966, and he's still in the top 12 all-time among Del Mar stakes-winning jockeys with 54.
Pierce's roster of great horses ridden reads like a Who's Who among top Thoroughbreds, starting with Hill Rise, on whom he won his first of two Santa Anita Derbies; Flying Paster, his second Santa Anita Derby winner and aboard whom he was fifth in the 1979 Kentucky Derby, Ack Ack, Kennedy Road, Quack, Taisez Vous, Modus Vivendi, Forceten and Triple Bend.
From his earliest days, Pierce remembers being on the move. He was born April 13, 1937 in Clebit, OK, but don't expect to find it on the map of the southeastern part of the state. "Clebit was a moving town," Pierce said. "It was a logging town and when the logging ended in the area, the whole town moved to a new logging area. So there were a lot of Clebits."
Eventually, his family, headed by his logging-truck mechanic father, left Oklahoma for the more well-forested Oregon. And that's where Pierce got his start as a young teenager -- first with Quarter Horses and then Thoroughbreds. His riding odyssey had its infancy in the Northwest under several horsemen to whom Pierce gave the "great" tag, and continued in California.
He recalls it this way: "I was working for Jim Ferguson on a cattle and sheep ranch in Gold Beach, Oregon, and that's where I came in contact with a man who said I should go to the racetrack. I didn't know who he was, and I never saw him again, but he told me I should go to the races and ride. 'You're the right size and you have experience around horses' is what he said."
Pierce said the man suggested he go to Hollywood Park, so he set the plan in motion that kick-started his career. "I told my mom I was going and I'd hitchhike," Pierce recalls. "Well, she said she didn't want me doing that and that she would give me the money for a bus ticket. Well, I took the money and hitchhiked, anyway," Pierce said matter-of-factly.
When he got to Hollywood Park the meeting was over so he headed farther south to Del Mar and eventually hooked up with a trainer named Jack Howard, whom Pierce credits with teaching him the nuances of race riding.
From there it was off to Arizona where he met A.J. Horn, for whom he rode under contract at the age of 17. He won on his first mount, Supplier, at Ruidoso Downs, NM, June 13, 1954, but not on a horse trained by Horn.
Over the years, Pierce became known as one of the great money riders in the game. "I don't know where that came from," Pierce said. "Probably because I just kept winning stakes. I won 351 stakes and that's when they only had one a week. Plus I had to buck 'Shoe,' who was always on the best horse.
"If 'Shoe' didn't win, I did," Pierce said. "That went on for a long time. I was really lucky in those races. I was always in the right place at the right time. I rode a lot of horses 'Shoe' couldn't ride because he had so many chances. I got a reputation for being a good stakes rider and the fans thought I tried harder on stakes horses. That is not true."
One story Pierce is asked to repeat time and again -- which he always does cheerfully -- involved him, Shoemaker and Alex Maese in the 1962 Santa Anita Handicap. Shoemaker and Maese were riding for owner Rex Ellsworth and trainer Mesh Tenney while Pierce was on a horse bred, owned and trained by Lynn Boice, conditioner of Ellsworth's second string. "I was on Physician and 'Shoe' was on Prove It and Alex had Olden Times. My horse would have been 100-1 in there, but because I was coupled with the others [which was the rule in those days], I was 5-2 just like them. The day before the race, we were interviewed in the paddock about the three-horse entry and we were asked about whether we would share the winning money [as was common]. 'Shoe' said he and Alex would share. 'Pierce is out,' he said. 'His horse has no chance.' So when I went blowing by him at the quarter pole,! 'Shoe' yelled, 'Hey, Pierce, you're in.'"
It made no difference; Pierce kept the jockey's share of the purse. Pierce said he never hesitated, because he knew Shoemaker would take it the right way. In fact, Pierce said, Shoemaker always laughed about it.
Going into the Hall of Fame with the late Buster Millerick pleases Pierce. "I rode a lot of horses for Buster," Pierce said. "He liked to scare people by being gruff, but he really was a nice guy. He trained a lot of good horses, but his best, of course, was Native Diver.Gene Williams/Del Mar Thorougbred Club
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Jocks vs. Horsemen in Charity Basketball Game
The game will be held July 28 at 7 p.m. at the new Saratoga Southside Rec-Center, located at 15 Vanderbilt Ave., in Saratoga Springs. Admission is $15.
The horsemen, led by trainer and Eclipse Award-winner Todd Pletcher and leading owner Terry Finley, will face off against jockeys like Javier Castellano, Channing Hill, Robby Albarado, John Velazquez, and Kent Desormeaux.
Tax deductible donations may also be made to the NY Race Track Chaplaincy of America, Inc., P. O. Box 66, Elmont, NY 11003 or the PDJF, P.O. Box 803, Elmhurst, IL 60126
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Model Rule would affect owners who initiate late rider changes
The committee will recommend that owners who decide to make a rider change after a jockey already has been named to ride a horse pay purse percentage money to both riders if the horse then places in the race—effectively doubling the owner’s expense to the jockey. The rule, as outlined by RCI Model Rules Committee Chairman Larry Eliason, would only apply if the owner or trainer initiates the change.
If stewards excuse a named rider—for instance for injury, illness, or travel problems—the rule will not apply.
With the recommendation of the model rules committee, the model rule on late rider changes will be presented to the full RCI for consideration.
The RCI Model Rules Committee met on July 23. Initially, it also had planned to consider increasing the threshold level of phenylbutazone but decided to delay action on that issue until next month to allow the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association to discuss the topic at its summer convention. (See related story on THOROUGHBRED TIMES website).
Regulators from most racing jurisdictions are members of RCI. In an effort for consistency from one state to another, RCI passes model rules which member racing commissions are encouraged to adopt, although rules can vary from state to state.
Frank Angst is senior writer for Thoroughbred Times
Monday, July 26, 2010
Baze to miss rest of meet with serious facial injuries
Bejarano knew the pain that Baze was in. A year ago, Bejarano was lying in the same Scripps La Jolla hospital with injuries eerily similar: broken bones above and below his right eye socket. Bejarano was thrown to the track on opening day when his horse broke down and had to be euthanized.
"I felt so bad for him," Bejarano said between riding assignments Sunday. "I feel so much better after seeing him. I wish they had come to see me last year. So I went to give him support."
Baze will continue to need it. He learned Sunday afternoon that he will miss the rest of the Del Mar meet after a doctor recommended surgery, said Vic Stauffer, Baze's agent.
"He won't ride again until Oak Tree at Santa Anita," Stauffer said, referring to the meet that starts in late September.
After being released from the hospital at about 4 p.m., Baze was examined by Dr. Jeffrey Umansky, who also attended to Bejarano last year. Umansky advised Baze to have surgery on the facial fractures he suffered when his mount reared up and head-butted him. Baze also broke his nose.
Baze will return home to Monrovia to see an eye doctor on Monday before returning to Del Mar on Thursday to consult with Umansky again. The operation is expected to take place within the next 10 days.
Baze's right eye is swollen shut, but doctors determined that he doesn't have any vision problems despite a swollen retina.
Stauffer credited the visit by Bejarano, along with fellow jockeys Alonso Quinonez and Jose Verenzuela, for helping to calm Baze after the accident.
"Tyler was very upset for obvious reasons," Stauffer said. "He wanted to get out of Dodge. He wanted to leave the hospital, but he was convinced it was in his best interest to stay overnight.
"I've never seen anything like it, the compassion Rafael showed him. Rafael held his hand and was talking in his ear. When blood flowed down Tyler's cheek from the broken nose, Rafael would wipe it away. Rafael kept telling him it was going to be OK. Tyler's demeanor completely changed.
"Rafael got him to stay."
When jockeys are riding in a race, it's every man for himself. But at the end of the day, Bejarano decided it was better to be part of a bigger brotherhood.
"He's a good friend and good rider," said Bejarano, who was tied with Baze for third place in the Del Mar jockey standings at the start of Sunday's races. "He was doing so good (in the standings) and now he feels so bad, but he will get his business back. He's good."
Bejarano gave Baze some final instructions before he left: Follow doctor's orders.
"(Dr. Umansky) is the best," Bejarano said. "I feel so good about this. He has the perfect doctor. He's in real good hands."
Baze was primed for a good meet at Del Mar, with Stauffer in his first year as his agent.
In Sunday's first race, Baze was scheduled to ride Quick Enough for trainer Ron Ellis. Quick Enough ($10.60) won the race with replacement rider David Flores aboard.
Later on the card, another Baze mount, Colgan's Chip, got nipped at the wire by Bruce's Dream in the $100,000 California Dreamin' Handicap.
Jeff Nahill/North County Times
Monday, July 26, 2010
Castellano wins 5 in a row at Saratoga
Horse racing records being incomplete, it is not known if five consecutive victories is a Saratoga record. On Sept. 3, 2001, John Velazquez set a Saratoga record with six wins on a card, though only four of those came consecutively. In 2004, Velazquez teamed up with trainer Todd Pletcher to win five races, four of them consecutively. Twice in a six-day period in 2003 Jerry Bailey won four consecutive races here.
Other riders to win five races on one day at Saratoga include Bailey, Ron Turcotte, Julie Krone, Angel Cordero Jr., and Mike Smith.
For Castellano, this was the third time he won five races on a Saratoga card. He did it on Sept. 6, 2004, closing day, and Sept. 3, 2005.
"It's so amazing, I'm so thankful and blessed," Castellano, 32, said. "I appreciate all the trainers that give me support to ride live horses; they got a lot of confidence in me."
After finishing third in the opener aboard Frivolous Buck, Castellano won the second with Yawkey Way ($7.60), the third with Cody Samora ($3.80), the fourth on Desert Key ($8.80), the fifth on Fiddler's Chaparito ($5.10), and the sixth on Stand Proud ($27), who broke last but got up in the final two strides to win.
"He broke slow out of the gate," Castellano said. "I didn't rush, I let him give a chance to let him get his feet underneath him. It's amazing, when I asked him he took off. I knew at the eighth pole I got it. This day everything went the right way no matter what."
After not riding the seventh, Castellano's streak came to an end when Peace Wine finished last in the eighth. David Grening/Daily Racing Form
Friday, July 23, 2010
Top jockeys flock to Saratoga
Ramon Dominguez has won the last nine riding titles at NYRA racetracks, and the native of Venezuela is vying for his second consecutive Saratoga championship. Currently the leading jockey in North America in both wins and earnings, Dominguez has ample competition this year at the Spa.
“I’m super happy to have been able to come to New York and do this well consistently,” said Dominguez. “I’m blessed to get so much support from so many people. Saratoga is very challenging. There’s a lot of pressure because we always have to be our best.”
His competition includes five riders who have combined to win eight Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey, with Kent Desormeaux (1989, 1992), John Velazquez (2004-05), and Garrett Gomez (2007-08) having won the award twice. The other jockeys at Saratoga to have received the award are Edgar Prado (2006) and Julien Leparoux (2009).
Desormeaux, who twice came within one race of sweeping the Triple Crown, won last year’s Grade 1, $1 million Travers, the centerpiece of the Saratoga meeting, aboard Summer Bird. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, Desormeaux is ranked fifth among all riders with nearly $264 million in earnings.
Velazquez has won the Saratoga title twice and his 65 wins in 2004 remain course a record. Prado has also won two titles at the Spa while Gomez, who has led the nation in earnings the past four years, and Leparoux will try to top the standings for the first time.
Calvin Borel, winner of three of the last six Triple Crown races, looks to add another page to his storybook career this year at the Spa. The native of Louisiana won the 2007 Travers with Street Sense, and last year guided the eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra to her history-making victory in the Woodward.
The colony also includes Robby Albarado, who was the regular rider of the all-time North American earnings leader Curlin; the Bridgmohan brothers, Shaun and Jermaine; 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Jorge Chavez; 2008 Belmont Stakes and Saratoga title winner Alan Garcia; Alex Solis, who is plying his trade at Saratoga for the first time after competing in Southern California for most of his career; Cornelio Velasquez, the leading jockey at the Spa in 2007; Eibar Coa; David Cohen; Jose Espinoza; Pablo Fragoso; Channing Hill; Michael Luzzi; Rajiv Maragh; Miguel Mena; Jean-Luc Samyn; Victor Santiago; Maylan Studart; and apprentices Freddie Lenclud, Antonio Lopez, and Jaime Rodriguez. NYRA Communications Department
Friday, July 23, 2010
Jockeys attend opening of facility for retired racehorses
Hundreds of people turned out for ceremonies at the facility, officially called Old Friends at Cabin Creek: the Bobby Frankel Division — named after the late Hall of Fame trainer who passed away last year. His family members were among those present.
Activities continue today as the farm helps celebrate the opening of the Saratoga Race Course season, followed by an open house on Saturday.
Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen spent several minutes sharing memories of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, for whom the farm was named in honor. Frankel, who died in November 2009 following a long illness, stipulated in his will that his trophies be donated to Old Friends and also left money to the organization.
“This will be his living legacy,” Blowen said of Cabin Creek.
In addition to Blowen, several others who were close to Frankel spoke, including some family members and his farrier.
In addition to the jockeys who attended the mini golf tournament in the morning (including reigning Eclipse Award winner Julien Leparoux, who hit the links with The Saratogian’s Sam Hollingsworth), several noted racing personalities made an appearance during the celebration at the farm, including Hall of Fame riders Edgar Prado and Angel Cordero Jr; Richie Migliore, a New York favorite who recently retired from the saddle; Kentucky Derby winning trainer Rick Dutrow Jr, a close friend of Frankel’s; and local trainer H. James Bond.
Several trophies won by Frankel's horses over the years, including some from major races at Saratoga, were on display during the event.
The 40-acre farm, owned by JoAnn and Mark Pepper, has 10 retired thoroughbreds including Thunder Rumble and Will’s Way, winners of the 1992 and 1996 Travers Stakes, respectively. The Peppers have had horses for several years. Previously, they just boarded them until JoAnn fulfilled a long-time goal by developing a partnership with Old Friends — a Kentucky-based, non-profit organization that cares for more than 100 retired racehorses.
“I always wanted to do this,” JoAnn Pepper said. “It just took time.”
Cabin Creek is Old Friends’ first satellite farm. Because it accepts stallions, Old Friends has a higher percentage of “name” horses than some retirement groups, hoping this will raise awareness about the need for such programs.
Pepper also liked Old Friends’ policy of letting the public visit farms, giving people a chance to see horses up close. During the racing season, Cabin Creek plans to host tours at 7 p.m. each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“We’ve got some great volunteers,” she said. “I couldn’t do it without them.”
The Saratoga racing community has embraced the project. On Thursday, jockeys such as Jean Cruguet, Kent Desormeaux and Robbie Davis helped raise money by taking part in the inaugural Little Silver Charm Miniature Golf Tournament at Murphy’s Driving Range on Route 9.
On Saturday, in addition to an open house, Cabin Creek will host a benefit cocktail party and silent auction at The Washington Inn, 111 South Broadway. Tickets are $50.
“We’ve gotten a lot of great donations, a Nantucket vacation house for a week, a trip to Las Vegas and some really nice pictures,” Pepper said.
One of the more unique items will be an original “Moneigh,” a painting done by one of the farm’s horses – 13-year-old gelding Cool N Collective. Using non-toxic children’s paint, horses brush paint on a poster with their chins. It comes out looking like modern art, but when matted and framed the paintings are quite handsome, complete with a gold or brass plaque verifying the “artist’s” authenticity.
At present, the farm has 12 stalls so it’s almost full to capacity.
“I wish I could save every one of them,” Pepper said. “We have more land. Hopefully we can expand. So many horses need homes. We’ll see where it takes us.”
The true value of thoroughbreds isn’t just the money they make, but the appreciation, attention and understanding for horses they develop in the public at large, she said.
“People still love them and like spending time with them,” she said. “That’s the importance to people who love horses.”
Five popular jockeys, including Alan Garcia and last year's leading rider Ramon Dominguez, traveled to the Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center to bring a little joy into the kids' day.
The jockeys took pictures wearing the colorful silk and signed the popular jockey books for the children. They said it's one way to give back to the community they cherish every summer.
"I kind of got a big kick out of the kids. I learned a lot from them and actually, the two little girls we were talking to, they're very excited and very talkative, very emotional actually. I'm a father myself, we're all fathers, so you get to see the kids and it's very special," said jockey John Velazquez.
The event happened in the Ronald MacDonald Family Room, which provides families a place to go while their children are undergoing treatments. TWEAN NEWS CHANNEL OF ALBANY
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Benefit At Fair Meadows July 24 for Tad Leggett
The 46-year-old jockey still has some feeling in his extremities, but his recovery will be a lengthy process.
Leggett was riding a 2-year-old filly in a futurity trial on June 30 when she fell to the track on top of him after the race was completed.
In order to alleviate some of the hospital bills accumulated by the Leggett family, Fair Meadows will have a Tad Leggett Benefit from 4-8 p.m. Saturday, July 24.
There will be a cookout, bake sale and silent auction with all proceeds going to Leggett.
Items on the silent auction will include:
A signed print by legendary horse racing artist Fred Stone of Zenyatta, the undefeated and arguably best mare ever to race.
A signed print by Stone of the 2009 Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra.
A Remington Park Suite package for up to 20 people with food and amenities included for a night at the races.
A framed Louisville Courier Journal Sports page with a huge picture of Secretariat, the day after he won the Kentucky Derby in 1973.
Other items that will be auctioned are a print from Mikel Donahue — an artist who is famous for his Western prints — two stallion pedigrees worth $250 each, a coat rack, wine rack and hose holder all made with iron and horseshoes; Bling shirts, an assortment of necklaces, Canterbury Park jackets, a scentsey warmer and two bars of wax, a Lowe's gift card and other donated gifts.
Donated items continue to come in daily so it's going to be a huge day for the auction and those involved in the benefit. If you have an item of value that you'd like to donate to be put up for sale, you may contact Richard Linihan at (918) 744-1113 ext. 3613. Items must be to Bridget Smith, who is handling that end of it, no later than July 22.
Richard Linihan/Tulsa World News
Monday, July 19, 2010
Saratoga Jockeys to visit the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center
Clad in their colorful silks, jockeys Alan Garcia, Garrett Gomez, Jose Lezcano,John Velazquez and Saratoga’s leading rider from 2009, Ramon Dominguez, will pose for photographs and distribute personally autographed items to the children, including Saratoga Race Course’s exclusive jockey autograph books and riding gear.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room offers a respite and place of refuge for families with children who are receiving care at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center, most often in the nearby neonatal intensive care unit or pediatric intensive care unit.
As part of AlbanyMedicalCenter, the Capital Region's only academic medical center, the Children's Hospital and its associated programs provide comprehensive care for children with basic or complex cases and is the only hospital in northeastern New York and western New England just for kids. The comprehensive programs of the Children's Hospital include inpatient, outpatient, and primary care for infants, children and adolescents; as well as access to a full range of pediatric, medical and surgical specialties.
Saratoga Race Course will celebrate opening day of the 142nd racing season on Friday, July 23. The New York Racing Association will offer free grandstand admission and reduced clubhouse admission as a means of welcoming back fans for the first of 40 days of thoroughbred racing – the most at Saratoga since 1882. NYRA Communications Department
Friday, July 16, 2010
Borel Wins Another ESPY Award
Presented by ESPN, the ESPY Awards honor the best atheletic performances of the year. The night’s top honoree was New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, whose four awards included male athlete of the year.
"We are thrilled to win it again," Jerry Hissam, Borel’s agent said, of the award that the jockey also won in 2009.
Neither Hissam nor Borel attended the awards ceremony in Los Angeles, as both were preparing for the rider’s foray to upstate New York for the Saratoga race meet.
Among Borel’s upcoming engagements are mounts on Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the July 24 Lady’s Secret Stakes at Monmouth Park, 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver in Monmouth’s Izod Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Aug. 1, and 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga on Aug. 7. The Blood-Horse
Friday, July 16, 2010
HBO OKs First Season for Racing Drama 'Luck'
Daily Variety, in announcing the decision July 14, said that highly placed executives at HBO have indicated that “Luck’s” first season will consist of a pilot and seven to nine additional weekly episodes.
Milch, who created "Luck," is also a prominent Thoroughbred horse owner who has won two Breeders’ Cup races.
The pilot for “Luck,” which is due to air on HBO late next year, was shot primarily at Santa Anita this past March and April. Milch enlisted the services of major director Michael Mann, whose credits include “Miami Vice,” “Ali,” and “Public Enemies.” Mann is to remain in an advisory capacity for the upcoming series.
Milch also procured the services of actors Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, and John Ortiz for the pilot. Although they will not all remain series regulars, it is believed those actors who contributed to the pilot will maintain a presence as “Luck” develops in seasonal episodic form.
“It’s hard to quantify how much we feel this could mean to Santa Anita and horse racing in general,” said Pete Siberell, Santa Anita's community and events coordinator. “Anyone who’s watched ‘Hill Street Blues,’ ‘NYPD Blue,’ or ‘Deadwood’ knows what David Milch is capable of. He has a heart-felt passion for racing and although he’ll be delving into to some dark areas on occasion, we feel strongly that “Luck” has the potential to have a similar impact to that of "The Sopranos,’" which also aired on HBO.
“This is great news and it couldn’t have come at a better time," Siberell added. "Horse racing is experiencing many challenges right now, and now, more than ever, we need to be reaching out to new people in a creative and innovative way. "Luck" is going to generate a lot of buzz and it is going to get people talking about racing and about Santa Anita, which is fantastic.
“From what we understand, the people at HBO are absolutely thrilled with what Michael Mann has been able to put together thus far and we feel that people are going to view horse racing as they’ve never seen or imagined it before, with a compelling plot line, dynamic acting, and film production that Mann is famous for.”
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Horse racing drama off the track
It was likely a tense, disappointing afternoon at the track for Carignan. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with any racing action as the Ontario Racing Commission decided Carignan wasn't allowed to race.
What could have been an incident involving only one rider quickly expanded through the jockey ranks eventually affecting the race cards for the day.
A source close to the event said that Carignan had gone over the number of whipping warnings and the ORC had determined that a suspension was warranted.
"We've got a rule that calls for immediate suspension in violation of the whip (use)," said Robbie King, national manager of the Jockey's Benefit Association of Canada. "They removed her at 1:10 (p.m. Tuesday), just before the first race and they took her off her six mounts for that day, not allowing her to fulfil her riding engagements.
"None of the jockeys picked up the open mounts."
King said the jockeys' refusal to ride in place of Carignan goes back to displeasure over the horse-urging rules.
"We've been getting hammered down there all year and the jockeys just took exception to it," King said. "We've had 18 rulings (of a similar nature) so far. Since September of last year, we've had 85 rulings."
John Blakney, the ORC executive director, was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon, but the commission's communications manager, Raymond Kahnert, forwarded a release to QMI Agency from last September outlining the new rules on urging the horse.
The document states that thoroughbred and quarter horse rules now stipulate only a "humane or cushion" riding crop may be used, and the horse must be allowed time to respond before the crop may be used again.
It is not known at this time how Carignan allegedly violated the rules of urging the horse.
King said that as a result of the ORC action, Carignan is suspended until she appeals to the director of racing, and then the penalty is assessed.
"So, she is immediately suspended, taken off all her mounts and not allowed to continue riding."
This is the second time this season that Carignan has come under the disciplinary sights of the ORC for whip issues.
She was suspended for four programs for striking rival jockey Anthony Stephen with her whip after losing a close decision to him on June 20. She was also fined $1,500. This latest dust-up follows closely on the heels of that suspension. Carignan returned to racing July 4.
On the advice of her agent Scott Lane, Carignan is not commenting on the suspension until she has had meetings with the ORC.
Rick Cowan, chief operating officer for the track, said that although this was an issue between the jockeys and the ORC, the track was caught in the middle.
"Unfortunately, it resulted in shorter fields and less betting opportunities for the customers," he said. "Our whole product is predicated on field size and quality of the jockeys. When you lose field size and quality jocks, and that results in less confidence in terms of the betting public as far as their wagering goes, both on track and off track.
"It just has a negative impact on us."
While Cowan said that the track was keeping its distance from weighing in on the initial conflict between the ORC and Carignan, he placed the blame for the conflict elevating beyond an individual's suspension squarely onto the other jockeys.
"This whole situation was exacerbated by the fact that the jocks did not agree to ride the horses that were scratched," he said. "So, it's a double-edged sword. The stewards made the one decision, but the jocks made their decision.
"Between the jocks and the racing commission resulted in us being the victim of what happened."
Sue Leslie, president of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario, said her group is working with the jockeys and the ORC to ensure that a similar situation does not occur again.
"What happened (Tuesday) should never have happened. But it did, and we are were we are," she said.
"The Fort Erie Race Track is in a very precarious position in terms of income. All of us are under an obligation to ensure that none of us do anything that impacts the income to the racetrack or the purse account down there.
"We have all have a duty and an obligation to make sure that doesn't happen ... and yesterday we let it happen.
"And it can't happen again." St. Catharines Standard
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Barron Family Starts Donation to PDJF
Barron, an attorney, Thoroughbred owner-breeder, and former chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission died in June at age 74. His family has established an annual donation of $5,000 a year to the PDJF.
“We were honored to be selected by the Barron family for this generous donation,” PDJF executive director Nancy Lasala said. “When we hear about this type of ongoing contribution, we realize that the benefactors understand the situations these riders are in are not just about today, but tomorrow as well.
“From reading about Mr. Barron, it is obvious he took an all-encompassing view of the sport and would understand our needs. Many of the jockeys we serve were injured while in their 20s and 30s and face decades of living with a disability. The medical needs of our disabled jockeys are great, and in today’s healthcare environment, costs continue to escalate, posing still more challenges to individuals who courageously test their limits every day.”
The $75,000 Norm Barron Queen City Oaks is Ohio’s top race for state-bred 3-year-old fillies. It attracted a field of eight and is raced at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt.
Barron, a regular at River Downs near Cincinnati, is credited with conceiving the “7&7” wagering format in Ohio, and he created the concept of the Best of Ohio championship series for Ohio-bred runners. The Blood-Horse
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Ramon Dominguez Jockey of the Week
Dominguez, 33, banked $484,405 in purse earnings during the period to nip Elvis Trujillo by less than $2,000 for first place, due in large part to his first Grade 1 win of the year Dominguez first rode Gio Ponti in last year’s Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (G1) at Santa Anita Park, winning the race by a nose. The duo since has combined for three more Grade 1 wins.
Originally from Venezuela, Dominguez is in the midst of perhaps his most successful season. Through Tuesday, he led all North American jockeys by wins and purse earnings for the year with $7,896,594 in earnings and 198 victories. He has won 15 stakes races, including ten graded stakes, so far this year. Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Monday, July 12, 2010
OKLAHOMA JOCKEYS RECEIVE INCREASE
The new mount fee schedule calls for a minimum mount fee of $75 ranging up to $105 depending on the purse of the race. Previously, mount fees in Oklahoma were scaled from $45 to $105. The new rule increases the riders mount fee scale for all races at Oklahoma racetracks including all races at Remington Park, Fair Meadows and Will Rogers Downs.
“I appreciate the help of Constantin Rieger (executive director of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission) and the Commission for putting together a special committee to help us reach the agreement that led to this rule change,” said John Beech, regional manager for the Jockeys’ Guild. “I would also like to thank Justin Cassity (executive director of the Oklahoma HBPA), Debbie Schauf (executive director of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association), their boards, the ad hoc committee established by the Commission and its chairperson Cassie Barkett as well as the jockeys, particularly Glen Murphy and G.R. Carter, for their hard work in reaching the agreement.
“As we worked together to attain this goal, we look forward to working with the OKHBPA and the OQHRA for the betterment of racing in the state.”
“We continue to make progress addressing mount fees,” said G.R. Carter, vice-chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild. “We appreciate the cooperation of all involved in the states which have agreed to adjustments to the scale for base mount fees and will continue to work with the appropriate groups in the remaining jurisdictions to reach fair agreements going forward.”
This new scale follows increases in mount fees through legislation at California tracks and negotiated increases at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Finger Lakes, Monmouth, Meadowlands, Atlantic City, Hawthorne, Arlington, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder, Tampa Bay Downs, Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Turf Paradise, Yavapai Downs, Indiana Downs, Hoosier Park, Delaware Park, Charles Town, Mountaineer 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.
Contact: The Jockeys’ Guild
Monday, July 12, 2010
BAIRD, EMIGH AND SILVA TO BE HONORED ON JULY 17
Baird earned the 2,000th victory of his career last July 17 when he guided John Karakourtis’s Bond Street for trainer Hugh Robertson to a 2 1/2-length win in the second race that afternoon. The Chicago, Illinois, native has spent the bulk of his 25-year career on the Chicago circuit and is the son of the late R. L. Baird, a winner of more than 3,000 races himself.
Emigh, a mainstay at Arlington since the mid-1990s, notched the 3,000th victory of his career when he guided John Reinhart’s Thanks Lord for trainer Frank Kirby to a 1 3/4-length win in the fourth race on May 30, 2009. Champion rider here in 2006 with 110 wins, the Portsmouth, Virginia, native has been a consistent top 10 performer here for more than a decade.
Silva, who hung up his tack in April after more than 30 years in the saddle, earned the last significant milestone of his long career when he picked up his 3,500th North American victory astride Ben Barnow’s Iris Germanica for trainer Richard Hazelton to a 1 3/4-length win in the third race on Aug. 21, 2009. Since retiring, Silva has been serving as agent to jockey Brandon Meier.
Each of the three riders was honored in the winner’s circle at the time of recording his milestone however since that time ArlingtonPark purchased trophies with special bases created to commemorate the jockeys on their accomplishments. The jockeys will be joined in the winner’s circle by their families as well as their fellow riders. Arlington Park Communications Department
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Stevens moved out of intensive care
Stevens, 49, sustained six broken ribs, punctured both of his lungs, broke both sides of his collarbone, and has a lacerated spleen, according to Anderson.
As of Monday, Stevens continues to have a chest tube in place while his lungs recover from being punctured by his broken ribs. Immediately following the accident, Stevens's lungs were both collapsed and he need assistance getting oxygen. He was wearing a flak jacket.
"Scott is the kind of guy who wants to get up and move around," Anderson said. "With his ribs, the doctor has instructed him to move as little as possible so they can heal correctly."
Stevens will need months to recover from his injuries, said Anderson.
Jockeys Paul Nolan and Don Proctor continue to recover from injuries to their back suffered in the spill. Both are scheduled to return to the track before the Claiming Crown is run on July 24.
On Friday, Stevens's mount in the sixth race, Sombre, broke down while on the lead just before the quarter pole. Nolan's mount, Brook Ghazer, stumbled over her, throwing Nolan. Proctor's mount, Black Ruby, tried to veer to the outside to avoid the fallen horses, but Proctor could not hold on and fell.
Sombre was euthanized, while the other horses in the race appeared to come out of the incident without major injury. Daily Racing Form
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Melancon calls it a career
He finished ninth. But that was a minor technicality as he clearly went out a winner. The Churchill jocks' colony joined in the presentation - surprising Melancon with the ol' Gatorade (actually water) splash (see above). CD veep John Asher made nice comments and the track presented Melancon with a framed photo of his 2001 Stephen Foster victory on Guided Tour, signed by all his fellow riders.
Melancon ranks third in all-time victories here at 941 and fourth in stakes with 46. But no rider in the track’s 136 years has ridden here full-time more consecutive years, with Melancon first arriving for the 1974 spring meet. He has won at least one race every meet during his Churchill tenure, except for three he did not ride: 1974 fall, spring of ’79 and fall of ’93 (when he was fractured six ribs at Keeneland).
"I know you've got to step down some time, and I feel this is the time," Melancon said afterward. "I'm walking away happy and sound.... Walking out, it was really touching because all the crowd - I've been here a long time - and they were hollering, 'For 35 years I've watched.' All the people here, and this is home. I felt like I wanted to cry, like when I rode my first Kentucky Derby, walking out of that tunnel." Louisville Courier-Journal
Friday, July 02, 2010
Melancon retiring after 36 years as a jockey at Churchill
Melancon still gets to the track by 6:30 almost every morning, whether he needs to or not.
He has no problems with his knees -- reputed to be the first thing to go with a rider -- even though he turns 55 next month.
But Melancon also doesn't have much business anymore.
And so while he's had a productive but limited meet, with a 3-1-3 record out of 15 mounts, Melancon says this is his last meet at Churchill Downs. In all probability, Sunday will be his last day riding races, although he might ride a few days at Ellis Park this summer.
Melancon ranks third in all-time Churchill wins (941) and fourth in stakes wins (46). No rider in the track's 136 years has ridden here full-time for more consecutive years. Melancon first arrived for the 1974 spring meet.
He has won at least one race every meet of his Churchill tenure, except for three he did not ride: fall 1974, spring '79 and fall '93 (when he fractured six ribs at Keeneland).
"You're talking 39 years of riding," Melancon said. "I still like riding, but you need good mounts. Otherwise it's time to move on. It's something you don't want to do, but you have to."
Steve Penrod, who has used Melancon much of his training career, said the jockey "still rides good horses well," but he noted, "Larry has outlasted a lot of the trainers he used to ride for, so it's natural his business has tailed off. It's a new regime, and they're not Larry guys."
But Penrod and other trainers emphasize this: There's not a better horseman in the jockeys' room, especially for evaluating a horse from morning training.
Said trainer Don Winfree: "Without a doubt, he was the best technician I've ever been around as far as getting on a horse and being able to help you solve a problem, helping you make adjustments with equipment or saying what a horse might be looking to do in the future. He was also quick to tell you when one wasn't going anywhere."
Melancon, whose mother was a trainer, started riding quarter-horse races in Louisiana's fabled bush tracks at age 9. He moved to sanctioned tracks when he turned 16 and was the nation's winningest apprentice in 1972. His career record stands at 2,857 wins and more than $60.6million in purse earnings, according to Equibase. He has won 197 stakes races dating to 1976, as far back as Equibase can break out stakes.
But Melancon has never been about racking up gaudy numbers. He is the only rider in Churchill's all-time top 10 who has never won a riding title here. According to equineline.com stats, which go back to 1976, he has won more allowance races (312) than claiming races (284) at Churchill -- amazing considering how many more claiming events there are.
"He very seldom, even when he was young, was interested in riding the card," said Norman Schmitt, his agent for about 25 years. "He wanted to ride good horses."
Without Melancon, Calvin Borel (who came to Kentucky in 1995) and Robby Albarado ('96) will be the most senior members of the Churchill jocks' room.
"There aren't many riders like him anymore, dependable sixth-man-off-the-bench type," Albarado said of Melancon's longevity. "Larry was in the shadow of Pat Day for so many years.
"But Larry's numbers show. He's won most of the big races here. The sad part is he's retiring. But the other sad part is that when he leaves, he's going to go quietly. When Pat Day left, or when Calvin retires, there will be a big press conference. I feel Larry doesn't get the respect he deserves. He's not only a good rider, but a good person in general."
The father of a grown daughter and son, Melancon said he's going to take some time off, including visiting his baby grandson, before making a decision on his future.
"I'll still be in the business," he said. "It's all I've done all my life. I guess it's just pinpointing something you want to do and go for it."
Melancon rode in four Kentucky Derbys spanning four decades, finishing fourth on 55-1 Amano in 1976, 14th on Bachelor Beau in '86, 10th on Smilin Singin Sam in '94 and 16th in 2001 aboard Keats.
Of his 20,967 career mounts, he said "the one I'll always remember is the first Derby I rode in '76, walking out in that tunnel, the chills. It's something you dream of happening, and here you are, 19 or 20 years old, that was really, really exciting."
Though he won Keeneland's Grade I Blue Grass in 1986 with Bachelor Beau, Melancon calls his biggest day when he captured the then-Grade II, $750,000 Stephen Foster with Guided Tour and followed it up with a triumph in the Regret with Casual Feat in 2001.
"It's been really good to me," Melancon said of the sport, "especially here."
He also helped spark the stream of Cajun riders out of Louisiana and into Kentucky.
"They finally saw you could get out of Louisiana and make it," he said.
When Melancon arrived in Louisville, $3,500 claimers ruled the daily fare, and future Hall of Famer Don Brumfield was the kingpin. Melancon was here six years before Pat Day and is now riding five years after Churchill's all-time win leader retired.
Trainer Lynn Whiting recalls first seeing the jockey ride in New Orleans very early in his career.
"Bill Mott told me about him years ago," said Whiting, who teamed with Melancon to win the 1995 Pennsylvania Derby with Pineing Patty and the '98 New Orleans Handicap with Phantom On Tour. "He said, 'Take a good look at this kid and build an association or give him a chance.' I did and never regretted it.
"...He thinks like a horseman, not like a rider. He's thinking of developing a horse down the road, wanting to get tied on with a good horse, and not thinking about the immediate with him."
Now it's time to think about his own future.
"He's had a great career," Penrod said. "A lot of people don't realize what a great career he's had." Jennie Rees/Louisville Courier-Journal
Churchill Downs' all-time leading jockeys
x-Pat Day 2,482
Calvin Borel 1,019
Larry Melancon 941
x-Don Brumfield 925
Robby Albarado 883
x-Pat Day 156
Robby Albarado 64
Calvin Borel 52
Larry Melancon 46
Shane Sellers 46
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Fair Meadows jockey suffers broken neck
Leggett was riding in the third race on 2-year-old filly Hoist the Colours in the first of 10 Black Gold Futurity trials in an attempt to qualify for the finals on July 18.
Both horse and rider completed the race, but as Leggett attempted to pull the horse up afterward, she unexpectedly fell going into the clubhouse turn.
When she fell, so did Leggett.
The horse was unable to be saved.
Leggett was taken to St. John Medical Center. On Thursday morning, Leggett was alert and in good spirits as family arrived from his home in Bandera, Texas, according to track chaplain Daniel Reed, who drove to Tulsa to be with Leggett.
Leggett's wife and daughter were at his side in the intensive care unit at St. John on Thursday, and his father was expected to arrive later from Broken Bow, Neb.
"I don't believe it was life-threatening, but they were going to do surgery to prevent any further complications from where the neck was broken," said Debbie Schauf, president of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association.
However, Reed said doctors decided there was too much swelling in the neck area to perform surgery on Thursday.
But the doctors were optimistic that Leggett would be moved out of intensive care and into a private room in the next few days, Reed said.
The jockey lost feeling in his arms and legs after the accident but had regained some feeling in his fingers Thursday morning, Schauf said.
Jockey Stormy Smith was also taken to St. John after Wednesday's final race when his horse, The American Corona, went down after his trial. Smith sustained a broken collar bone and his horse was unable to be saved.
by: RICHARD LINIHAN World Correspondent
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Pincay Jersey Sale to Benefit Jockeys' Guild
The Laffit Pincay Jr. Award, given annually by Hollywood Park Racetrack to someone who has served the horse racing industry with integrity, dedication, determination and distinction, will also be given that day.
“Bob Baffert, Zenyatta, and now Pincay. Who could have ever imaged that we would have had this much fun creating jerseys for them," said Jack Mutz, owner of MVP Champions. "We were looking at new and exciting ways to raise thoroughbred awareness, and this is miraculously working.Laffit Pincay, Jr. invited us to his beautiful home in Arcadia and was very helpful providing the details we needed to make the jersey.The prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award he received in 1970 was one of his most treasured moments in horse racing.He chose the red, white and blue colors matching for the Hall of Fame jersey commemorating his achievements.These colors were selected in honor of the silks of legendary thoroughbred racehorse owner Fred W. Hooper and are also the colors of the flag of his native country, Panama."
The wearable/collectible jerseys feature achievements, matching silks, logos of sponsors and designated charities provided by the trainer, jockey, or owner of the horse on a sublimated or fully embroidered baseball jersey.The Santa Clarita family/based sportswear manufacturer, MVP Champions, presented the first jersey in a series of sports marketing products to benefit racing charities across the country, on Derby Day, April 3, 2010 at Santa Anita. The first jersey was created to honor Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who was there to sign jerseys for the fans that purchased the Baffert jersey.
MVP Champions launched Zenyatta's jersey during a special fundraising event benefiting Old Friends, a thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown Kentucky, at Hollywood Park on June 13, 2010, the day of her record breaking win in the Grade1 Vanity Handicap.The jerseys were sold out before the third race to a crowd of excited Zenyatta fans.
The Honorable Eduardo Arango, Panamanian Consulate General for the West Coast of United States and Canada, along with special invited guests, will attend the Gold Cup Day events honoring their friend Laffit Pincay, Jr.
Fourth District Councilman Ralph L. Franklin will present Laffit Pincay, Jr. a special proclamation on behalf of the City of Inglewood at Hollywood Park during the event.
The featured Laffit Pincay, Jr. jerseys will hit the Hollywood Park Gift Shop July 3rd and are available online at www.mvpchampions.com.One-third of the proceeds from each of jersey purchased will go directly to the Jockeys’ Guild, an organization representing professional jockeys in American Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing.
Velazquez, 38, won seven races aboard 26 starters who earned $372,697 during the period. His most lucrative victory came aboard filly Devil May Care, who captured the Mother Goose Stakes (G1) by 1¼ lengths on June 26 at Belmont Stakes.
Velazquez ranked third among North American jockeys by purse earnings for the year with $6,092,994 through Tuesday.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Velazquez has won more than 4,000 races since coming to the U.S. in 1990. Among his career highlights are victories in the 2007 Belmont Stakes (G1) with Rags to Riches and seven Breeders’ Cup races.
Winner of the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey in 2004 and ’05, Velazquez currently serves as chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild, a position he has held since ’06.
Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Dominguez Wins Four At Belmont Park
Dominguez, who came into Wednesday’s card with a one-race lead over Russell Baze in the 2010 North American jockey standings with a 178 wins, wasted no time padding his advantage, winning by a half-length aboard Who Is Lady ($6.80) in the first race and continuing with a 4½-length score in the third race with That’s Rich ($12.60).
After guiding Wicked Diva to a 2¾-length victory ($4.40) in the sixth race, Dominguez and Smart Woman ($7.70) held on to win by a nose in race seven.
“I always have high expectations because I want to win the most, but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way,” said Dominguez. “I looked at the races and thought my mounts were live, but you never know what will happen.”
A fifth win narrowly eluded Dominguez in the eighth race when I’ve Got Speed’s stretch rally fell a nose short.
Dominguez has won 52 races so far during the Spring/Summer Meet, 12 more than his closest challenger, Javier Castellano. Prior to Wednesday, Dominguez’s most recent four-bagger had come on April 7 at Aqueduct. NYRA Communications Department
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