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Friday, March 30, 2012

The Jockey Club Unveils Updated Version of Reformed Racing Medication Rules

The organization is encouraging all Thoroughbred racing jurisdictions to implement them in order to improve the integrity of the sport and enhance the safety of its athletes.

 

The Reformed Racing Medication Rules were introduced at The Jockey Club’s Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in August 2011 after consultation and collaboration with representatives of the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium, the Association of Racing Commissioners International and the International Federations of Horseracing Authorities.

 

“We have been refining this document since then and the result is a dramatically streamlined set of regulations that is on par with international standards,” said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. “It creates a new enforcement scheme with far stiffer penalties and deterrents for repeat offenders. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with industry organizations and national, state and local regulatory agencies to see these rules adopted.”

 

The new rules feature a cumulative penalty system featuring stronger penalties for repeat violations. Fines, disqualifications and even lifetime suspensions would be possible for those persistently operating outside regulatory limits.

 

Among the main tenets of the Reformed Racing Medication Rules:

·       Horses should be allowed to compete only when free from the influences of medication

·       Medications permitted in the race horse are subjected to stricter regulatory thresholds with increased recommended withdrawal times.

·       Furosemide is currently prohibited although this may be effected through a transitional process

·       Only RMTC-accredited laboratories are permitted to test samples, with results available to the public

·       Medication violations result in points that accumulate to trigger stronger sanctions for repeat violations; up to lifetime suspensions

·       Medication histories for all horses available for review

·       Contact with a horse within 24 hours of post time of the race shall be subject to surveillance; certain regulations and track ship-in policies may be subject to adjustment

·       Reciprocal enforcement of uniform mandatory rest periods among racing regulatory authorities for horses with symptoms of exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage

·       Expansion of regulatory authority to include all jurisdictions where official “workouts” are conducted

·       Administration and withdrawal guidelines are published for all approved therapeutic medication subject to regulatory control

·       Best practices for improved security and monitoring of “in today” horses are provided for guidance to racing associations

“As we have said many times before, The Jockey Club believes that the overuse of medication endangers our human and equine athletes, threatens the integrity of our sport and erodes consumer confidence in our game,” Gagliano said. “Horses should compete only when they are free from the influence of medication, and these reformed rules represent a giant step toward achieving that goal.”

Craig Fravel, president and chief executive officer of Breeders’ Cup Limited, said, “Safety and integrity are values that are paramount to the viability of Thoroughbred racing. We must dedicate our efforts to adopting uniform national rules that ensure a level playing field and that ensure those who do not wish to abide by those rules can no longer compete against those who do.”

 

Dan Metzger, the president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said, “The Reformed Racing Medication Rules provide a reasonable and common sense approach to achieve uniformity and impose severe penalties on those who repeatedly violate rules. Adoption of these revised rules will provide our industry with necessary, responsible and positive reform.”

 

The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms, among others. Additional information is available at jockeyclub.com.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

NYRA PRESENTS NEW SPANISH-LANGUAGE YOUTUBE FEATURE

NYRA Communications Department
Grandison, a sportscaster from his native Panama, discusses a variety of topics with Ortiz, a Puerto Rican-born rider who finished fourth at the recently concluded Aqueduct inner track meet with 66 wins.

 

The video is available on NYRA’s YouTube channel and on NYRA’s Facebook page. For a direct link to the video, click here.

 

In Panama, Grandison worked as a broadcaster for ABC Radio and Radio Pan-Americana. In addition to serving as a racing broadcaster for Hipodromo Presidente Remon, Grandison reported on racing for radio stations KW Continente and Radio Uno, television station Television Cable, and newspaper Hoy. Grandison now lives in Brooklyn.

 

For the next installment, Grandison will interview Samuel Camacho, Jr., a Venezuelan apprentice jockey who began competing at Aqueduct in January.

 

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Leparoux Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

The race marked the second time this season that Leparoux and Daddy Knows Best have teamed to win a stakes. The duo secured a victory in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) on February 18.

Leparoux won a pair of stakes races in the past seven days as the 2009 Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey guided Newsdad to victory on March 24 in the Pan American Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

Leparoux, 28, ranked eighth in purse earnings by North American  jockeys through March 27 at $2,801,816.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Mexico to Expand Equine Drug Testing

by The Associated Press
Racing Commission executive director Vince Mares said the Legislature approved money in the upcoming budget year to start “out-of-competition” testing of horses. The agency is still developing its rules, but that will test horses long before races, such as a month in advance, to try to detect performance enhancing drugs and excessive doses of painkillers and other drugs that ordinarily are used to treat injuries.

The commission currently requires drug testing of horses that win races at New Mexico tracks and conducts random testing of some other race participants.

“What a lot of these people that are doping are doing is that they are utilizing these drugs and then stopping it 30 days, 40 days out before the horse has to race. So… when we test, the compound is out of their system,” Mares said in a telephone interview. “Out-of-competition testing would be so beneficial in catching these individuals that are actually doing the illegal doping.”

The agency’s testing change comes as the horse racing industry has come under greater scrutiny because of a New York Times investigation of safety problems at tracks. Drugs can mask injuries in horses and allow them to race, but lead to potential accidents for horses and jockeys. The newspaper pointed to lax regulation by states as part of the industry’s problem, and said its analysis found that New Mexico had the worst safety record of tracks across the country.

Gov. Susana Martinez, in response to the newspaper’s investigation, has asked the agency for “a full report of the most serious problems that persist in New Mexico racing, along with potential remedies for these problems, so that she can do whatever it takes to ensure that the resources and support exists to better protect horses and jockeys in our state,” said Scott Darnell, a spokesman for the governor.

The governor appoints members to the commission.

Mares, who became executive director earlier this year, said the commission is striving to become more aggressive in policing the industry and imposing tougher penalties on horse owners and trainers that violate the agency’s drug policies. The commission in February agreed to a yearlong ban on Clenbuterol, a steroid-like drug, for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. The drug can help horses build muscle and is used to clear bronchial tubes in horses before races. High doses can cause adverse effects, even death.

The Clenbuterol ban will take effect April 20, the first day of the racing season.

Mares said money is the hurdle to more widespread drug testing of horses. A test costs about $120, he said, and the agency can incur costs of about $30,000 for two months of testing under its current policy.

The Legislature, at the request of the agency, approved an additional $45,000 for the next fiscal year, which starts in July, for out-of-competition testing. The agency has a total operating budget of $1.8 million currently and that will increase to nearly $2 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Mares said the commission is developing the rules and regulations for the new tests and he expects the program will be in place in July.

“I am hoping we see an increase in horse positives. I know it’s a double-edged sword. We don’t really want to see it, but I am hoping we catch those individuals now that are abusing the system and hand down the appropriate penalties for that,” said Mares.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Horse racing people show their class, rally for ailing retired jockey E.J. Perrodin

PERROD~1 (2).jpgMembers of the Louisiana horse racing community staged a benefit Tuesday for retired jockey E.J. Perrodin, who is battling cancer.
 
 
Jockeys, trainers, owners, assistant trainers, grooms, exercise riders, hot walkers, veterinarians, track officials, fans – people involved in racing in just about every way – gathered on an off day for a crawfish boil to benefit Perrodin’s family. Days after announcing his retirement early last month, Perrodin, 55, who went home to Haughton, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

“This is just unreal,’’ said Mouton, wife of trainer Pat Mouton, “I can’t believe the people who showed up. You’re looking at people from Jefferson Downs. I guess that happens when you’ve been around this long. It’s very touching. The horsemen, we’re a breed of our own. Competitors can meet and come together for a good cause.’’

Perrodin, known as Tee Joe around the track, won more than 3,083 races, riding mostly in his native Louisiana. But the first time I saw him ride was in the 1970s at Hazel Park in Detroit. After a race in which Perrodin’s horse had been cut off by another horse, Perrodin and the rider of that horse were arguing on the way back to the jockeys’ room. All of a sudden, Perrodin knocked down the other jockey with one punch.

Years later at the Fair Grounds, the first time I talked to Perrodin, I started the conversation by mentioning that I was there when he punched that jockey. He smiled. Our relationship was off to a good start.

I appreciated the schooling that Perrodin and jockey Ronald Ardoin gave me when I was a rookie reporter, and my poor choice of words in a story about a race led to a visit for them to the stewards. The two jockeys hadn’t done anything wrong and didn’t get in trouble. I was at fault. They let me know, but in a helpful way.

Reporters aren’t supposed to have favorites, but I’ll admit that Perrodin always has been a favorite of mine. He always acted professionally. He never put the focus on himself. He always gave credit to the horse.

He had the reputation for being an outstanding turf rider, but he was an outstanding rider, period. He knew pace and was patient – a quality needed at all tracks but particularly at the Fair Grounds with its long stretch.

“It was awesome riding against him,’’ said Marlin St. Julien, one of many jockeys at Tuesday’s event. “I learned a lot from him. … He never got in trouble. He was always one to follow, especially if he was on a good horse. He was always an awesome person.’’

Perrodin’s athleticism showed in the way the jockey set his stirrups, St. Julien said. “You know how tall he is (about 5 feet 9),’’ St. Julien said. “He rode shorter than anybody I know. His stirrups, they were at least two inches higher than mine. I tried that. I almost fell off my horse.’’

Perrodin rode with determination and courage. In 2007, when he was 50, he was seriously injured in a pre-race spill at the Fair Grounds. A 2-year-old maiden filly reared and fell backward on him. He broke his pelvis in three places and broke ribs. His liver was lacerated, and his lung punctured. Nine months later, he was back riding.

Ray Silbille, a former jockey who is now a trainer, remembered visiting Perrodin lying injured in a hospital in Lafayette when he was a boy.

“I remember him in the match races,’’ Sibille said. “He was 11 or 12 years old. He was so light, he weighed about 45 pounds.’’

In a match race one day, Sibille said, Perrodin’s saddle slipped. “The horse went down, and he fell,’’ Sibille said. “If I remember right, he broke both legs. … I went to the hospital for something. I went to his room to see him. He was scratched up from head to toe. I can still picture him there.’’

Fair Grounds jockey Kerwin Clark rode against Perrodin in match races.

“This is absolutely wonderful to see,’’ Clark said of the crowd Tuesday. “I’ve been knowing Tee Joe since I was 12 years old. The first match race I rode on the bush tracks, he beat me by a head. We rode at Jefferson Downs together. I was 16, and he was 18. What a great guy. For something like this to happen to him, it was hard to believe.’’

“It broke my heart,’’ said trainer and former jockey C.J. Woodley, who drove from a training center in Opelousas to attend the gathering Tuesday. “I met Tee Joe when I was riding here. Me and Tee Joe played golf for years.’’

Perrodin and his wife, Lisa, have an 8-year-old son, Devin, who is autistic. Perrodin is a grandfather. He has a daughter, Nicole, from his first marriage.
Devin was in the Fair Grounds winner’s circle in 2008 when his father celebrated his 3,000th victory. "I don't care if it's autism," Perrodin said at the time. "I'm the happiest father. The Lord gave me Devin."

Responding to the Fair Grounds’ call to help the Perrodin family, racing people contributed many items that were sold in silent and regular auctions Tuesday. The bids further reflected the generosity of the racing community. When all the money is collected, the event will have raised more than $34,000 for the Perrodin family, said organizer Sandra Salmen, head of horsemen’s relations at the track.

“It’s amazing, just amazing,’’ Salmen said.

Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, who came from California to be the auctioneer, told the crowd that he recently had been auctioneer for a benefit in Beverly Hills.

“A bunch of wanna-be’s,’’ Van Berg said. “Nothing compares to the people at the racetrack helping their friends.’’

It’s heart-warming to see how people in racing are pulling for Perrodin.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sheldon Russell Takes Laurel Park Jockey Title

From Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Russell now has won four consecutive riding titles in the state dating to last year’s Laurel Park winter championship, which includes the Pimlico Race Course spring and Laurel fall meetings.

“I am very grateful to ride for a lot of the best trainers, that makes my job easier,” said Russell, who won a career-best 195 races in 2011. “I am riding with much more confidence after winning so much the last 15 months. I am still learning and eventually would like to venture, but I am still young and want to continue improving.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

FORMER WOOLF WINNERS ON HAND SUNDAY AS DOMINGUEZ RECEIVES 2012 AWARD

Dominguez will be joined in the winner’s circle by several past winners of the prestigious award that is voted on annually by jockeys nationwide.
 
            Among past winners who have committed to being here Sunday are: Ray York (1955), Alex Maese (1966), Donald Pierce (1967), Laffit Pincay Jr. (1970), Frank Olivares (1977), Eddie Delahoussaye (1981), Patrick Valenzuela (1982), Mike Smith (2000) and Garrett Gomez (2011).
 
            The Woolf Award honors riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing.
 
            Dominguez, a 35-year-old native of Venezuela, outpolled fellow finalists Corey Lanerie, Martin Pedroza, DeShawn Parker and Scott Stevens (Gary’s older brother) to win one of racing’s most coveted awards.
 
            America’s leading jockey by number of wins in 2001 and 2003, Dominguez won back-to-back Eclipse Awards as North America’s champion jockey in 2010 and 2011. In addition, Dominguez won the Isaac Murphy Award in 2004 for having the highest win percentage among American-based riders.
 
            Dominguez has two Breeders’ Cup wins, the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf with Better Talk Now and the 2011 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile this past November at Churchill Downs with Hansen.
 
            Born Nov. 24, 1976 in Caracas, Venezuela, Dominguez began riding at Hialeah Park in Florida in 1996. He has become a dominant force in New York, with 13 NYRA riding titles since 2007-08.
 
            The Woolf Award was created to honor and memorialize legendary jockey George “The Iceman” Woolf, who was regarded as one of the greatest big money-riders of his era and who died following a spill on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on Jan. 3, 1946. The Woolf trophy is a replica of the full-size statue of the late jockey which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
 

            Dominguez resides in New York with his wife Sharon and son Alexander.

 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fear factor: How jockeys cope with injuries

By Bill Christine/Daily Racing Form
 
“We’re born with fear,” he said. “There’s no getting away from it. If a rider is not nervous before a big race, then he’s not ready.”

Smith is well equipped to speak to big races, having won 15 Breeders’ Cup races and three Triple Crown races. As for nerves, can you have the yips without having fear? Do five cases of nerves add up to one helping of fear? No matter how it’s sliced, no matter the length of the leap from one to the other, Smith says, “I use what I call nervousness in a positive way. It slows down any rush I might have and helps get me focused on the task at hand.”

A series of interviews, with jockeys both active and retired, with jockey agents and psychologists, indicates that fear on the racetrack depends on whom and when. The common thread, however, is that jockeys know injuries are part and parcel with the game. The threat of a spill is tied to their fears, albeit in varying degrees. Laffit Pincay Jr., once the winningest jockey ever, said he was afraid for only two weeks, as a teenager during his salad days in his native Panama. Like a light switch, the sinking feeling disappeared and never visited him again. Patti Barton, the first female rider to win 1,000 races, said she could tell when another jockey was riding scared. She rode against several who were and had to make adjustments should those fears translate into tentative riding. Angel Cordero Jr., a Hall of Famer and the Grand Intimidator for three decades, once left the country because of a bad dream about a spill. Those who rode against him would never have believed it.

Rosie Napravnik, hands down the leading rider at the Fair Grounds the last two years, might have cause to be riding with trepidations, but she pooh-poohs that suggestion. Napravnik, 24, won at Pimlico with the first mount she ever had, in 2005, but five months later she suffered a broken collarbone in a spill at Laurel and has been dogged by NASCAR-like crashes ever since. One of her badges of office is a scar that starts at one of her wrists and runs all the way to her elbow. You show me your scar, I’ll show you mine: Cordero’s pip of a scar runs seven inches − from his lower chest to his navel.

“Fear is not even in the back of my mind,” Napravnik said. “It’s the dark side of the job, getting hurt, but I still love what I’m doing. I’m so passionate about riding horses that it’s worth the risks that I have to take.”

Jay Granat, a psychotherapist in River Edge, N.J., who has experience with a cross section of athletes, including jockeys, was asked about conquering fear.

“There are all kinds of different ways,” he said. “Prayer. Music. The banter among jockeys in the jockeys’ room before a race. A rider can lose confidence after a fall. The jockeys who overcome this are the ones who have the strongest beliefs in themselves. A passion for anything, including race-riding, is a way of overcoming fear.”

Napravnik has lost more than a year of riding time because of injuries. Returning to action following the Laurel spill, she suffered a back injury, and three months of hors de combat after that were followed by another nasty spill at Colonial Downs. Not especially superstitious, Napravnik joked that if bad news came in threes, she had used up her quota. But whoever minted that maxim forgot to include a time frame. Spill No. 4, in the summer of 2008, came at Delaware Park, resulting in another three months on the sidelines. No. 5, at Delaware last July, came four years to the day of No. 3. Napravnik was hospitalized for 12 days and four surgeries were needed to put her back together again.

“Thank God for adrenalin,” Napravnik said. “That’s what gets me through all of this.”

In January at the Fair Grounds, No. 6 looked like a given after Napravnik’s mount, moving from the main track to the grass course during the post parade, reared up and dropped her hard. She thought she had broken both ankles.

“The pain was intense,” she said.

They cut away her boots, and as they carried Napravnik off the track, she heard an outrider say, “I heard a pop.” But X-rays showed that she had sprained both ankles and suffered a deep bone bruise. A schoolteacher would have called in sick for a couple of weeks, but Napravnik, ninth with Pants On Fire in her Kentucky Derby debut in 2011, wants to get back to Churchill Downs, and the prep races for the 3-year-old prospects at the Fair Grounds were just heating up. The weekend after she was thrown, she was back riding.

“After a while, you get sick of all the pain,” she said. “But in this job, any day, every day, there’s the possibility that something could happen. I ride the same way I always ride when I come back [from an injury]. I wouldn’t say I’m wary, but I’m cautious. Selectively cautious, maybe. After I hurt both ankles, you weren’t going to see me jump off a horse like I might have otherwise.”

There’s no right time for a collarbone injury, like the one she had at Laurel in 2005, but Napravnik can chuckle now at the timing of that spill. It came at an especially bad time. Napravnik was three months shy of her 18th birthday, and possibly as close to fear as she will ever come.

“The way it was, I was living an hour and a half’s drive from the track,” she said. “The morning of the races that day, I had just signed my first-ever lease for an apartment that was much closer. So I hadn’t even moved in yet. And there I was, hours later, with this collarbone.”

She said to herself, “What do I do now?”

What she did was move into her new apartment, start an accelerated rehab program, and get back up on horses in five weeks.

“I’m a pretty positive thinker,” she said. “But that first one was a real wake-up call.”

The son of a jockey, Laffit Pincay Jr. won 448 races in Panama before he came to the United States in 1966, at age 19. Multiple breaks in a bone in his neck forced his retirement in 2003. He had dislocated or broken his collarbone 13 times, the first when he was just starting out in his homeland.

“I remember the race in Panama,” he said. “I was riding a filly. . . . I really hit the ground hard.”

The first thing that flashed by was: “I should have listened to my mother. She had told me to finish school.”

She had also told him not to ride, it was too dangerous. But he quit school and headed for the track.

“For two weeks, I had this tremendous fear,” he said. “Not a fear of getting back on a horse, but afraid of what I might do with the rest of my life. I didn’t have much education that I could do anything else. By the third week, what kicked in was this need to get back on a horse. I couldn’t wait for that to happen. After that one spill, there was never a time when I didn’t want to come back after I got hurt.”

Even the 2003 spill at Santa Anita, which led to a lawsuit that was settled privately, might not have been the end. Pincay, convinced he had recovered, voted for more riding but was outpolled by the rest of his family.

“When they took [the halo brace] off, I was ready to return,” Pincay said. “I was doing very well, was getting my share of winners, and my weight was better than it had been in my entire career. But my family was strong against it. Bill Shoemaker called and said I ought to quit before anything worse happened. I listened especially to my family. They knew what was best for me.”

Angel Cordero Jr., growing up in Puerto Rico, was, like Pincay, the son of a horseman.

“Before I came to the U.S., I was riding at home, and there was a bad spill,” Cordero said. “A jockey in the race died. He broke his neck. I stood there, watching him choke to death, and I got real scared.”

Cordero said his father picked up on the fear and, with a dose of tough love, began to question his manhood.

“He said this in front of my friends,” Cordero said. “Then they got on me. It hurt me very much. But that got me determined to hang in there, to keep riding, and never act like I was afraid again. It was a challenge never to act afraid again.”

By Cordero’s count, he was hospitalized 18 times from racetrack spills.

“All those times, I was never worried about coming back,” Cordero said. “But I used to dream a lot. Good dreams, bad dreams. Dreams of winning races, dreams about getting hurt. There was this one dream where I was really in a bad spill. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I talked about it so much that my wife said we should get away [from New York] for a while, take the kids, and go to Puerto Rico. So I told everybody that I was going away for a week. We went down there, and all it did was rain for seven days. It rained so much that you couldn’t even get out of the hotel. So I didn’t get rid of the dream, and I gained weight, too. The whole thing was a disaster.”

In 1973, the retired riding nonpareil Eddie Arcaro was dabbling in broadcasting, and during the Triple Crown series he and Ron Turcotte, Secretariat’s jockey, were inseparable. They would meet for breakfast, they would have dinner together, they might have a drink after the races. On the phone from New Brunswick, Canada, recently, Turcotte recalled some of their conversations.

“Eddie said he was never worried about getting killed,” Turcotte said. “He said that if you get killed on the track, it’s over real quick. But he always worried about going down and getting paralyzed. He had seen some of his fellow riders go out that way, and he said he was glad that it never happened to him.”

Cordero was the same way. “If you had ever given me a choice, getting killing or coming away paralyzed, I wouldn’t have minded dying,” he said. “When you get paralyzed, everybody suffers. You suffer, your family suffers trying to take care of you.”

Five years after Secretariat swept the Triple Crown, and nine days before his 37th birthday, Turcotte went down in a race at Belmont Park, a spill that has left him a paraplegic.

“I’m a great believer in fate, and there were omens,” Turcotte said. “The day before, a jockey broke his leg in a race. Two months before, I went to Alberta for a special promotion and broke four or six ribs in a spill. But I never, ever thought twice about getting hurt. I was always very confident that I could handle my horse. If something happened, it was going to be because you can’t control the horses around you. It’s like driving a car. You might be in control, but you always have to watch out for the other guy.”

Turcotte had planned to ride until he was 45. Then he figured he would go into training horses.

“Jeffrey Fell rode the horse that knocked my filly off balance,” Turcotte said. “I’ve never held it against him.”

Even before Robbie Davis’s mount unavoidably crushed Mike Venezia’s skull in a fatal spill at Belmont in 1988, Davis was loath to forge close relationships with his fellow riders.

“I didn’t want to get next to anybody in the [jockeys’] room,” Davis said from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he owns a farm and trains horses. “If I ever hurt anybody, I felt that it would make it even worse if I knew them well.”

Ironically, the exception had been Venezia, who was 16 years older. Davis looked up to Venezia, who campaigned for riding safety through his position with the Jockeys’ Guild. Davis said Venezia was like a big brother.

After Venezia’s death, Davis, unable to ride because of severe depression, went into seclusion. He walked away from the best season of his budding career. He had already won 231 races in 1988 and ranked sixth nationally on the money list. He bought a 35-foot mobile home and drove his family − his wife, Marguerite, and their three young children − to his native Idaho. They stayed there until March 1989, five months after the Venezia death. Bobby Frankel, one of the leading trainers in California, called and told Davis that he would put him on many of his horses if he came to Santa Anita. Davis had already ruled out a return to New York − the memory of what happened at Belmont was too stark for him to ride there.

Davis walked into the Santa Anita jockeys’ room, and Chris McCarron gave him a big hug. Laffit Pincay, Gary Stevens, some of the best riders in the world, rolled out the welcome mat. But the realization that he was now part of what was arguably the best colony in the country was counter-productive.

“There was Chris on one stool,” Davis said. “There was Laffit on another. Next to him was Shoemaker. And Eddie Delahoussaye, and Gary Stevens, and all the rest. Every one of them a Hall of Famer. I built up such a fear. I was paranoid of hurting one of them out there. I never forgave myself [for Venezia], and now I was telling myself that I didn’t know what I would do if it happened to McCarron or Pincay or somebody else. I had a nightmare. I was the driver of a car, and I was stalled on the railroad tracks.”

His first race back, at the top of the stretch, Davis’s mount ran up on the heels of another horse, and he dropped the whip.

“I was having trouble getting my hands to do what my mind wanted them to do,” Davis said.

He saw a psychiatrist, who told him to seek inner peace from his family to get him through Venezia’s death. But the guilt wouldn’t go away, and Davis’s business languished.

“[Trainers] wouldn’t ride me on anything,” he said. “I had no control over the fear. It took me over. I got dehydrated and started drinking a lot of beer, too much beer. I was hanging on to my life. I was worried about getting killed or killing somebody else.”

In 1992, 3 1/2 years after Venezia died, Davis ratcheted up enough courage to ride in New York again. The fans at Belmont Park cheered his return.

“The time came when I just had to put it to rest,” he said.

Davis began winning important races, including the Wood Memorial, the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and the Arlington Million. He retired in 2002 with 3,382 wins. He made an abortive attempt to resume riding, as a 50-year-old, last year.

“I got my weight down,” he said. “But I rode only one race. Let’s put it this way: The rider didn’t pull up very well after that one race.”

Jackie Davis, who is 25, the second-oldest of Davis’s six children, is now riding in New York. But not because her father wanted her to.

“I blindsided him,” she said. “I had gone to college for a year, and he thought I was kidding when I said I wanted to drop out and become a jockey. Then when he realized I wasn’t kidding, he said he wanted nothing to do with the idea. My mother said she was behind me, but she said that I was on my own, because ‘your dad doesn’t want this.’ ”

Jackie was 1 1/2 years old when Mike Venezia was killed. She had heard his name, but it didn’t sink in about what had happened until she was 10, when her father was given the Mike Venezia Memorial Award.

A few years ago, Robbie Davis tried a scare tactic to keep his daughter away from the track. For the first time, he told Jackie all the horrible details surrounding the day Venezia died: The cantaloupe-like sound Venezia’s head made when Davis’s horse crushed it; the sight of what was left of Venezia’s face when Davis went to the ambulance and insisted on pulling back the sheet that covered him; the sobering fact that his horse had killed a fellow rider (although the official version of the spill was that Venezia died as the result of an “unavoidable accident”).

She was undeterred. She enrolled in Chris McCarron’s North American Racing Academy in Lexington, Ky., and became one of its first graduates. Finally, her father came around. He had trouble watching her ride for a while, but he became her agent early on (Roger Sutton has her book now). Robbie loaned her his old riding helmet, saying that it would be a good-luck charm.

“I wouldn’t have gone into this if I had been afraid,” Jackie said. “Fear is on the back burner. When I fall off a horse, I get back on. The only thing that comes close to fear is when I get on a fairly important horse. There might be a pit in my stomach as we’re about to load in the gate. But by the time they open the gate, the feeling is gone. My dad told me I’d be risking my life every day if I rode. I’m willing to accept that.”

Randy Romero rode in 26,091 races, winning 4,294 of them. Several spills, plus the day at Oaklawn Park when an exploding sweat box in the jockeys’ room sauna caused burns over two-thirds of his body, kept him from winning more.

“I was always very gutsy out there,” Romero said from Lafayette, La., 30 miles from where he was born. “I would have lasted longer if I hadn’t been. But all my life, I didn’t know fear. I took all the chances, riding near the fence never bothered me, and I paid all the consequences. Maybe I would have been better off if I had ridden scared once in a while.”

Romero, 54, also rode hurt when he shouldn’t have. He rode in a Breeders’ Cup race after having cracked a couple of ribs and broken his pelvis earlier on the card. “That was a big mistake,” he said. “That kept me out longer than it should have been. But it was always that way − I just wanted to ride.”

These days, Romero works with his brother Gerald, who’s a trainer in Louisiana. Randy Romero, voted into the Hall of Fame in 2010, has been on dialysis for 11 years, and has had colon surgery. By rights, each of his tomorrows should look several furlongs away, but that’s not the case. It’s no-fear Romero, in or out of the saddle.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wife of jockey Glen Murphy Crowned Mrs. Oklahoma

Murphy is the wife of thoroughbred jockey Glen Murphy and the mother of a little girl.

Officials say during her reign as Mrs. Oklahoma, Murphy plans to bring attention to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, a non-profit organization. She has raised more than $50,000 for the cause since 2005.

Murphy has a bachelor of arts degree from Oklahoma City University, and has worked as a news and sports reporter for the NBC affiliate in Denison, Texas.

Murphy will represent Oklahoma in the Mrs. America pageant.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bejarano Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

The victory helped the 29-year-old rider who is based in Southern California secure THOROUGHBRED TIMES Jockey of the Week honors. Through March 20, Bejarano ranked third in mount earnings by North American-based jockeys at $3,201,942.

This year, Bejarano will try to improve on his best previous Kentucky Derby (G1) effort, a fourth-place finish in 2009 aboard Papa Clem. Since 2005, he has had seven mounts in the Derby.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

CRAWFISH BOIL FOR JOCKEY E. J. PERRODIN AND FAMILY WELL ATTENDED

From Fair Grounds Communications Department

Perrodin, a native Louisianan, announced his retirement from the saddle earlier this winter and was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer within days of that announcement.

 

“Although the total sum of contributions on behalf of E. J. and his family is still incomplete,” said Salmen, “there are several I’d like to thank at this time for their contributions to the Crawfish Boil. 

 

“Certainly at the top of the list would be (Hall of Fame trainer) JackVan Berg,” said Salmen. “Not only did he fly in from California to serve as the auctioneer for the event, he also collected and brought with him several of the most popular items that were auctioned off, like the framed photograph of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Zenyatta and her foal signed by her trainer John Shirreffs and her jockey Mike Smith, as well as a photo of his own Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Alysheba.

 

“Also, I’d like to thank the generosity of the people at Drago’s for contributing their portable trailer and serving up Drago’s famous charbroiled oysters at the Boil.

 

“Certainly, I’d also like to thank trainer Al Stall, Jr., who had the top bid of $1,000 backing winning jockey Marlon St. Julien in the Jockeys Crawfish Eating contest, and then donating his winnings of $3,900 back into the contributions for E. J. and his family.

 

“Finally,” concluded Salmen, “I’d like to thank Marcus Hersh of Daily Racing Form for his cover story about E. J. last Saturday as well as Bob Fortus of The Times-Picayune for his advance publicity. The power of the press was so important to the success of this event.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

BUTLER KEEPS GETTING BETTER WITH AGE

From Tampa Bay Communications Department
It’s also possible the veteran jockey has found his own version of the Fountain of Youth: Tampa Bay Downs, where he comes each winter to keep his skills razor-sharp for a run at another Canterbury Park title.
 
Butler celebrated his birthday in style Wednesday, winning the 10th race with a furious come-from-behind rally aboard the first-time starter Clontarf, a 3-year-old filly, for his mother-in-law and father-in-law, owner Cindy Rhone and trainer Bernell Rhone.
 
“I might be just reaching my peak,” said Butler, upon learning of his selection as Holiday Inn Express & Suites Jockey of the Month. “You’ve always got to look at your business, and if things slow down or you’re not doing as well and it’s taking a toll, it might be time to stop riding.
 

“Right now – knock on wood – I’ve been very lucky,” Butler said.

Butler also has been very good, and consistent, since starting his career at Aqueduct in 1992.
 
The native of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. has won the past three riding titles at Canterbury in Shakopee, Minn. to go with the four he won earlier in his career at Philadelphia and the one he won at Atlantic City.
 
With 18 victories from only 113 mounts at the current meeting, Butler is in the top 15 in wins. As is his custom, he plans to pick up the tempo when Canterbury begins its 2012 meeting May 18, less than two weeks after the conclusion of Tampa Bay Downs’ live season.
 
“This is a real tough meet. You have riders and trainers come from all over, and your top five riders do very well,” Butler said. “But you can still make a living down here and pay your bills if you aren’t in the top five.
 
“Patience is the main thing – to kind of go with the flow, and that’s what I’ve done. It’s kind of a working vacation. The weather is beautiful, and the turf course is probably the best in the country. The dirt track is tiring and laboring on horses, but when they leave here they’re ready to run other places and they’re probably the fittest horse in the race,” Butler said.
 

Butler’s profile increased recently when he and trainer Bernell Rhone combined for nine victories during a recent hot streak. But Butler hasn’t reached 1,600-plus victories in his career by not spreading his wings.

On Sunday, he piloted the Derek Ryan-trained 3-year-old gelding Dubai Time to victory in a one-mile maiden turf race at odds of 15-1. Butler brought Dubai Time from off the pace before drawing off to a 2 ˝-length victory.
 
“Dean is a very good turf rider,” said Bernell Rhone, who also uses him extensively at Canterbury. “What I like about his riding is he seems to know how fast horses are going on the front end, and he is able to adjust to that pace. Some riders will bury a horse on the front end by going a quarter in 21 (seconds) and change, but if he is on a horse with early speed he will back it up if he’s going too fast.”
 
Butler, the youngest of eight children, hung out at historic Saratoga as a kid, idolizing jockey Angel Cordero Jr. In 1986, he went to work for Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg at the latter’s farm in Ghent, N.Y., where he learned to break 2-year-olds and gallop horses.
 
“It was a good two months before (Van Berg) even let me get up on a horse,” Butler said. “Then he legged me up on a 2-year-old filly, put us in a round pen and said ‘Good luck.’ She bucked me off right away, but it taught me a lot about balance and how to get a feel for a horse.”
 
The summer before his senior year of high school, Butler worked for Van Berg on the left coast in southern California. It was only a couple years after that he began riding races.
 
Butler won his first race in 1993 at Suffolk in Massachusetts, then moved to Philadelphia (now PARX Racing), where he would win four riding titles. Two years later, he was the rider on the prominent gelding Poor But Honest, a multiple-graded stakes winner who finished second to the great Cigar and Jerry Bailey in the 1995 Massachusetts Handicap.
 
Butler has endured his share of injuries through the years, including a nasty spill in 2000 on the Monmouth Park turf course which resulted in the lost of his front teeth, multiple back fractures and a concussion.
 
“I was lucky to live through that one,” Butler said. “When (paramedics) came and got me on the track they had to revive me, and they had to revive me again when we got to the emergency room door. I was on a respirator for four days. My parents stayed with me for about a week after I got out of the hospital, but my concussion was so severe I can’t remember them staying with me.”
 

Married to Cindy and Bernell Rhone’s daughter LeAnn, who is her father’s stable assistant, Butler has two daughters: Kayleigh, 5, and Kendall, who celebrates her first birthday Saturday. “LeAnn comes from an unbelievable family. I sure have gotten lucky,” Butler said.

Monday, March 19, 2012

HALL OF FAMER SMITH COULD REACH 5,000 CAREER WINS AT SANTA ANITA

From Santa Anita Communications Department   
         Considerable credit for Smith’s success over the past seven-plus years goes to agent Brad Pegram. The two have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship during that period.
 
“I’ve represented Mike since 2004 and been an agent since 1998,” said Pegram, who also has represented Danny Sorenson, Frank Alvarado, Kent Desormeaux, David Flores and now both Smith and Victor Espinoza.
 
“Mike is very professional and a class guy,” Pegram said. “He’s outstanding to work for and very intelligent about racing. When it comes to handling his business, he’s a pro.
 
            “He’s an extremely smart rider. He may not ride as many as he used to but he’s riding as good right now as he ever has.”
 

            When he does decide to hang ‘em up, Smith is an ideal candidate for the broadcast booth. The native of Roswell, New Mexico has a 250-watt smile, a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game and expresses same articulately. Plus, he’s got a mug made for the camera.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Castellano Sets New Standard At Gulfstream Park

 From Gulfstream Park Communications Department
Castellano set the standard on the 72nd day of live racing. He shared the previous record of 97 with Jerry Bailey (1996 over 64 days), Wigberto Ramos (1991 over 81 days) and Julio Pezua (1987 over 50 days). 
 
“It’s a great day in my life,” Castellano said. “I’ve been doing so well lately. I’ve been so lucky. But I’ve had a lot of help from all the owners and trainers and my agent, Matt Muzikar. It’s been a great meeting. I won my 3000th race and I’ve been riding a lot of good horses. I’m looking forward to my next goal, the Kentucky Derby. Hopefully, I can win it.”
 
Seven of Castellano’s 98 victories have come in stakes race. They are: Pomeroys Pistol in the Sugar Swirl (G3), Trickmeister in the Harlan’s Holiday, Silver Medallion in the Fort Lauderdale (G3), Dayatthespa in the Herecomesthebride (G3) and the Sweetest Chant, Algorithms in the Holy Bull (G3) and Simmard in the Mac Diarmida (G2).  
 
Castellano began his riding career in Venezuela in 1996 before venturing to the U.S. the following year. He rode his first winner, Phone Man, at Calder shortly upon his arrival when he was 18 years old.
 
A prominent rider on the New York-Gulfstream circuit for several years, Castellano counts Bernardini, the 2006 Preakness Stakes winner, and Ghostzapper, the 2004 Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic victor, among the top horses he has ridden during his career. He rode his 3,000 career winner earlier this winter when he guided Virtuously to victory at Gulfstream Feb. 24. 
 
Castellano said he had modest goals when he arrived in the U.S. in 1997.
 
“At the time my goal was to win some races, get established, and be a good rider,” he recalled. “Of course, I wanted to be a leading rider and win the Derby, but it’s kind of tough at first when you’re in a new country and don’t even speak the language. You really just try to be yourself. You want to do well and show your ability, but you have to be realistic at the start.”
 
Along with his current agent Muzikar, Castellano acknowledged former agent, Gil Graell, along with trainers Luis Olivares and Pepe Mendez, who helped him get established during his first year at Calder.
 
“I’ve been around some great people,” Castellano said. “My agent has me riding for people like Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown and Bill Mott…he’s put me in the right barns. Sometimes people don’t understand how important the people behind the scenes are.”
 
Monday, March 19, 2012

DOMINGUEZ TO RECEIVE SANTA ANITA WOOLF AWARD NEXT SUNDAY

            From Santa Anita Communications Department
The Woolf Award honors riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing.
 
            Dominguez, a 35-year-old native of Venezuela, outran fellow finalists Corey Lanerie, Martin Pedroza, DeShawn Parker and (Gary’s older brother) Scott Stevens to win one of racing’s most coveted awards.
 
            America’s leading jockey by number of wins in 2001 and 2003, Dominguez has won back-to-back Eclipse Awards as North America’s champion jockey in 2010 and 2011. In addition to these honors, Dominguez won the Isaac Murphy Award in 2004 for having the highest win percentage among American-based riders.
 
            Dominguez has two Breeders’ Cup wins to his credit, winning the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf with Better Talk Now and most recently, the 2011 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile this past November at Churchill Downs with Hansen.
 
            Born Nov. 24, 1976 in Caracas, Venezuela, Dominguez began riding at Hialeah Park in Florida in 1996.  He has become a dominant force in New York, with 13 NYRA riding titles to his credit, dating back to 2007-08.
 
            The Woolf Award was created to honor and memorialize the legendary jockey George “The Iceman” Woolf, who was regarded as one of the greatest big money riders of his era and who died following a spill on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on Jan. 3, 1946.  The Woolf trophy is a replica of the full-size statue of the late jockey which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
 
            Dominguez resides in New York with his wife Sharon and son Alexander.
 

First presented by Santa Anita in 1950, the Woolf Award was won last year by Garrett Gomez.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Velazquez to be Honored at Gulfstream

by Blood-Horse Staff
The foundation's annual presentation of the Bill Hartack Memorial Award honors the memory and lifetime achievements of Hartack, one of only two jockeys to win the Kentucky Derby five times.

John Velazquez, the winning jockey aboard 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, will receive the Bill Hartack Memorial Award. With family, friends, and industry colleagues at his side, Velazquez will be presented the award March 21 in the Gulfstream Park winner's circle following the running of the tenth and final race of the day, the Bill Hartack Memorial Race. 
 
A reception honoring Velazquez will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Ten Palms American Kitchen and Stone Crab Parlor, located on the second floor of the club house. Contributions are welcome at the door to benefit Thoroughbred racing charities. Velazquez will sign ceremonial programs commemorating the 2011 Kentucky Derby victory.  

Hartack Foundation board member Mike Stidham acknowledged the officials of Gulfstream Park for embracing the charitable mission and partnering with the Hartack organization to recognize Velazquez's outstanding 2011 Kentucky Derby ride. 
 
"It is our privilege to work with Gulfstream Park to bring national attention to the racing industry and the extraordinarily talented and selfless Thoroughbred racing jockey,” said Stidham in a release. “John Velazquez, personifies skill, discipline, and grace. He is an outstanding role model and a shining star in the racing industry."

For additional information about the event or to learn more about the Bill Hartack Charitable Foundation contact Christine Gourgeot at (504) 293-2647 or cgourgeot@nocci.com.
 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Perrodin and family come to grips with his cancer

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the day before Perrodin was to ride for Moutin at Fair Grounds, Mouton called Perrodin to see if he wanted to ride anything that weekend. Perrodin, 55 and nearing the end of a long career, sometimes turned down the weekend mounts, choosing instead to drive home to Haughton, La., and spend a couple of days with his wife, Lisa, and 7-year-old son, Devin.

“He said, ‘Why don’t you put someone else on those horses for me,’ ” Mouton said. “I said, ‘How about the one Thursday?’ And he said, ‘No, you’d better put someone else on that one, too.’ In the 27 years I’ve ridden him, Joe had never said something like that. When he took off that mount, I knew right then and there something was wrong.”

That Thursday, Perrodin visited the Fair Grounds stewards to explain his upcoming absence. He told them he was retiring after almost four decades as a jockey. It was something he had pondered in recent months. Now he was hanging up his tack.

Friday, Perrodin drove the 350 miles from New Orleans to Haughton, his truck chaotically heaped with his belongings. Home, he bent to hug his young son. Perrodin fell and could not rise. His wife found him on the ground.

“I thought the dog had knocked him over,” Lisa Perrodin said. “He said, ‘Don’t you dare call an ambulance. I’m just tired.’ ”

The next week, Perrodin went to see a doctor. The diagnosis came quickly, stunningly: adenocarcinoma. Perrodin, a longtime smoker who had quit, had a large tumor in his lung. The cancer had progressed to stage 4, usually a point of no return. It had metastasized and spread into his brain.

“When he got home from New Orleans that evening, it had to be god and a multitude of angels that steered his truck,” Lisa Perrodin said, “because he hasn’t driven since, and he can’t drive at all now.”

Tee Joe Perrodin is having radiation treatment this week but otherwise stays at home. The tumor in his lungs is being left as is, his wife said, but the hope is that minimizing the effect of the cancer in his brain will boost his quality of life and give him more time with his family. No one is talking about a cure or about anything other than a sad, tragic retirement.

“He’s doing OK,” Lisa Perrodin said. “He’s a real trooper. It’s probably more depressing than anything.”

Tumor pressure on the left side of Perrodin’s brain has weakened the right side of his body. He can get around, his wife said, but it’s not easy. Similarly, the cancer has affected mental processes: Perrodin can speak, but words come slowly and with difficulty.

“He knows what he wants to say, but he can’t find the words,” Lisa Perrodin said. “Some days are good days, some days are not so good.”

Mouton and Perrodin’s wife said Perrodin didn’t have an inkling he was ill at the time he decided to retire.

“This really blind-sided him,” Lisa Perrodin said. “I think he thought he was struggling with some aches and pains, just thinking he was getting older.”

“I look back on it, and he looked like the same old Tee Joe to me,” said Shane Sellers, 45, another Fair Grounds-based jockey who, like Perrodin, came up in central Louisiana. “I knew he had quit smoking a couple of years ago. He’s always been skinny like a rail, and he’s got 30 years of punishment on the body from making weight and everything. He’s looking old, but we are old. I was saying to myself, ‘All right, T, I know you saved your money, and it’s about time to stop.’ But no, we never saw anything in his riding. If you rode up to him, you weren’t going to an empty saddle towel. He could still get one home.”

Perrodin, from Rayne, La., rode the bush tracks when he was a kid. To the next generation of Louisiana riders, like Sellers, Perrodin was a household name. Perrodin ventured to parts of the Midwest during the earlier portion of his career, finding success at tracks such as the defunct Detroit Race Course, but he chose mainly to stay close to home, in Louisiana. That decision limited his national exposure, but Perrodin still won 3,083 sanctioned races, and he is one of only a handful of jockeys who have won six races on one Fair Grounds card.

Perrodin’s plight is bringing one of his former employers, the Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, to Fair Grounds for the first time in more than 20 years. On Tuesday, Fair Grounds is hosting a crawfish boil to benefit Perrodin’s family. Items will be charitably auctioned off at the event, and Van Berg, a skilled auctioneer, will help sell them.

“E. J., he rode for me mainly at Louisiana Downs,” said Van Berg, 76, who is based in Southern California. “He had more horsemanship than the average guy. He could come back after a race and tell you something.”

Van Berg didn’t know Perrodin well personally, but that was the case with almost all the riders he used.

“I just don’t get all that acquainted with any of the jockeys, in case I have to yell at them and fire them,” Van Berg said. “But I remember him as a good human being. He was very laid back, not very outspoken.”

Those characteristic never changed. Perrodin wasn’t a flamboyant jock. He stayed down to earth, focused on his work, “a professional in every sense of the word,” Sellers said.

“He’s just one of those guys who, unlike myself at times, didn’t let the game didn’t get to him,” Sellers said. “He didn’t let the game dictate how his moods were going to be.”

The Fair Grounds benefit could do some real good for the Perrodins. Devin was diagnosed with autism at age 3, and Lisa devotes much of her time to him. Lisa has done her best to minimize the cost of her husband’s ongoing care, but the price tag still will be high.

“Nobody’s working right now,” she said. “There’s nothing coming in.”

Lisa Perrodin has somehow taken a month’s worth of crushing blows and come through with a clear voice and mind. For that, she credits her faith.

“You’re kind of always ready for bad news as a jockey’s wife, but I have such a strong faith-based system,” she said. “I know if I would have had to depend just on my own strength, it was gone a long time ago. It was gone when he fell on the floor coming home.”

About four years ago, Perrodin, already old for a rider, took a bad spill warming up a filly before a Fair Grounds race. He broke his pelvis and ribs, lacerated his liver, and punctured a lung. The injuries nearly ended his career, but Perrodin worked tirelessly to rehab and return.

“When he had that other accident with the pelvis, that was bad, but gradually it was always getting better,” Lisa Perrodin said. “This is the opposite. Things are gradually getting worse. This is a different monster. It sneaks up on you, attacks you. There’s not much you can do at this time – except pray.”
 

A charity crawfish boil will be held in the Fair Grounds paddock Tuesday, March 20, from 4-6:30 p.m. to raise funds for the family of retired jockey E.J. Perrodin. Festivities include a jockey crawfish eating contest and silent and live auctions. Tickets are $25. For more information, call 504-948-1150 or send an email to sandra.salmen@fgno.com.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

DRIVING MIZ IDA: THE INSPIRING STORY OF IDA SCHULTZ

From Fair Grounds Communications Department
“This horse is named for a Holocaust survivor,” said Margolis. “She’s a friend of Bert and Elaine’s who is just a wonderful lady and lives in South Florida now. She is a lovely lady – a real ray of sunshine to all the people down there who know her from the old Gulfstream Park. She used to go there every day.”

 

A telephone conversation with Miz Ida’s namesake Ida Schultz on Sunday morning confirmed the assessment of the trainer and her owners. Had the real Miz Ida been able to watch Saturday’s Fair Grounds race?

 

“Yes, I did,” the 84-year-old lady with the infectious personality said. “Of course I did. I love all the horses and love to watch them run. They are like psychiatrists for me. They can teach us so many things if you watch them and study them. When I lived in New York, I used to go out to Belmont and Aqueduct to see them run, and when I moved to South Florida I used to go out to the old Gulfstream and loved to sit in that beautiful paddock and study them. Not so much anymore. There’s something missing now.

 

“But in the old paddock the way it was, all the jockeys and trainers got to know me,” said Schultz. “The jockeys all called me ‘Momma.’ Guys like Jose Santos and Cornelio Velasquez, and Shaun Bridgmohan when he first started riding. He rode down here in South Florida in those days.

 

“I love people and I love animals,” said Schultz, “but the Kleins are the most important people on earth to me,” said Schultz. “They are more than family to me. I know them all and I’d give my life for any one of them. I’d do anything for them. They are all I have now. I remember when they called me and told me they were going to name this horse after me, and I remember seeing this horse when she first came off the farm. I told them at that time, ‘You’re going to have a lot of luck with this horse.’ I knew it the moment I saw her.

 

“I also knew (trainer) Steve when he was a just a kid – just a (hot) walker,” Schultz said. “I talked to him before the race yesterday, and I told him, ‘you will win this race.’ He said, ‘I’m not so sure, I’m afraid of these other horses in there,’ but I said, ‘Steve, mark my words, you’re going to be the winner.’ What else can I tell you?  Ask me anything.”

 

How old was Miz Ida when the nightmare of the Holocaust began?

 

“I was born in Poland in 1927,” she said, “and my family and I were taken away in 1942. My mother was 37, my father was 42, and my baby brother was 9-years-old. I don’t know why, but I was the only one who survived. Whenever any of the guards would come around and ask who wanted to work in the field that day, I never raised my hand. I didn’t trust them. I knew through word of mouth when each member of my family was killed. We were separated, but word always got around the camp. 

 

“Over the next three years, I was moved around to 17 different concentration camps until General Eisenhower’s Ninth Army liberated us on April 12, 1945. Of course, I will never forget that day. Then, I found work in a factory working the night shift and eventually in a Volkswagen plant near the Czechoslovakian border. We traveled over the mountains on foot to get there. Nobody wanted to accept us at that time. What else would you like to know about?”

 

How is someone with the nightmarish beginning to adulthood turn themselves around to go through the rest of life with such a positive attitude?

 

“Because I told myself, ‘I’m going to make myself go this way,’” she said. “I’m going to love all people – I don’t care what their color is or what their nationality is – and I’m going to love all animals. They have so much to teach us, if we just look at them and listen to what they can show us. 

 

“Also,” she concluded, “I’ve learned in life that when you knock on any door, you never know what good thing might be waiting for you on the other side.”

 

SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN WINS FOUR RACES SATURDAY – Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan may have enjoyed his most profitable trip to the Fair Grounds winner’s circle Saturday in the $75,000 Allen LaCombe Memorial aboard Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Miz Ida for trainer Steve Margolis but the Fair Grounds jockey champion of two years ago also captured three other races during the day.

 

The 32-year-old reinsman born in Spanishtown, Jamaica, but raised in South Florida won the second race of the day aboard Zayat Stables’ Tito for Fair Grounds leading trainer Steve Asmussen, the fifth race on GF Racing Stables’ Lady Leestown for conditioner Carl DeVille and the ninth astride Jake Ballis’s Cigar Street to give Margolis a training double for the afternoon.

 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Javier Castellano Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Castellano rode Zagora (Fr) to victory in the Hillsborough Stakes (G3) and Wait Til Dawn in the Stonewall Farm Ocala Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 10, then returned to Gulfstream on March 11 to win the Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) on Dayatthespa. The victories on Zagora and Dayatthespa came for trainer Chad Brown, while Wait Til Dawn was for Todd Pletcher.

Castellano led all riders by North American stakes wins with three and finished tied with Mountaineer Race Track-based DeShawn Parker for most wins on the week with 11.

A 34-year-old native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, who came to the U.S. in 1997, Castellano celebrated his 3,000th victory on February 24 at Gulfstream. One of the leading riders on the New York Racing Association circuit, Castellano was the regular rider of champion Bernardini during his career and also rode Ghostzapper during his 2004 campaign that earned him a Horse of the Year title and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) victory.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Florida Derby Festival To Raise Money For Charities

 From Gulfstream Park Communications Department 
All money raised at these events will go toward The Gulfstream Park Thoroughbred After-Care Program and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
 
“Led by our Chairman, Frank Stronach, the management and staff of Gulfstream Park believe it is our responsibility to reach out and meet the needs of the thoroughbred community at large,” said Gulfstream Park President and General Manager Timothy Ritvo. “Mr. Stronach has been an industry-leader and innovator in thoroughbred retirement and rehabilitation, and is a long-time supporter of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
 
“We hope the events leading up to the Florida Derby raise awareness and funds for both of these worthy charities while bringing our community together in celebration of the 61st running of the Florida Derby.”
 
In the first 60 runnings of the Florida Derby, 40 starters have gone on to win a remarkable 55 Triple Crown events. Past Florida Derby winners include Barbaro, Big Brown, Northern Dancer, Spectacular Bid and Foolish Pleasure.
 
The Florida Derby week of festivities include:
 
Sunday, March 25
Jockeys Race to the Bar
6:30 p.m. Sport of Kings
Jockeys tend bar with all tips going to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Live DJ, silent and casual auctions, racing “goody bag” to first 100 people. Event t-shirts can be purchased. Hors d’oeuvres between 6:30-8 p.m.
 
Monday, March 26
Kiss Country Pop Up Concert
8 p.m. (Line begins forming at 7 p.m.) Sport of Kings
Grammy Award-winning artist to be revealed when the curtains open. 
 
Tuesday, March 27
Florida Derby Charity Golf Tournament
10:30 a.m., Westin Diplomat
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey hosts the second annual Florida Derby Golf Tournament. Every other hole will have a satellite bar. There will also be a Burger Hole, 50/50 raffles, closest to the pin and longest drive. Tickets are $200 per person. Please contact Susan Stofsky at susan.stofsky@gulfstreampark.com or call 954.455.6672.
 
Wednesday, March 28
Post Position Draw
12:30 p.m. Ten Palms American Kitchen & Stone Crab Parlor
Draw Giveaway: Long sleeve Florida Derby t-shirt giveaway, Breezeway (free with program).
 
Thursday, March 29
$10,000 Aces for Aftercare Poker Tournament
6:30 p.m. First floor casino.
$150 Buy-in. Please contact Scott Poole at scott.poole@gulfstreampark or call 954.457.6336.
 
Friday, March 30
Official Florida Derby Party Cocktails and Horse Tales
7 p.m. Walking Ring
Light cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres, live band and silent and live auction with auction masters Ron Nicoletti and Ralph Pagano.
 
Saturday, March 31
$1 million Florida Derby
First race post 12:30 p.m.
Travel cooler giveaway with paid program
Polo shirt with seat purchase
$500 Ladies’ hat contest
Party in the Park – 7 p.m. (free to the public after the last race)
 
Sunday, April 1
Lobsters & Libations
Clam Bake/Sand Bake
1-6 p.m. Frank’s Beach
Cost $25
Monday, March 12, 2012

Crawfish Boil to Benefit retired Jockey E. J. Perrodin

From Fair Grounds Communications Department
 
When the devastating news concerning the health issues of recently retired jockey E.J. “Tee Joe” Perrodin became public – and that Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots would be hosting a charitable crawfish boil March 20 to benefit the popular rider’s family – one of the first people to volunteer his services at the upcoming event was Hall of Fame trainer JackVan Berg, who will be returning to New Orleans that afternoon as an auctioneer.

 Native Louisianan Perrodin, 55, who won 3,083 during his lengthy career, announced his retirement from the saddle in early February at Fair Grounds. Tragically, just days later, the revered reinsman was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer.

Nebraska-born Van Berg, who won 10 Fair Grounds training titles during a 12-year period at the Crescent City oval from 1965 to 1977, ranks second among Thoroughbred racing’s all-time conditioners with more than 6,400 winners and is the all-time leading trainer at Fair Grounds. Like his late father Marion Van Berg before him, Jack is a member of the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame as well as the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

However, Van Berg is also an accomplished auctioneer, and as soon as he heard about Perrodin’s illness and the local oval’s upcoming crawfish boil on behalf of the rider’s family, Van Berg called longtime friend Sandra Salmen of Fair Grounds horsemen’s relations and offered to fly in to help auction off souvenir items donated to the Perrodin family’s cause.

“Yeah, I knew E. J. pretty well when I raced down there,” said Van Berg, reached by cell phone while astride his pony during training hours at Santa Anita this week. “He rode quite a few horses for me and he was always a real good fellow.

“I’m looking forward to coming back down there to New Orleans for a cause like this one,” Van Berg said. “I can’t even tell you the last time I was down there but it’s been a while now. I’d like to get there on Sunday if I can get away for that long because I know I have to get back out here pretty quick.”

Fair Grounds’ annual dark day crawfish boil in the paddock – with proceeds from this year’s feast benefiting Perrodin’s family – will feature mountains of mudbugs as well as corn, potatoes and beer. Festivities will also include the traditional Jockey Crawfish-Eating Contest as well the chance to bid on the racing souvenirs donated. Tickets are $25. For further information contact Sandra Salmen at (504) 948-1150 or Sandra.Salmen@fgno.com.

Monday, March 12, 2012

APPRENTICE COA TAKES FIRST CAREER VICTORY IN STRIDE

From Santa Anita Communications Department           
“It feels really good,” said the 19-year-old son of jockey Eibar Coa, who won on his 12th mount at Santa Anita and carries a 10-pound weight allowance as an apprentice. “I’m happy Jerry (Hall of Fame trainer Hollendorfer) gave me the opportunity and I want to thank my family and everyone who supported me.
   
“This is a tough riding colony, but I was welcomed when I arrived in California and made to feel at home.” He was also made to feel wet when veteran rider Martin Pedroza dumped a bucket of ice water on him during a post-race interview.
           
But that was nothing compared to the “indoctrination” his peers gave him when he got back to the jocks’ room.
           
 “He’s a good kid,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “We didn’t have to give him any instructions. He worked the filly twice.” Five Star Cruise, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Five Star Day owned by Arroyo Grande resident Janine Queller (whose nom de course is Very Un Stable), was dropping from the $16,000 claiming level to $8,000 in the 5 ˝ furlong race.
           
Keibar (pronounced KAY-ber) is represented by agent Joe Ferrer, who also handles business for world-class rider Rafael Bejarano.
Friday, March 09, 2012

Eliska Kubinova rides six winners at Portland Meadows

From Thoroughbred Times TODAY
Kubinova started off with a gate-to-wire score aboard Sweet Pleasure (Candy Ride [Arg]) in the day’s first race. She also won races two and four with Tannersmillionaire (Tannersmyman) and Atta Lora(Atticus), respectively.

The rider’s fourth trip to the winner’s circle came in the sixth race aboard Rich Debut (Richly Blended), and she finished up the day winning the eighth race on Sasha B (Is It True) and the tenth aboard Mr. Ichiban (Mass Market).

After Wednesday’s card, Kubinova sits in second place on the Portland jockey standings by wins, with 58 victories at the meet for earnings of $207,548. She trails leading rider Javier Matias by ten wins.

Kubinova, 23, is a native of the Czech Republic and moved to the U.S. last year, where she started riding at Emerald Downs.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Ramon Dominguez Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

On Saturday at Aqueduct, Dominguez guided Hansen to victory in the $400,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) and It’s Tricky to a win in the $200,000 Top Flight Handicap (G2).

Dominguez has dominated the jockey standings at Aqueduct this year and with the increased purses being offered there, he has opened a commanding early lead on all North American jockeys in the earnings category. Through March 6, Dominguez’s mounts had earned $4,082,312, well ahead of Javier Castellano in second place.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Jesse Campbell To return To Woodbine

From Fair Grounds Communications Department
The 34-year-old reinsman will conclude his Crescent City season this Saturday, seat wife Allyson and their two cats in the truck beside him before dawn Sunday and head north, driving straight through to Chicago while towing the family’s boat behind.

 

“We’ll spend a few days visiting our families in Chicago,” said Campbell Friday morning, “but then we’ll head back to Canada to get ready for the Woodbine meeting. We’re awfully excited to be going back up there. We’re really looking forward to it. We had a very good season in Canada last year even though it was my first time riding up there. I won seven stakes and four of them were graded. I’m riding for all the right people up there now, and I think we’ll really be able to build on that momentum this spring.

 

“I knew it would be a little slow down here this winter,” said Campbell, “but I did think we’d do a little better than we did. I did go over and win a stakes at Houston while we were down here this winter and as for that horse (Nates Mineshaft) the other day – he ran a huge race. Ever since that first race he ran down here at Fair Grounds this winter, I’d told the trainer this is a different horse than when I worked him three weeks earlier. I can’t say I expected to win the race the other day, but I knew he’d run well. Then, when he was traveling so easy and no one was challenging us when we had the lead going into the first turn, I thought then, ‘This is a good thing for us.’ I knew my horse was a good horse and that they shouldn’t be letting us get away that easy.

 

“It’s funny, but it was merely a coincidence that Ally was out here that day to see the horse win last week,” Campbell said. “She’s been working as a wedding planner this winter and normally she wouldn’t have a day off on a Saturday. In fact, even when we found out she did that day, I told her it probably wasn’t worth it to come out to the races. Luckily, she didn’t listen to me.”

 

However, last week’s $125,000 Mineshaft ’Cap is designed to serve merely as a prep race for the Grade II New Orleans Handicap to be run as part of the Louisiana Derby Day card April 1, closing day of the current Fair Grounds season. Would Campbell and Nates Mineshaft be returning for that?

 

“You know, I haven’t even really talked to the trainer since that race the other day,” said Campbell. “I have no idea what his plans are with the horse. But if he comes back to run in that next race, I’d certainly like to fly back down here to ride him.”

Monday, March 05, 2012

RAMON DOMINGUEZ TO RECEIVE WOOLF AWARD DURING CEREMONY ON MARCH 25

 From Santa Anita Communications Department

            Dominguez, a 35-year-old native of Venezuela who is a two-time Eclipse Award winning jockey, will fly to Santa Anita from his Florida base at Gulfstream Park for the presentation that will be attended by numerous former winners of the Woolf Award.

 

            The Woolf Award honors riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

 

            In the 2012 voting by fellow jockeys nationwide, Dominquez outpolled fellow finalists Corey Lanerie, Martin Pedroza, DeShawn Parker and Scott Stevens.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Napravnik Rides Five Winners Sunday

 From Fair Grounds Communications Department

Small Kitchen’s margin of victory at the wire was 7 1/4-lengths in the allowance and $50,000 optional claiming affair that was restricted to sophomore fillies and contested at six furlongs on the main track.

 

Trained by Mike Maker, the winner returned mutuels of $3.60, $2.60 and $2.40 while remaining undefeated in two lifetime starts and increasing her career earnings to $52,008. She toured the three-quarter-mile distance in 1:09.88 after ticking off early splits of 22.38 and 45.80.

 

Vinery Stables’ Diamante de Fuego finished second, paying $3.40 and $3 while Michael Schroeck’s Banded was third, two lengths farther back for a $4.40 to show return.

 

Napravnik just missed tying the Fair Grounds record of six winners on a card. Her mount in the day’s last race finished a fast-closing second and could not get past the longshot 62-1 winner, Wedding Slippers. The record of six in a day is shared by several riders across the track’s 140-year history.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Attfield, 4 Horses Among New HOF Finalists

by Blood-Horse Staff
The first-time finalists are trainer Roger Attfield and Thoroughbreds Ashado, Ghostzapper  , Housebuster, and Xtra Heat. They join jockeys Calvin Borel, Garrett Gomez, Alex Solis, and John Velazquez, and trainer Robert Wheeler, all of whom were finalists in 2011.
Hall of Fame voters may select as many candidates as they believe are worthy of induction. The four candidates with the highest vote totals will be elected.
The finalists were selected by the Hall of Fame’s 16-member Nominating Committee from a total of 82 candidates suggested throughout the year by turf journalists, Thoroughbred industry participants, and racing fans. To be eligible, trainers must have been active for 25 years and jockeys must have been active for 20 years. Thoroughbreds must have been retired for five years. All candidates must have been active within the past 25 years. A separate Historic Review Committee is assigned to consider candidates whose careers were completed more than 25 years ago.
The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced April 23. The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 10 at 10:30 a.m. ET. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
Attfield has saddled the winner of 1,727 races, including 369 stakes, and has purse earnings of more than $88 million. He has won the Sovereign Award for outstanding Canadian trainer a record eight times and trained three Canadian Triple Crown winners (Izvestia, With Approval, andPeteski). Attfield has won a record-tying eight runnings of the Queen’s Plate (Can-I) and won his first Breeders’ Cup race in 2011 when Perfect Shirl took the Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Ashado won 12 of her 21 career starts with purse earnings of $3,931,440. She was named champion 3-year-old female in 2004 and champion older female in 2005. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Starlight Stable, Paul Saylor, and Johns Martin, Ashado won seven grade I stakes, including the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).
Ghostzapper won nine of 11 career starts and earned $3,446,120. He was named Horse of the Year and champion older male in 2004 when he posted a 4-for-4 record. A homebred campaigned by Stronach Stables and trained by Bobby Frankel, Ghostzapper won the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) in stakes-record time. Among his additional victories were the Woodward Stakes, Vosburgh Stakes, and Metropolitan Handicap, all grade I.
Housebuster won 15 times in 22 starts and earned $1,229,696. He was named champion sprinter in 1990 and 1991. Trained by Warren A. Croll, Jr., for Robert P. Levy, Housebuster scored grade I victories in the Jerome Handicap, Carter Handicap,and Vosburgh Stakes. Eleven of his 15 wins were in graded stakes races.
Xtra Heat won 26 times and finished out of the money only twice in 35 career starts en route to earning $2,389,635. Owned by Classic Star Stable and trained by John Salzman, Sr., Xtra Heat was named champion 3-year-old filly in 2001. She won 10 stakes races, including the grade 1 Prioress. Xtra Heat won six races in a row twice during her career and posted two victories in the grade II Barbara Fritchie Handicap and the grade III Endine Stakes.
Thursday, March 01, 2012

Castellano Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

 He then followed up on Saturday with a hardfought win aboard El Padrino in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) to help secure the spot as leading jockey by North American purse earnings, with $450,010 for the week ended February 28.

Castellano, 34, rallied El Padrino to chase down leader Mark Valeski in the long stretch at Fair Grounds and dueled on even terms coming down to the wire, where El Padrino put a nose in front to prevail in the Risen Star for owner Let’s Go Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher.

Castellano began riding in Venezuela in 1996 and moved to the U.S. not long afterward in June 1997. His most notable mounts include 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper and champion three-year-old of 2006 Bernardini.

Currently based at Gulfstream Park, Castellano ranks second among North American jockeys by 2012 earnings with $2,431,081, and fourth by wins with 56. Last year, he finished third by earnings with $15,677,027 and fifth by wins with 278.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Triple Crown victory one of the few eluding Dominguez

Jay Privman/Daily Racing Form
What Ramon Dominguez doesn’t have, yet, is a win in a Triple Crown race. Not the Kentucky Derby, nor the Preakness, nor the Belmont.

“It’s definitely something I think of, especially this time of year it comes to mind,” Dominguez said in a phone interview earlier this week from his home near Belmont Park. “But I’ve had so many good things come my way the last few years, it would be unfair for me to focus on that.

“That said, like any jockey in the United States, I’d like to win the Derby, or a Triple Crown race. All I can do is prepare the best I can, and hopefully be in the right place at the right time.”

The right place on Saturday for Dominguez will be Aqueduct, where he will ride Hansen, last year’s champion 2-year-old male, in the Gotham Stakes. Hansen is one of two top Derby contenders Dominguez is currently riding. He also is aligned with Alpha, who will make his next start in either the Florida Derby at Gulfstream on March 31 or the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7.

[DERBY WATCH: [1]Top 20 contenders [1] | Who's hot, who's not [2]]

It only seems a matter of time before Dominguez, 35, wins a Triple Crown race. He is clearly in the prime of his career right now, a melding of his growing skills as a rider and the acumen of his agent, Steve Rushing, one of the most respected at his profession. Together, they have dominated New York racing in recent years. Dominguez rides for just about all the top barns on the NYRA circuit, and, in the case of Mike Maker with Hansen, is sought out by leading trainers outside his home base.

“With limited opportunities, we’ve had a lot of success together,” Maker said. “I like that he always rides a smart race. He gives you an opportunity to win. He’s got a lot of intelligence. You can see how well prepared he is when he gets to the paddock. And his feedback after a race is second to none.”

In fact, a subtle equipment change for Hansen this week came about because of the dialogue between Dominguez and Maker. Hansen is going to remove blinkers for the Gotham, but he also will be changing bits from what he used in the Holy Bull, his most recent start, in which he finished second to Algorithms while suffering the first loss of his career.

“He was a bit headstrong in his last race, so we’re going to change back to a ring bit,” Maker said. “He was wearing a snaffle bit.”

“Sometimes less is more,” Dominguez said. “The bit he had was too severe. We agreed. We are on the same page.”

In the Holy Bull, Hansen set swift fractions after stumbling at the start.

“I thought it was a pretty gutsy race,” Dominguez said. “He was hard to handle last time. He was coming off a semi-layoff, and sometimes when a horse stumbles leaving the gate, they run off. They get on the bridle. You hope they come back to you. He impressed me because he was very rank, but he continued to gallop out strong after the race. He held his ground. He was determined. He kept trying. After an effort like that, I expected him to pull up pretty quickly when we were galloping out, but he continued trying. He wasn’t out of breath.”

Alpha won the Count Fleet and the Withers over Aqueduct’s inner track in his last two starts, the only two times Dominguez has been aboard him.

“I’m very excited about him, too,” Dominguez said. “He definitely improved a lot from his previous race to his last one. He was stronger. He finished better. I love his attitude. He’s very kind, so kind that he’s the type of horse that you don’t know if you have any horse or not. But when it’s time to go, he’s there.”

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Alpha, said that in addition to Dominguez being a good rider, he’s also a good guy.

“He’s a real gentleman to begin with, really classy, and it carries over to his riding,” McLaughlin said. “He can do well with different types of horses. He has great hands. He’s very smart.

“He’s a great guy, a real family guy,” McLaughlin added. “A lot of riders have success and go out and buy a fancy car. He drives a Honda. I love that! It says a lot about him. He’s just a regular guy. He doesn’t take for granted anything that he has. He’s a great ambassador for the sport.”

Dominguez’s peers obviously agree, for they are the ones who voted him the Woolf Award, whose qualifications are high standards both on and off the track.

“It definitely meant a lot to me, because the voting is done by your peers,” Dominguez said. “It’s very meaningful, because they judge you by your career on the track and your personal character. That’s very important.”
Thursday, March 01, 2012

Jermaine Bridgmohan Scores Hat Trick Sunday

From Fair Grounds Race Course Communications Department
Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Bridgmohan won Sunday’s second race aboard JRita Young Thoroughbreds’ Artic Sea for trainer AllenMilligan, took the fifth on Spendthrift Farm’s Treasured Up for two-time Fair Grounds training champion Al Stall Jr., and came back to the winner’s circle after the finale astride Miss Inclined, owned by Mueller Thoroughbred Stable and conditioned by Malcolm Pierce.

 

Sunday’s hat trick, coming as the Fair Grounds began the last quarter of its 2011-2012 meeting, also put the most successful stamp to date on the 23-year-old reinsman’s inaugural Crescent City season.

 

“Actually, I got off to a decent start here this winter,” said Bridgmohan shortly after completing his active morning during training hours Wednesday at Fair Grounds. “I won two races on the second day of the meeting, but then a couple of things happened that slowed down my momentum and it took me awhile to get things going again.

 

“First of all, shortly after riding those two winners, I got in some traffic problems in a race a couple of days after that and picked up a suspension. Then, not long after that, I was on a horse that flipped in the gate on the day after Christmas and was off a few days with a sprained ankle. That’s what prolonged me doing any better any sooner, but things have really picked up for me during the second half of the meeting. Hopefully, I’ve done some things that will help build toward some future years down here.

 

New Orleans seems like a pretty nice place to be in the winter time,” said Bridgmohan, who was raised in South Florida and was the leading rider during the Tropical-at-Calder meeting during 2006. “The weather here has been pretty nice – almost like being in Florida – and, of course, the food here is really great. Also, I think what really proved that New Orleans is a great city is the way the people here have bounced back after Katrina.”

 

Although he has won the Grade II Carry Back Stakes at Calder and the Grade II Davona Dale and Grade III Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream during his young career, Bridgmohan’s local reputation has so far been overshadowed by that of older brother Shaun Bridgmohan, who celebrated a five-win day earlier this winter on Dec. 17 and was Fair Grounds’ jockey champion during the 2009-2010 season.

 

However, the younger Bridgmohan downplays any comparisons to his older brother’s career.

 

“Shaun is nine years older than me,” Jermaine explained, “so really, we’re from two different generations. He started riding in 1998 when he was 18, so I would have been nine years old at the time. I remember going to Calder to watch him ride when he first started out, because the whole family lives in Ft. Lauderdale now. But I didn’t start riding until 2006, and he had left the South Florida circuit years earlier, so we really have not ridden against each other that much.”

 

However, one such battle of the brothers took place in Chicago last summer, when Jermaine Bridgmohan won the $100,000 Arlington Sprint aboard Silverton Hill’s Havelock and Shaun Bridgmohan finished second on Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Country Day, who won last Saturday’s $75,000 Colonel Power Stakes at Fair Grounds.

 

“I didn’t get any special feeling about beating my brother (in last summer’s Arlington Sprint),” said Jermaine Bridgmohan a few days after that encounter. “I was just happy about winning the race.”

 

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