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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Leparoux Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Leparoux, who won the 2009 Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey, won on 14 of his 27 mounds and earned $476,295 during the seven day period.
 
He won the Opening Verse Stakes on June 17 aboard Turallure at Chuchill Downs and also finished third in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) on June 18 aboard Apart.

Leparoux, 27, ranks sixth among all jockeys by purse earnings through June 22 with $5,883,872 from 620 starters.

Originally from France, Leparoux has won 18 stakes so far this year, most notably the Florida Derby (G1) aboard Dialed In on April 3. Leparoux came to the U.S. from France in 2003 to work for trainer Patrick Biancone. He has won riding titles at Turfway Park, Churchill Downs and Keeneland Race Course.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jeremy Edge - The Walking Brit Raises Funds for Anna House and PDJF

From Horserace Insider
 
 Jeremy, from London, England, was formerly an elected Councillor for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and is currently a regular contributor for HRTV. He has homes in London, Saratoga Springs and Pasadena and has been a volunteer at various Anna House events for the past ten years.

This walk is just one of many ways Jeremy wants to give back to horse racing, and his hope is that it will raise both awareness and funding for the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (PDJF) and for Anna House, the early childhood education center that for benefits the children of the backstretch workers at Belmont Park, sustained by the Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA).

Jeremy’s walk will begin on June 12, 2011 and is scheduled to take two weeks to complete. This unique fundraiser will challenge his physical limits and demonstrate the personal commitment of one person to put first those in our horse community who need assistance.

Many of the jockeys that the PDJF serve were injured while in their 20s and 30s and now face decades of living with a disability. They have lost their income and the opportunity to build a financial cushion sufficient to support them and their families. The medical needs of our disabled jockeys are great and may include daily assistance from a caregiver or help meeting their day-to-day needs. In today’s healthcare environment, costs continue to escalate – posing still more challenges to individuals who courageously test their limits every day. The PDJF strives to reach out to everyone in the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse industry, their business partners, and the great fans of this sport for their support. Our long-term goal is to create an endowment that will enable the fund to be self-sufficient. While we build that endowment, we ask for your support so that we may continue to assist these permanently disabled jockeys.

Friday, June 17, 2011

FIRST-TIMERS LANERIE, HAYS FAMILY JOIN MAKER AS 2010 KENTUCKY THOROUGHBRED MEDIA AWARD WINNERS

 From Churchill Downs Media Communications Department

        The KTM awards, which are being presented for the 21st consecutive year,  recognize the Kentucky-based owner, jockey and trainer with the most wins in the calendar year at the commonwealth’s five Thoroughbred tracks.  Statistical data for the awards was compiled by Incompass, The Jockey Club’s technology-solutions company.

 

        The awards will be presented to the 2010 winners in a winner’s circle ceremony following the first race on the Stephen Foster Day Presented by Abu Dhabi program at Churchill Downs on Saturday, June 18.  The scheduled post time for the first of Saturday’s 12 races is 12:45 p.m. (EDT).

       

        Hays, a prominent Louisville auto-dealer, and his family won 45 races last year to end by end a 10-year streak of  KTM Owner of the Year awards earned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey of Nicholasville.  The Hayses edged the Ramseys by two victories for the honor.

 

         “I had no idea we were even close,” said Hays, who in 2005 beat out the perennial champion Ramseys for the “leading owner” crown in the Churchill Downs Spring Meet.

 

          For years Billy Hays campaigned horses in his name, but last year changed his stable ownership to include his wife, Donna, and Justin, their 24-year-old son. The Hayses earned 2010 owner titles at Turfway Park’s Winter-Spring and Fall meets, as well as multiple crowns in Ohio.  The 259 victories by Hays-owned horses in 2010 ranked second nationally, trailing only Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. with led the country at 310.

 

         Corey Lanerie captured his first KTM Jockey of the Year honor by earning 111 victories at Kentucky tracks – 17 more than runner-up Robby Albarado.  Other 2010 highlights for Lanerie included riding title at Ellis Park and a runner-up finish to Calvin Borel in the Churchill Downs Spring Meet. His biggest victory was Keeneland’s Grade II, $250,000 Lexus Raven Run aboard the Todd Pletcher-trained Hilda’s Passion.

 

        Maker, whose 2010 highlight was a win by Stately Victor in the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) at Keeneland, won his third straight KTM Trainer of the Year award with 81 victories, easily outdistancing the 48 wins by Dale Romans. He captured the Ellis Park and Turfway Park Holiday Meet training titles, and tied for the Kentucky Downs crown.                                                                                     

 

KENTUCKY THOROUGHBRED MEDIA AWARDS, 2010 STANDINGS

 

JOCKEY, WINS

Corey Lanerie 111

Robby Albarado 94

Ben Creed, Julien Leparoux, Thomas Pompell 87

John McKee 68

Victor Lebron 67

Calvin Borel 65

Shaun Bridgmohan 64

Rex A. Stokes III 54

 

TRAINER, WINS

Mike Maker 81

Dale Romans 48

Joe Woodard 46

Steve Asmussen 43

Todd Pletcher 41

Kenny McPeek 40

Eric Reed 34

Bill Mott 32

Eddie Kenneally 30

Greg Foley 28

 

OWNER, WINS

Billy, Donna and Justin Hays 45

Ken and Sarah Ramsey 43

Maggi Moss 15

Courtland Farms, Four D Stable 12

MY Stables 11

Herman Van Der Broeck, Kay Reed 10

Augustin Stable, WinStar Farm, Heiligbrodt Racing, Amerman Racing, Ron McCauley, Wertheimer & Frere 9

 

- END -

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wall Street Journal:Paralysis Research Breakthrough Points to Combination Treatments.

Katherine Hobson/Wall Street Journal/ 5/20/2011
As the WSJ reports, Rob Summers, now 25, was hit by a car in 2006 and lost all motor control below his chest, retaining some very limited feeling. After more than two years of locomotor training, a form of rehab that teaches the spinal cord neurons stepping patterns, Summers had a stimulation device implanted with electrodes on key parts of his lower spinal cord.

When a constant stream of electric stimulation is delivered to those neurons, Summers is able to pull himself into a standing position and bear his own weight for up to four minutes at a time without assistance. And with help in placing his feet, he can make stepping motions on a treadmill while suspended from a harness.

Outside experts said because this is the only reported case of this kind of success, it’s way too early to say whether this might someday be available as a therapy for paralyzed patients, and if so, which ones would benefit. But it points to the fact that, as with treating cancer and HIV, spinal-cord injuries are unlikely to be cured by one single procedure, process or medication, says Ross Zafonte, vice president of medical affairs at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and chairman of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

In this case, the combo of locomotor training and electrostimulation produced the advance. In animals, drugs have been added to this mix to further sensitize the spinal cord to sensory messages that aid movement. No such drugs are approved for use in humans, but medications are an avenue for further research. Daniel Sciubba, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, says drugs preventing programmed cell death, for example, might eventually be combined with rehab, stimulation and even stem-cell therapy to promote regeneration. It’s possible that “when you take all the drugs and all the treatments, you might make the biggest jump,” he says.

Effective cocktail treatments, if they do come, are years down the road. And it’s not clear whether this advance or others will help paralyzed people regain all the motor skills lost when they were injured. But there may also be a big opportunity to improve things like bladder and bowel control, sexual function and the ability to regulate body temperature, researchers say.

“When you’re living with a spinal-cord injury, those things impact your life,” says Steven Kirshblum, medical director and director of spinal cord injury rehabilitation at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. (Kirshblum wasn’t directly involved in this research but Kessler has collaborated with the researchers in the past.) “Those domains are so important.”

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Belmont Stakes Jockeys Dominguez and Castanon Visit Howard Stern Show

 
Howard noted that each came in at just 5’3” and 103lbs: “I’m like, that’s the perfect hot chick’s body. It’s such hard work to be a jockey.” Asked if they ever make themselves vomit to cut weight, Ramon shrugged: “Some of us unfortunately do. Speaking for myself, I don’t.” Instead, Ramon eats light: “I’ll just have some toast and a little bit of coffee and that will keep me going all day.”
Ramon said most jockeys start training at 15 years old, and often earn just a fraction of what the horses they ride do. Only successful jockeys, like Jesus, who just won the Preakness, make decent money. Jesus said he’d won himself a statuesque wife: “She’s taller than me.” Howard was happy to hear it, “You guys should walk around with a 6’2” woman!”

IT’S BETTER TO BE A HORSE THAN TO RIDE ONE

Gary came in to ask if winning horses are ever conscious of their victories, but neither Ramon nor Jesus thought so. Howard then asked if they’d ever seen a jockey break his neck; Ramon nodded soberly: “Many.” Ramon credited his success to a calculated life: “I don’t bet. I don’t gamble at all.” Howard thanked them for coming by: “You know what I learned today? It’s better to be horse than a jockey.”
Thursday, June 09, 2011

Jockey "BEEFCAKE" Calender Charity Signing On Belmont Stakes Day

From NYRA Communications Department
The 2012 Thoroughbred Racing Jockeys calendar, produced by Black Liner Productions and published by Browntrout, sells for $13.99.

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will donate all proceeds from sales at the special Belmont Park signing to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).

The calendar features shots of 12 of the top thoroughbred jockeys in the country - Calvin Borel, Shaun Bridgmohan, Javier Castellano, Kent Desormeaux, Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez, Channing Hill, Julien Leparoux, Edgar Prado, Mike E. Smith, Terry Thompson, and John Velazquez.

A number of the featured jockeys will be at Belmont Park for the signing, which starts at 10:00 a.m. in the Belmont Backyard under the big 40' x 40' festival tent. Fans are encouraged to come early to get their place in line.

Photography for the calendar was shot by Barbara D. Livingston, a two-time Eclipse Award Winner.

For more information, please contact Christine Sabia at asgoodasitgets1988@yahoo.com.


About the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund

The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) was incorporated in the spring of 2006.   It was a collaborative effort of many leaders in the horse racing industry, including race tracks, jockeys, horsemen, and many others who had a vision of a program that would bring much-needed financial assistance to a group of athletes who have given so much to the sport of horse racing. The PDJF is governed by an independent board comprised of stakeholders from a broad cross-section of the horse racing industry. The PDJF is committed to working with both industry and medical research groups to improve the safety of both the human and equine athlete as well as medical research projects dedicated to reducing catastrophic injuries. More information is available online at http://www.pdjf.org.     

About The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York’s three major tracks through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state’s thoroughbred business which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State’s urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2010, more than 1.6 million people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. Factoring in nationwide off-track wagering, the average daily betting handle on NYRA races totals more than $8.7 million. NYRA has a vast network of websites, including www.nyra.com, www.belmontstakes.com, and www.nyragroupsales.com. You can also follow NYRA on social media platforms Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube.




Tuesday, June 07, 2011

BELMONT JOCKEYS, INCLUDING DOMINGUEZ AND VELAZQUEZ, TO VISIT RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE

From NYRA Communications Department
Two days before the 143rd running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes, Janet Baeza, Ryan Curatolo, Ramon Dominguez, Alan Garcia, Maylan Studart, and John Velazquez, among others, will travel to the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park at 10:30 a.m. to mingle with children at the House. Clad in their colorful silks, the riders will pose for photographs and distribute gifts of personally autographed riding goggles and hats.

“This is a great event for our children and their families,” said Ronald McDonald House of Long Island Executive Director Matthew Campo. “Meeting the jockeys is always a wonderful time for everyone. We wish them the best of luck on Saturday.”

Dominguez and Velazquez will have mounts in this year’s Belmont, with Dominguez riding Mucho Macho Man and Velazquez riding Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. Velazquez won the 2007 race with the filly Rags to Riches, the first female to win the Belmont in 102 years.

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It is a ‘home-away-from home’ for families who are caring for seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment in area hospitals. Located on the campus of the Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the House accommodates families in a warm and supportive environment. Since opening in 1986, approximately 13,000 families from the United States and more than 80 countries around the world have been served. Many of the families are from Queens, Suffolk and Nassau Counties, as well as the surrounding metropolitan area.

Monday, June 06, 2011

DOMINGUEZ SWEEPS NYSS, BECOMES 2ND JOCKEY IN BELMONT HISTORY TO WIN SIX IN A DAY

From NYRA Communications Department
It was the 16th time a jockey has won six races on a single card on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit. If not for Friend Or Foe wearing down Dominguez’s mount, fellow comebacker Rail Trip, in the $60,000 Easy Goer overnight stakes, he would have become the first jockey to win seven races in a single day at a NYRA track.

 

In race 6, the $75,000 NYSS Spectacular Bid Division for 3-year-olds, Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables’ Darrin’s Dilemma employed a new running style, rating in second as favored Bold Deed set fractions of 23.36 and 46.36. Given his cue nearing the quarter pole, Darrin’s Dilemma took command in upper stretch en route to a one-length victory over the pacesetter.

 

“I think the key factor today with him is how well he relaxed,” said Dominguez of Darrin’s Dilemma, who entered today’s race off a victory in the six-furlong NYSS Times Square Division on May 11. “He can be very quick and he's coming off these real short distance races and I was afraid that he would be too keyed up, but he relaxed so nicely and that really helped him. Of course, the grass maybe moved him up as well, but he just relaxed great.”

 

The Spectacular Bid was the first start on turf for Darrin’s Dilemma, who completed seven furlongs over firm going in 1:21.94. The son of Freud returned $7.10 for a $2 win wager as the 5-2 second choice, improved his record to 3-2-0 from five starts, and earned $45,000 to lift his bankroll to $144,700.

 

“I was very happy he liked the grass,” said winning trainer Rudy Rodriguez. “He ran big for us. I was a little concerned because he usually goes to the lead, but it was good for us that he relaxed and made the winning move. Ramon did a very good job with him, and we got lucky.”

 

Dominguez’s sixth win came in race 9, the $75,000 NYSS Cupecoy’s Joy, aboard Hessonite, his final mount of the day. Reserved in fifth early, Hessonite was guided off the rail entering the upper turn, ranged up three wide turning for home, and blew by her opponents once put to a drive, finding the wire 3 3/4 lengths to the good of Lady On the Run.

 

“It could have been seven, but I got beat early on,” said Dominguez moments after his Cupecoy’s Joy victory. “It really wasn’t me. It was the horses. I’m very happy. I didn’t know I was only the second rider to win six races [at Belmont Park].”

 

Hessonite, who was cutting back in distance off a triumph in a 1 1/16-mile New York-bred allowance over soft turf at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 23, completed the Cupecoy’s Joy’s seven-furlong distance in 1:22.78 and returned $4.70 as the 6-5 favorite. Trained by David Donk for William J. Punk, Jr. and Philip Di Leo, she ran her record to 3-0-0 from 5 starts.

 

“Today the concerns were reversed,” said Donk. “Today’s race was much shorter, with it being over firm ground. She’s going to be a pretty useful filly. [Dominguez] said she got to wandering a little bit, but once he hit her one time, she went about her business.”

 

Hessonite has earned $102,310 to date, including $45,000 for her Cupecoy’s Joy success. Like Darrin’s Dilemma, Hessonite is by Freud.

 

Dominguez began his historic day with a victory in the first race, a one-mile optional claimer, aboard favored Saginaw ($3.00) coming from just off the pace to win by three-quarters of a length. Without a mount in the second, he returned to win the $60,000 Xtra Heat with Bellamy Star ($11.40), posted a front-running win on Little Larky ($9.30) in race 5, and extended his victory total to five in race 7 with favored Show Trial ($3.40), who rallied to win the one-mile claiming race by 1 ¾ lengths.

 

Overall, Dominguez won six races from eight mounts, while Velasquez went six-for-six on June 9, 1981.

 

Friday, June 03, 2011

Rosario, Smith plan to ride at Royal Ascot

The absence of Rosario, in particular, will have an effect on the jockey’s standings at the current Hollywood Park meeting. Through Sunday, Rosario led all riders with 31 wins, six more than Rafael Bejarano and Joe Talamo. Rosario is scheduled to ride at Belmont Park next Friday and Saturday and then travel to England. He is scheduled to resume riding at Hollywood Park on the evening of June 17, according to his agent, Ron Ebanks.

BARBARA LIVINGSTON: Photos of Mike Smith through the years »

Rosario, 26, said the chance to ride arguably the world’s most prestigious flat racing festival is too good to pass up. Rosario is expected to have mounts for American trainer Wesley Ward, who has sent nine horses to Europe this spring.

“It’s exciting,” Rosario said. “It would be nice to be there.”

Rosario acknowledged that the journey could hurt his business in California, but said that after discussing the trip with Ebanks that the opportunity to ride at a world-famous meeting is worth taking.

“We want to go,” Rosario said. “It could cost me a couple of mounts, but we have to do it.”

Smith rode Gentlemans Code to a maiden win for Ward at Folkestone, England, on May 26, the first time he had ridden in that country. During a trip that lasted nearly a week, Smith rode workouts for trainer Luca Cumani in Newmarket, England.

“I had a wonderful time over there,” he said. “It was so refreshing to tell the truth.”

A Hall of Famer best known as the regular rider for 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, Smith, 45, plans to ride Gentlemans Code for Ward at Royal Ascot, but hopes to add to that.

“I’m hoping to pick up some other business,” Smith said.

Smith has emphasized riding major races in recent weeks at Hollywood Park. Aside from England, Smith has ridden in Kentucky and Maryland in the last month, including a third aboard Astrology in the Preakness Stakes on May 21.

Through Sunday, Smith had three wins from 21 mounts at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting. Ward said last month that he would wait until early June before selecting Royal Ascot races and jockey assignments for his stable.

Friday, June 03, 2011

BIG DAY CATAPULTS CASTELLANO TO TOP OF BELMONT STANDINGS

 From NYRA Communications Office

Entering the day two wins behind Velasquez, Castellano swept the first two races with Starsilhouette ($7.50) and Socialsaul ($11.40), with the early Daily Double returning $47.20. Third in race 3 and without a mount in race 4, Castellano took race 5 with Those Lion Eyes ($3.40), part of a favored coupled entry, captured race 6, the $40,000 Peace Emblem starter handicap, with Unaccountable ($6.50), and prevailed in race 7 aboard Who’s On the Case ($12.60), completing a $70.00 Pick 3.

 

Castellano had the chance to break The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) record for victories in a day, which stands at six, but his mounts in races 8 and 9 finished fifth and third, respectively.

 

Since the meet commenced April 29, Castellano has won 32 races, three more than Velasquez. Ramon Dominguez is third in the standings with 25 victories.

 

-30-

 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

KY Derby Winning Jockey John Velazquez to participate in live web chat

 From NYRA Communications Department

Velazquez will discuss the Leroidesanimaux colt’s upcoming start in the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes, a possible rematch with Preakness winner Shackleford, as well as several other Kentucky Derby and Preakness starters including Nehro and Mucho Macho Man.

 

Owned by Team Valor International and trained by H. Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom made his first start on dirt in the Derby, winning by 2 ¾ lengths and giving Velazquez his first victory in the race, then fell short by just a half-length in the Preakness.

 

A native of Puerto Rico, Velazquez came to the United States in 1990 under the guidance of Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero, Jr., his longtime agent. A dual Eclipse Award winner and four-time leading jockey in New York, Velazquez has taken 21 individual NYRA meet titles and was the leading rider in Saratoga last year with 57 victories. Recent top mounts include the filly Rags to Riches, winner of the 2007 Belmont Stakes, Quality Road, winner of last year’s Metropolitan Handicap and Woodward, and 2010 Juvenile Champion Uncle Mo.

 

Fans who wish to participate in the live dialogue with Velazquez may log on to http://www.nyra.com/livechat beginning Friday, June 3, at 8 p.m. No pre-registration is necessary and users may simply type questions and comments in the chat field at the bottom of the page for Velazquez to address. At the conclusion of the chat, an “instant replay” is created for future reference.

 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Rajiv Maragh Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Maragh confidently handled Tizway in the one-mile race at Belmont Park, contesting the pace early before drawing off to an easy victory in the stretch.

Maragh also picked up a turf stakes victory at Belmont in the Key to the Bridge Stakes, in which he guided Prize Catch to victory.

A native of Jamaica, Maragh, 25, currently ranks fifth, by earnings, in the Belmont Park rider standings. He ranks 14th nationally in that category as his mounts have earned $3,216,816.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Sometimes, lightning actually strikes

Jay Hovdey/Daily Racing Form
They made it around and then, on their way back to the room, the Arlington paddock lit up with another flash of lightning.

The next thing the holiday crowd learned was that the rest of the afternoon’s races had been canceled. Statements coming from track officials indicated that the cancellation was necessary because the jockeys refused to ride. There was a suggestion that the riders acted precipitously because the weather was supposed to get better.

Let’s not be concerned for now about the idea of predicting the weather and making plans accordingly. It can be done, especially in the very short run, and there are sophisticated meteorological resources available at the touch of an app on anyone’s iPhone these days.

Let’s also set aside for the moment the idea that the cancellation of a horse racing card needs a scapegoat. This is horse racing, not a SEAL Team 6 operation, and the loss of a few races should be no big deal in the larger scheme of things.

There also is the issue of jockeys being afraid to ride under some conditions, which is laughable, given the fact that riders can die in the blink of an eye on cloudless, picture-postcard days. Their job is about minimizing, not eliminating, the ridiculous risks of their profession.

Let us instead turn to the effects of lightning strikes on living creatures, be they human, equine, or arboreal. In brief, the lightning always wins. Depending on the thickness of the bolt, estimates of voltage begin in the tens of millions and soar into the hundreds. You’ve heard the old saying about how lightning never strikes the same place twice? There’s good reason for that. It doesn’t need to.

In December 1998, the 22-year-old Australian jockey Damion Beckett was killed when he and his mount, Brave Buck, were struck by lightning during a workout at Ascot Race Course, near Perth. Trainer Graeme Webster was an eyewitness.

“We had some really big claps of thunder before it, and the heavens opened up like tropical rain, then a flash of lightning came as if from nowhere,” Webster said. “I actually saw the lightning hit Brave Buck and he went down like a stone.”

There are recorded instances of lightning fatalities at racetracks going back as far as August 1907, when jockey Henry Baudus was killed by a lightning strike in Mineral Wells, Texas, as he entered the racing enclosure at the local fair grounds with two other riders. Baudus, identified in reports as “colored,” was believed to be 35.

But the story that still sends chills through more recent generations is that of Nicanor Navarro. In 1978, three days after Christmas, the 25-year-old Navarro, a winner of 57 races that season, had weighed out after the second race at Calder Race Course in Miami when he was hit by lightning. He was killed instantly.

“I went to work for Calder in March of 1979, and they were still shaken about it,” said Terry Meyocks, a former racetrack executive and now executive director of the Jockeys’ Guild. “He was standing in a little puddle of water, just talking to his trainer after the race, right there near the winner’s circle.”

There are not too many riders who make it to the end of a career without a lightning story. Jeff Johnston, now the Midwestern Jockeys’ Guild representative, won’t be forgetting his closest call.

“I was riding at Turfway,” Johnston said. “A bolt hit the sixteenth pole just as we were going past it. The ground lit up like nothing you could believe.”

Midwesterners are a brave bunch, though, and this year they have lived through some terrible weather trauma. From floods to tornados, nature has shown very little mercy, proving once again how small we are when the climate becomes the enemy. Sometimes the tendency, after surviving a few disasters, is to flout Ma Nature and roll the dice, which apparently is what Arlington’s jockeys were asked to do last Sunday, even though there were reports that the storms had passed.

“We thought we had demonstrated that the weather was going to improve, and it did,“ said Tony Petrillo, Arlington’s general manager. “We were unable to convince the jocks otherwise.

“We’ve had a subsequent meeting, and we feel now the jockeys have been informed of the measures we use to gauge the weather and make determinations,” Petrillo said. “They will have access to the same resources we do, and we’ll have individuals from management responsible for communicating that information to the rest of the room that may not understand it.”

Meyocks is glad to hear it.

“I do think it’s important we establish some kind of guidelines when it comes to severe weather issues, like lightning in the area,” Meyocks said. “The precautions should not be any different than what they do for golf tournaments, or soccer games, or when you let your kids go back into the pool after you’ve seen lightning.”

All Meyocks asks is that decisions, when they are made, be couched in terms that do not lay blame upon any single group of participants.

“If safety is the number one issue of the racetrack, then there is no reason you can’t tell the public that the races had to be canceled for reasons of safety, no matter how that decision was reached,” Meyocks said.

As for the particular conditions faced last Sunday at Arlington, Meyocks was adamant about one thing.

“Jockeys aren’t afraid to ride, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it for a living,” Meyocks said. “But I can tell you one thing for sure – one hundred percent of jockeys are afraid to ride in lightning.”

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Chilean Jockey Killed

The Thoroughbred Times
Inda, one of eight riders to go down in the accident, suffered a fractured skull and a spin injury. He had been on a ventilator since being admitted to the ICU at a Santiago hospital Friday.

The rider had more than 800 victories to his credit.

Two other jockeys involved in the incident, Angelo Rivera, who fractured his right leg, and Nicolas Garcia, who broke his pelvis, will be out of action for approximately six months each.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Steiner, Leonard Reunite for Emotional Tally

by Blood-Horse Staff
Steiner, 46, had not won a race in more than six years. Leonard, who has trained throughout the country, last won a race in California in 1987.

The veteran rider was busy accepting congratulations throughout the stable area the following morning after winning with his 12th mount in a comeback he began this year.

“I’ve been doing a little bit of everything since I hurt my neck and shoulder in a spill at Santa Anita six years ago,” said Steiner. “After the injuries healed, I worked for the Jockeys Guild, then in real estate.

“The last two years I’ve worked horses for Bob Baffert,” continued Steiner. “That got the fires burning to come back and ride. This is a huge passion of mine. Working horses in the morning, putting it all together, and winning in the afternoon is the ultimate.”

Steiner has been friends with Leonard since his youth in Washington state and rode Leonard’s previous California winner, Saratoga Passage, in the 1987 Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) during the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.

“We’re from Seattle,” explained Leonard after sending out his first winner at Hollywood Park. “We were at Longacres until it closed down. Joe won a lot of races for us there. His mom and dad, who run the kitchen at Emerald Downs, are dear friends. Joe’s won races for us in Illinois and Indiana as well as Washington and California.”

Leonard managed to juggle a career as an airline pilot with raising a family and traveling the country as a trainer. “I got started in racing in college in 1964 when five fraternity brothers including myself each put up $300 to buy two horses,” said Leonard.

Leonard flew for Northwest Airlines for 30 years from 1966-1996 and has raced at more than 40 tracks in 20 states during his career. Leonard campaigned multiple stakes winner Phi Beta Doc, a multiple stakes winner who captured the Virginia Derby and set a course record for 1 3/16 miles winning the Saranac Stakes on the Saratoga turf.

“Nobody knew us there just like nobody knows us here,” Leonard said. “Slane Castle probably should have been 10-1. She only finished 1 1/2 lengths behind (race favorite) Izshelegal in her last race.”

Leonard has three horses stabled in Hollywood Park’s Barn 53. Slane Castle, a 3-year-old Castledale filly, was making her sixth start.

“That was a rider’s race yesterday, and Joey timed it perfectly,” said Leonard of the photo-finish victory.




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