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Monday, April 30, 2012

Carter Rides Five Winners at Remington

Carter swept the daily double to get his Sunday rolling with Call Me Flyer ($5.20 to win) in the opener and Queen Of Nuts ($4.60) in the second race. Icy Valentine ($4.40) took him to victory in the fifth race and then Separacrest ($10.80) did the same in race eight. The Carter quintuple was completed in race 10 when he won with Klassy Sassy ($25.20) at 11-1 odds.

The five wins for Carter moves him to 48 on the season, 16 ahead of Adalberto Candanosa in second. Carter is attempting to win his 15th riding title at Remington Park. He has been voted the AQHA champion jockey nine times, more than any other rider in the history of the award.

Monday, April 30, 2012


From Tampa Bay Communications Department
The lessons from Prado didn’t end when they left the jockeys’ room.
When the races ended, Serpa retrieved Prado’s discarded program from the trash can. At night, he studied the veteran’s notations and comments, learning how Prado sized up a race based on the past performances of his own mount and the rest of the horses.

“I tried every day to learn something new,” said Serpa, who has taken Tampa Bay Downs by storm this season by riding 72 winners, second in the jockey standings to Leandro Goncalves. “I saw how he marked the program – where the speed was in the race and how each horse ran – and it taught me a lot.

“I listen to everybody and watch everybody. I watch all the races from every track, every jockey. Edgar Prado stayed in the same corner of the room with me at Aqueduct, and he would look at the replays with me. He let me know when I made a mistake, and told me not to do it like that the next time,” Serpa said.
The 24-year-old Serpa – a native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico – is leaving Tampa Bay Downs after Sunday’s card to ride next week at Atlantic City and Meadowlands in preparation for the May 12 opening of Monmouth Park, where he was the third-leading jockey during last year’s full meet with 67 victories.
Serpa was an accomplished apprentice; in 2010, he was a finalist for an Eclipse Award as Outstanding Apprentice Jockey after winning 105 races and amassing $3.46 million in purse earnings (Omar Moreno won the award).
But the pages of Thoroughbred racing are littered with hot-shot apprentices who never have amounted to much after losing their weight allowance. At Monmouth last summer and fall and here at Tampa Bay Downs, Serpa has shown his determination to rise into the elite category.
“With a little bit of luck, I think he could take off,” said Tampa Bay Downs Association Steward Dennis Lima. “He has a good head on his shoulders, and you don’t see him get in trouble a lot. He knows where he is at on the track, and he’s a very strong rider. He’s a gentleman and has never been a problem to the stewards.
“He’s very patient on a horse, he knows how to save ground and he rides the turf well,” Lima said. “Since I’ve been here, there have been a lot of good riders that came through here early in their careers and have gone on to become top jockeys – Jose Lezcano, Jesus Castanon, Manoel Cruz – and I think this kid has the same kind of ability as those I mentioned.”
Serpa’s skill on the turf was on full display Feb. 25 in the Grade III, $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes. Earlier that day, he learned his grandmother in Puerto Rico had died, filling him with sadness. But when it came time to ride 28-1 shot Roman Tiger for owner-trainer Dennis Manning, Serpa raised his game to a championship level.
The result was a nose victory for the 7-year-old gelding – who had not won in almost two years – as Serpa saved ground along the inside every step of the way for his first graded-stakes triumph as a jockey.
“When I won, I said ‘This is for my grandmother,’ because I think she helped me win the race,” Serpa said. He flew home afterward to be with his family, and they celebrated the life of Porfiria Rodriguez and Serpa’s success.
“Everybody was so happy when they saw the news in the Daily Racing Form about me winning the Grade III,” Serpa said.
Family continues to be a big part of Serpa’s story. He is married to fellow jockey Carol Cedeno, who currently rides at River Downs in Ohio and Indiana Downs (in fact, Cedeno was scheduled to ride 11 races combined Saturday at the two tracks).

While both are competing, Cedeno’s cousin cares for their children, 3-year-old daughter Angelica and 7-month-old son Dylan (Serpa’s 4-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, Emmaries, lives in Puerto Rico with her mother).

Serpa is proud of his wife’s accomplishments, and for now they are content to ply their trades in different parts of the country. It isn’t easy being apart, though. After riding at Meadowlands next week, Serpa plans to go to Indiana to see Cedeno and the kids before reporting for duty at Monmouth.
“I talk to Carol every day. She’s a good jockey and works hard,” Serpa said. “I miss her and the babies. It is hard in this business when you are married and working somewhere else.”
Serpa enjoys both the daily competition and the camaraderie among his fellow jockeys. Starting off at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) in 2009, he received guidance from brothers C.C. Lopez and Carlos Lopez and Tony Black.
At Tampa Bay Downs, he credits Willie Martinez, Scott Spieth and Daniel Centeno, among others, for teaching him how to handle himself as a professional. “If you need help they will help you, but we all are hungry to win,” Serpa said.
“After the race we can go get something to eat or something, but on the track is different. It’s funny because in the races you are fighting against everybody, but you come back to the room and are friends again.”
A strong spring and summer at Monmouth will gain Serpa additional exposure, but for now he is planning to return to Tampa Bay Downs for the 2012-13 season. “People tell me they think I have a good chance to ride at Gulfstream Park next winter,” he said. “But for me, I need one more year here learning more.”
It might not be too many years before Serpa’s fellow riders are plucking his tossed-out programs from the waste basket for instruction.
Serpa rode three winners on Saturday’s card, beginning in the second race with 6-year-old mare Sing It Again for owner Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. and trainer Jamie Ness.

The combination of Midwest, Ness and Serpa scored again in the eighth race with 4-year-old colt Yankysjazz. In the ninth race, Serpa again proved masterful on the turf, rallying the 6-year-old gelding Empty Handed to victory for owners Stuart Sackowitz and David Gherman and trainer Jane Cibelli.

Monday, April 30, 2012




1.     The safety of human and equine athletes must be paramount at all times in racing.


2.     We participate on, and support the mission of, the Racing Medication Testing Consortium board (“RMTC”), which is striving to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.


3.     The rules regarding race day medication should be uniform throughout the United States through the creation of an Interstate Compact on Horse Racing which will enable states to act cooperatively with more uniform, effective and efficient practices, programs, rules and regulations related to racing.


4.     We support the RMTC’s recommendation to reduce the threshold of in blood for phenylbutazone (“Bute”) from 5 micrograms/milliliter (ug/ml) to 2 micrograms/milliliter (ug/ml).


5.     We support mandatory PRE-RACE Veterinary exams as the only real guarantee against unsafe horses on the race track.  We believe there should a stronger emphasis on the responsibility of the veterinarian in the afternoon to scratch horses which are not warming up soundly during the post-parade.


6.  We agree that the improper use of clenbuterol and illegally compounded non-FDA approved substances is a serious concern.  We support the RMTC’s current efforts to determine the withdrawal times before a horse so treated can be allowed to race.


7.  We agree that corticosteroids have to be thoroughly studied and limited in use as the science dictates.


 8. We support rigorous limits on extracorporeal shock wave therapy.  Every owner, trainer, or veterinarian who owns or buys a shock wave therapy apparatus must register it with the Commission, Board of Stewards and race track where is being used before it is used and give notice every time it is used.  Shock Wave therapy needs to be conducted at a designated area, overseen by a regulatory veterinarian or racing official, the details of any such treatment for any horse shall be provided to all jockeys and the horse shall not race within 10 days of treatment as currently stated in the ARCI Model Rules.


9.  We agree that no adjunct race day medications are permissible.


10. We support continuing scientific studies of the safety of utilizing Furosomide (“Lasix”) as a race day medication and will work with the industry to take any actions necessary to ensure safety.  If Lasix is used it shall be administered by a regulatory veterinarian.


About the Guild


Jockeys’ Guild, Inc., the organization representing professional jockeys in Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing in the United States, was founded in May 1940 and has approximately 950 members, including active, retired and disabled jockeys. The purpose is to protect jockeys, strive to achieve a safer racing environment, to obtain improved insurance and other benefits for members and to monitor developments in local, state and federal laws affecting the racing industry, and in particular, the jockeys. More information at and



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Donegal Racing Announces Contribution to Disabled Jockeys

Donegal along with Dullahan’s trainer, Dale Romans, and jockey, Kent Desormeaux, have pledged five percent of the colt’s Kentucky Derby winnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Additionally, Prairie Meadowswill match the Donegal contribution.

“Horse racing is a glorious sport with a rich history, and those of us who love it understand that jockeys are gifted athletes who take risks every time they take a mount,” said Jerry Crawford, general partner in Donegal Racing. “This is a great opportunity to give back and we thank Prairie Meadows for joining us in the effort.”

Donegal’s partners voted unanimously to make the contribution.

“You know it’s an important and worthwhile cause when 24 people from 10 states agree without dissension,” Crawford said. “We believe in the work PDJF does to help jockeys and their families who have devoted their lives to the sport.”

The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to former jockeys who have suffered catastrophic on-track injuries.

“We are very thankful to Donegal and Prairie Meadows for sharing the thrill of Dullahan’s Derby run with PDJF. This commitment serves as a wonderful example and provides much needed help to the men and women we serve,” stated Nancy LaSala, the PDJF’s executive director.

Founded in 2006, PDJF has disbursed more than $3 million to permanently disabled jockeys, most of whom have sustained paralysis or brain injuries. The fund represents a cooperative effort among race tracks, jockeys, horsemen, and enthusiasts.  (

“Prairie Meadows has always been a supporter of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund – a program that brings much-needed financial assistance to a group of athletes who have given so much to the sport of horse racing,” noted Gary Palmer, president and CEO of Prairie Meadows.  “In order for that organization to do its work in supporting injured riders and finding technologies and practices that help to improve the safety of both the human and equine athlete, they need funds. So, we are delighted that Donegal Racing is stepping up to donate five percent of any Kentucky Derby winnings this year to that fund.

“And for our part, Prairie Meadows is proud to offer to match Donegal’s contributions, dollar-for-dollar, to assist the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund in the great work that they do,” Palmer added.


 For more information, contact:

Jerry Crawford, general partner, Donegal Racing


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jockey Razo dies in garage fire in suburban Chicago

by Frank Angst/Thoroughbred Times
Investigators said Razo, 46, was found after a fire in the detached garage of his residence in Long Grove, Illinois was extinguished. The fire’s cause was unknown as of Tuesday afternoon, although neighbors told the Pioneer Local they heard an explosion.

Razo had been riding this year at Oaklawn Park but was getting ready to shift his tack to the Chicago area. Razo has been a fixture at Arlington Park, where he has won 880 races.

Born in Mexico City to a racing family, Razo rode in his native country for three years before arriving in the U.S. in 1983. Since that time, Razo has won 2,962 races from 24,270 starts and his horses earned $64,011,843 in purses.

Razo secured 130 stakes wins in his career, including 14 graded stakes victories. Some of his top career victories include guiding It’s No Joke to victory in the 2006 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (G2), Shadowbdancing in the 2010 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (G2), Eye of the Tiger in the 2004 Washington Park Handicap (G2) at Arlington Park, and Miss Macy Sue in the 2007 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes.

Last year, Razo guided Caleb’s Posse to victory in the Ohio Derby (G3) and Smarty Jones Stakes.

In a feature for Hawthorne Race Course, Razo talked about his father, a trainer; as well as grandparents and an extended family involved in racing horses.

"Around Mexico City horse racing, just about everyone knows of the Razos,” Razo Jr. said. “I was barely 13 when I took out my license to gallop horses. I couldn't wait. At 15, I had my jockey license. I learned much of what I know from my father. He had ridden briefly and he had about 60 horses in his care when I started out. He insisted that we learn everything about horses, not just riding them but also all aspects of caring for them. It was hard work, but it made for a good foundation and I am thankful for the experience."
Monday, April 23, 2012


From NYRA Communications Department
Rice, who has saddled 12 winners during the Aqueduct main track meet, now tops the trainer standings going into Sunday’s closing day. Velasquez, with 23 victories on the main track, enjoys a five-win lead over David Cohen (18) and Eddie Castro (18) in the jockey standings.


Rice and Velasquez picked up their first victories separately on Saturday, with the trainer sending out Finn Again ($7.60) to win the second race, a turf route for maidens, under Alan Garcia. In race 4, the Northern Willy overnight stakes, Velasquez piloted Miss Valentine ($3.80) to a 2 ¼-length victory over the main track for trainer Christophe Clement.


Rice and Velasquez then teamed up to win race 5 with Cricky’sgoldeneyes ($7.90) and race 6 with longshot first-timer N. F.’s Destiny ($22.20). Rice’s Tell Grant finished eighth in race 7 with Velasquez aboard, but the pair resumed their winning ways on the turf in race 8 when Velasquez guided Abilio ($8.50) to a one-length allowance victory.


“I thought we had a really good chance to win the second, the sixth, and the eighth,” Rice said after Abilio’s victory. “I wasn’t counting on the fifth. It’s a good time to have all the grass horses back from vacation and Florida, and hopefully we have a good season [at the upcoming Belmont Park meet].”


Monday, April 23, 2012

Hall of Fame: Ghostzapper, Attfield, Velazquez, Wheeler are elected

By Jay Privman/Daily Racing Form
Those four individuals beat out six others who were on the ballot – the Eclipse Award-winning male sprinter Housebuster, champion fillies Ashado and Xtra Heat, and jockeys Calvin Borel, Garrett Gomez, and Alex Solis.

Hall of Fame voters had to choose from that final list of 10, and could mix and match horses and people in any combination. Though voters could pick as many individuals as they wished, only the four who received the most votes got in.

Velazquez, 40, is a two-time Eclipse Award winner who achieved his greatest victory in last year’s Kentucky Derby aboard Animal Kingdom. He also won the 2007 Belmont Stakes aboard the filly Rags to Riches. Velazquez has won more than 4,800 races.

Attfield, 72, is an eight-time winner of Canada’s Sovereign Award as champion trainer, and has won that country’s most-prestigious race, the Queen’s Plate, eight times. Three of those Queen’s Plate winners went on to sweep the Canadian Triple Crown. Last fall, Attfield won his first Breeders’ Cup race when Perfect Shirl captured the BC Filly and Mare Turf.

Wheeler, who died in 1992, was one of the all-time greats on the West Coast. His champion racehorses included the females Silver Spoon and Track Robbery. Particularly adept with 2-year-olds, Wheeler won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship five times and the Del Mar Debutante three times. At the time of his death, Wheeler was fifth on the list of all-time stakes-winning trainers at Santa Anita, where he won three runnings of the Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap.

Ghostzapper secured his Horse of the Year title in 2004 by winning that year’s BC Classic at Lone Star. He remained in training in 2005, and though he made just one start, it was dazzling, as he romped to a 6 1/4-length victory in the Metropolitan Handicap off a seven-month layoff. Ghostzapper won 9 of 11 starts in his oft-interrupted career, including four Grade 1 races. Bred and owned by Frank Stronach, Ghostzapper was trained by Bobby Frankel.

The induction ceremonies are Aug. 10 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where the Hall of Fame is located.

Monday, April 23, 2012


From NYRA Communications Department

Trainer Dale Romans, who has never had more than 10 horses at Belmont in the spring, will personally oversee 38 head this year.


New York is heading back to the head of the class,” said Romans, who through Friday has won nine races from 69 starters this year at Aqueduct. “It’s the best jurisdiction for racing. This is the first time in the spring that we’re going to have a full-time stable. I’m renting a house across the street from the track, and I’m looking forward to it.”


Jockeys Julien Leparoux, Rosie Napravnik, and Junior Alvarado will ride full-time at Belmont for the first time, and they’ll face off against Eclipse Award winners Ramon Dominguez, Edgar Prado, and John Velazquez. The talented jockey colony also includes Javier Castellano, Eddie Castro, David Cohen, Alan Garcia, Jose Lezcano, Rajiv Maragh, Corey Nakatani, Alex Solis, and Cornelio Velasquez.


Leparoux, named the 2009 Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Jockey and a regular at Saratoga Race Course, will ride in New York full-time beginning with the Belmont meet. In New York, Leparoux has earned Grade 1 victories in the 2008 and 2009 Diana (Forever Together), 2009 Personal Ensign (Icon Project), 2009 Flower Bowl Invitational (Pure Clan), and 2010 Carter (Warrior’s Reward).


“He’s ready for a different challenge,” Leparoux’s longtime agent Steve Bass said in February. “We were looking for a place where we could go and basically stay year-round – not have to pack up and move every few months. The purses don’t hurt, either.”


Napravnik, leading jockey at the Fair Grounds the past two years and at Delaware Park in 2010, has returned to New York to compete regularly for the first time since she successfully wintered at Aqueduct in 2008-09 and 2009-10.


“I’m really looking forward to joining this riding colony full time,” said Napravnik. “I got my feet wet a couple of winters ago, so I’ve gotten to know a lot of the trainers and ride for a lot of them and win races for many of them. [The racing] is going to be unbelievable, like nowhere else.”


Alvarado, winner of the 2009 riding title at Arlington Park, has competed at Aqueduct the past two winters, respectively finishing fifth and third in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 inner track jockey standings. This year, he’ll ride in New York year-round instead of returning to Arlington.


“I did pretty well last year in the winter, but it was getting really tough so I decided to go back to Chicago,” said Alvarado. “I have a great agent [Mike Sellito], though, so I know I’ll be riding for good trainers this year. That’s why we’re going to take a chance and stay here. It’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be tough for everybody.”


The list of trainers who for the first time will have a string in New York for the duration of the Belmont spring/summer meet includes H. Graham Motion, Ralph Nicks, Tom Proctor, Michael Trombetta, and Ian Wilkes.


“With the way things are and with the purses being so good, we decided we wanted to work in New York a little bit more,” said Trombetta, who will have six stalls at Belmont. “If we have the right horses to run in New York, then we’ll want to have the opportunity to run them. We run quite a bit in New York from the Fair Hill training center, but we thought there’d be some benefit to having stalls in New York. A lot of horses can van 4-5 hours and run just fine, but some run better if they get there a day or two early, and this will help us with that.”


In addition, the list of out-of-state horsemen who will be prominent at Belmont includes Bob Hess, Jr., Eddie Kenneally, Steve Klesaris, Mike Maker, Ken McPeek, and Michelle Nihei.


The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is offering $100,000 bonus for any 2-year-old who breaks its maiden during the spring/summer meet and goes on to win a graded stakes at Saratoga Race Course, Belmont, or Aqueduct Racetrack in 2012. One operation that’s poised to take advantage of the bonus is the Kiaran McLaughlin barn, which will receive its first batch of Darley Stable 2-year-olds earlier than usual.


“We brought 10 [juveniles] to Palm Meadows and we’re going to be early and hopefully be ready to run here in June,” said McLaughlin. “We had to plan last year to [send horses to New York earlier in 2012], so hopefully it works out. It’s a $100,000 bonus if you win a graded stakes and it goes in your graded stakes earnings for the Derby. So it’s great, but it’s going to be tough.”


The 144th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 9 will serve as the zenith of the spring/summer meet. Belmont Park will conduct four additional graded stakes that day, including the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap and Grade 1 Just a Game. Other meet highlights include four graded stakes on Memorial Day, May 28, featuring the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, with the Grade 1 Mother Goose on June 23, and the Grade 1 Man o’ War on July 14.


Monday, April 23, 2012


 From Keeneland Communications Department

Leparoux, who had eight mounts yesterday, won the opener on Rhonin Victoria ($5.80), the second on Love Reigns ($7.20), the fourth on Rally Point ($7.40), the fifth on Sum of the Parts ($4.60), the seventh on Julie’s Love (GB) ($4) and the eighth on Into the Fray ($8).


His bid for a record seventh victory fell a neck short when Kathmanblu ran second in the day’s feature race, the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3).


Twice last fall Leparoux rode five winners on the card, and this spring he also had a four-win day on April 13.


With five days remaining in the 15-day Keeneland meet, Leparoux has an 18-8 win margin over second-leading rider James Graham. The 28-year-old Leparoux has won three spring riding titles here outright (2007, 2009, 2011) and shared a fourth (2006) and also accounted for three leading rider titles during the fall (2006, 2010, 2011).


In 1990, Romero won six races with nine mounts, and Perret won with six of his seven mounts. Romero won a spring meet record 32 races that season.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Castellano Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

The 34-year-old rider won a pair of graded stakes on April 14, led by Caixa Eletronica’s three-length win in the Charles Town Classic Stakes (G2). Earlier that day at Keeneland, Castellano guided Perfect Officer to a nose victory in course record time in the Shakertown Stakes (G3).

For the year, Castellano has ridden the winners of 109 races from 420 mounts, for a 26% win rate. His mounts have earned $6,242,224 through Wednesday.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Twist of fate spared Longden from Titanic disaster

by Mary Simon/Thoroughbred Times
Their train had been late, so very late, and the panicked mother, five third-class tickets in hand, hustled her flock through celebratory throngs toward a ship looming ahead. At the soon-to-be-closed downplank, she counted heads. One, two, three girls … where was the boy? Her son, a tiny five-year-old waif with a mind of his own, had disappeared into the crowd; though a desperate search soon found him, alas, it was fait accompli; the RMS Titanic had raised anchor and was pulling away from the dock on its maiden voyage to America. The family could only watch as it sailed away with 2,200 waving, cheering souls aboard, onto eternity’s horizon.

“I always thought I had a guardian angel on my shoulder,” the boy would remark to a reporter 82 years later.

Indeed. The family soon caught another ship to New York, and eventually met up with the husband and father who waited them in Alberta, Canada. The Titanic? We all know how that ended.

Had they been onboard, the family might have been among the approximately 700 survivors—although steerage passengers were later computed to have been 44% less likely to find a spot on a lifeboat than those in first- or second-class. More likely, without a male family member on hand to advocate on their behalf, they would have been among the 1,500 who perished in the icy depths of the Northern Atlantic on the morning of April 15. The boy would have been five years, one month, and 57 days old at the time of his death.
But that did not happen.

The boy not only dodged the Titanic disaster, but survived two world wars and the Great Depression to become one of the greatest jockeys of all time. He swept the 1943 Triple Crown on Count Fleet. … led all North American riders three times by races won, twice by money earned. … had a leg-up at one time or another on Racing Hall of Fame champions Whirlaway, Swaps, Busher, and *Noor … … and was inducted into both the Canadian and the National Museum of Racing Halls of Fame.

In 1965, he became the first jockey to surpass 6,000 wins and at 59 retired as the world’s winningest rider. … He turned to training in his 60s and saddled nearly 400 winners.

Moments after tightening the girth on future Hall of Fame champion Majestic Prince for the 1969 Kentucky Derby, he established an unprecedented double — becoming the first, and, to date, only — person to both ride and train winners of America’s greatest classic … In addition, he co-founded the Jockeys’ Guild, won every honor available to a jockey, and in 1994 picked up a Special Eclipse Award for lifetime contributions to racing.

John Eric Longden died on his 96th birthday in 2003. Like Rose deWitt Bukater, the remarkable fictional heroine of the 1997 movie Titanic, he died at home, peacefully, in his own warm bed, after a long life of adventure and success.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Napravnik Wins Four on Saturday At Aqueduct

From NYRA Communications Department
Napravnik first two victories came aboard horses trained by Todd Pletcher, who had three winners on the card. Napravnik and Pletcher teamed up to win race 2 with R King of the Road ($3.60), and then added another score in race 5 with Street Brawl ($12.60).


Later on the card, Napravnik bookended the $250,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 by upsetting race 7 with Mutiny ($46.80) for trainer Dominic Galluscio and capturing race 10 with Gunman ($8.70) for trainer Tony Dutrow.


Napravnik, who missed the first 11 days of the Aqueduct spring meet as she wrapped up her second straight Fair Grounds riding title, is tied for seventh in the Big A rider standings with eight victories. She began riding at Aqueduct on April 6 and had previously wintered in New York in 2008-09 and 2009-10.


Monday, April 09, 2012


From Santa Anita Communications Department
A 46-year-old native of Roswell, New Mexico, Smith, who won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic with Drosselmeyer and the 2011 Sprint with California-bred Amazombie at Churchill Downs this past November, shares the all-time record of 15 lifetime Breeders’ Cup wins with retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, also a native of New Mexico.

            “This is really humbling,” said Smith.  “It feels great to win this race for Bill Spawr and for it to happen on Amazombie is so fitting.  Who could have drawn it up any better?  I’m just really happy that I finally got to 5,000.  I was a little bit concerned at the quarter pole today, but by the time I reached the eighth pole, I was very comfortable.  This horse is a champ. 

“I feel really good and I’ll sleep well tonight.  Just to be put in that group of guys that have won 5,000, I’m just beside myself.  I’ve got Easter off tomorrow and I’m gonna go on an Easter egg hunt.  I’ve always had a lot of fun throughout my career and I wouldn’t change anything, even the injuries. 

            “I can remember riding in El Paso with the wind blowing a hundred miles an hour and I thought ‘this is the greatest place on earth.’  I want to focus on getting good horses to ride and work hard at it.  I feel great and I’m still getting good opportunities.”

            Amazombie, who came off a disappointing third-place finish in his 2012 debut,  the Grade II San Carlos Stakes on Feb. 25, stalked pacesetter Roman threat and drew off to an authoritative ¾ length win, getting the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:14.16.

            Voted America’s Eclipse Award winning jockey in 1993 and ’94, Smith is regarded as one of the greatest big-money riders of all time and he was the regular rider of the legendary mare Zenyatta, guiding her to the final 17 consecutive wins in her storied career, including a win in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

            Smith’s Breeders’ Cup wins are highlighted by three victories in the Breeders’ Cup Classic:  aboard Skip Away in 1997, Zenyatta in 2009 and Drosselmeyer in 2011.

            An upset winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Giacomo, Smith has won a total of three Triple Crown races.  In addition to the 2005 Derby, he took the 1993 Preakness Stakes with Prairie Bayou and the 2010 Belmont with Drosselmeyer. 

            In addition to his multitude of prestigious stakes wins, Smith has also had the distinction of being the regular rider of three Horse of the Year winners:  Holy Bull in 1993, Azeri in 2002 and Zenyatta in 2010.

            In 1993 Smith set a North American record for stakes-won by a jockey, amassing an amazing 62 added money triumphs.

            The son of a jockey, Smith took out his first jockey’s license in 1982 and soon began to establish himself as a rider to watch in the mid 1980s at Canterbury Downs in Minnesota

            His career took off when he moved his base of operations to New York in 1989.  Smith quickly established himself as a dominant force, winning 14 riding titles at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga between 1991 and 1993.

            Smith was also Gulfstream Park’s leading rider in 1994 and he led the 1994 Keeneland spring meeting as well.

            Smith’s career was nearly ended in 1998, when he sustained a series of injuries, the worst of which was due to a spill at Saratoga in August, which resulted in two broken vertebrae.  Forced to wear a body cast, Smith was sidelined six months.

            Smith is scheduled to ride next week at Oaklawn Park and will return to ride full time at Santa Anita on April 15. 






Monday, April 09, 2012

UK club to host discussion with horse racing professionals

Confirmed speakers for the panel-style event include Jimmy Bell, president of Darley USA; jockey Jean Cruguet; Thoroughbred owner Barry Irwin and trainer Dale Romans. Horse Racing Radio Network’s Mike Penna will serve as master of ceremonies.

There will be a silent auction benefitting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Appetizers and beverages will be served. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the general public.

Event sponsors include Churchill Downs, Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ Club, UK Student Government Association, The Breeders’ Cup, Fasig Tipton, Thoroughbred Daily News, Horse Racing Radio Network, Kentucky Equine Education Project, Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, and UK Ag Equine Programs’ Rood and Riddle Fund.

On-site parking is free. Questions can be directed to the club at ukhorseracingclub@gmail.comor public relations representative Marshall Blevins at


Thursday, April 05, 2012


Gemologist (8-5)

Gemologist gets his name through his mother’s side of the family – his dam was Crystal Shard, whose sire was Mr. Prospector … The colt is described by trainer Todd Pletcher as being a consummate professional, talented, reliable, always giving 100 percent. “If I had to pick an athlete to compare him to,” said the trainer, “it would have to be Derek Jeter.”  


Alpha (5-2)

The son of Bernardini is good friends with assistant trainer Andrew St. Lawrence’s 10-year-old Golden Retriever, Sadler … Friendly and sociable, he enjoys being hand-fed from his hay rack  … Occupies the same stall in trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn as 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor.


Street Life (4-1)

The dark bay colt’s favorite trick is to stick out his tongue on command … Co-owned by Bob and Janice McNair, who will be going for their third victory in the Wood Memorial, having won in 2001 with Congaree and in 2006 with Bob and John. … Street Life’s name comes from his breeding, as he is a son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.


The Lumber Guy (8-1)

The Lumber Guy is named after thoroughbred owner Aaron Jones, who made his fortune in the lumber business in Oregon … Orphaned a day after his birth, The Lumber Guy was raised by a special “nurse mare” … Aptly enough, The Lumber Guy’s first stakes victory came in the Miracle Wood at Laurel Park.


My Adonis (8-1)

His jockey, Elvis Trujillo, was named for singing legend Elvis Presley … The colt himself was named after owner George Hall’s father, who pledged to become an “Adonis” after being diagnosed with cancer … Owners George and Lori Hall won the biggest race for 3-year-olds at Belmont park last year when Ruler On Ice upset the Belmont Stakes.


Teeth of the Dog (15-1)

Teeth of the Dog is named after an iconic Pete Dye-designed golf course at Casa de Campo which is near La Romana, Dominican Republic … Owner Jose Singer’s house overlooks the 15th hole of the course  … “His name is the meanest thing about him,” said trainer Michael Matz. “He’s really quite gentle and kind” … Teeth of the Dog’s stall in Florida is right next to that of Union Rags, one of the leading candidates this year for the Kentucky Derby.


Tiger Walk (15-1)

His name was inspired by the Tiger Walk, the signature event of Auburn’s pre-game ritual, where Auburn players walk to the football stadium through a phalanx of fans lined up along Donohue Drive … Owner Kevin Plank’s company, Under Amour, outfits the Auburn football team … Trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Correas says he’s a nice horse to be around, but very tough to gallop in the mornings. “If it was up to him, he would two-minute lick every day. That’s the thing you have to be careful of with him, he’d like to go fast on long gallops.”


Casual Trick (20-1)

Casual Trick gets his name from his breeding, as his dam is a daughter of Red Ransom named Casual Look … Trainer Nick Zito describes the Bernardini colt as playful. “When he’s being walked, he likes to play with his lead shank. A lot. Kind of like a dog playing with his leash.”




Thursday, April 05, 2012

Keeneland Racing Available on TV, Radio and Online

 From Keeneland's Communications Department

Keeneland's spring meeting opens April 6 for 15 days of racing through April 27.


The Central Bank Ashland, for 3-year-old fillies racing 1 1/16 miles, will be broadcast live during a 90-minute program on NBC that includes live coverage of the Santa Anita Derby (G1) at Santa Anita and the Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct. The program begins at 4:30 p.m. (all times ET).


A major steppingstone for the Kentucky Oaks (G1), the Central Bank Ashland was inaugurated at Keeneland during the track's first racing season in October 1936. It has been held during the spring meeting since 1940.


Lexington native Tom Hammond will host the April 7 program, which includes racing analysts Gary Stevens, a member of the Racing Hall of Fame, and Randy Moss. Reporters are Mike Battaglia, Donna Brothers, Laffit Pincay III and Kenny Rice from Keeneland, and Bob Neumeier from Aqueduct.

A week later, the Toyota Blue Grass, for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles, will be broadcast live on “Road to the Kentucky Derby” on CNBC from 6-7 p.m. Annually the richest race at the track, the Toyota Blue Grass was first run at Keeneland 75 years ago during the track's inaugural spring season. The race, which will be run this year for the 88th time, was first held in 1911 at the old Kentucky Association track near downtown Lexington.

Hammond will host the April 14 program, which includes analysts Stevens and Moss and reporters Battaglia, Rice, Katie Mikolay and Jay Privman. The program also features live coverage of the Arkansas Derby (G1) from Oaklawn Park.

The NBC Sports Group, the home of the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, will present 27 hours of Triple Crown coverage across NBC and NBC Sports Network. It also is the home of the “Autumn at Keeneland” series during the track's fall racing season in October.

Racing fans also can watch the Central Bank Ashland and Toyota Blue Grass live on

Daily racing coverage on TVG


The cable network TVG will provide comprehensive on-site coverage of Keeneland each day beginning at 1p.m. Post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m.


On April 11, TVG will have live coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes Post Position Draw from 11:30 a.m.-noon. The network's coverage of the Toyota Blue Grass on April 14 is from 6-7 p.m.


TVG will feature the $200,000 Coolmore Lexington (G3) on April 21 with coverage from 4:30-5:30 p.m. The 1 1/16-mile race is for 3-year-olds with aspirations of competing in the Triple Crown.


Throughout the spring season, additional TVG coverage from Keeneand will air on FOX Sports affiliates, including FSN Prime. This includes the Central Bank Ashland, Toyota Blue Grass and Coolmore Lexington, as well as the Vinery Madison (G1) on April 12, Maker's 46 Mile (G1) on April 13, Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare (G3) on April 20 and Grey Goose Bewitch (G3) on April 26.


Special features, race replays


Regional coverage of Keeneland racing (all times ET) includes:


  • “Keeneland Magazine on TV,” on Sunday, April 1, on Lexington's WKYT at 4:30 p.m. The 30-minute program features “Alice’s Wonderland: As Mill Ridge Farm Turns 50, Its Matriarch Remains a Guiding Force,” “Home-Turf Advantage: Keeneland-Based Trainer Charles Lopresti Is Red Hot” and “Farms for the Future: PDR Program Helps Preserve Lexington’s Agricultural Landscape.” “Keeneland Magazine on TV” will be re-broadcast on Thursday, April 5, at 7 p.m. on CWKYT.


  • “Keeneland Close Up,” a 30-minute show at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays during the racing season on Lexington's WLEX.


  • “Today at Keeneland,” a daily recap show of the day's races each race night in Lexington on Insight Cable on CWKYT at 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; at 6:30 p.m. on Sundays; and at 8:30 p.m. on April 14, day of the Toyota Blue Grass. “Today at Keeneland” also can be seen on TVG and HRTV the following day. Check listings at and



Live racing, handicapping chats on


As always, Keeneland will stream live racing video on, enabling fans to watch the races at no cost. Online patrons also can participate in live chats and handicapping analysis hosted by Jeremy Plonk and Joe Kristufek, who will be joined by such guests as Bob Neumeier and Caton Bredar.

On the radio


Lexington-based Horse Racing Radio Network will include a great deal of coverage of Keeneland's spring racing season. Through HRRN, live coverage of Keeneland's daily feature race or races will be broadcast in Lexington at HANK 96.1 FM, as well as on a number of radio stations in Kentucky and worldwide via free live streaming on


For the latest schedule of HRRN coverage of Keeneland, visit and click on the link titled 2012 Broadcast Schedule & Affiliates.


Racing fans can also tune-in to “Equine Forum” on HRRN every Saturday from 8-10 a.m. (ET) on  HANK 96.1 FM in Lexington or worldwide with free live streaming on Podcasts of the show are available on the website.


April Sale coverage


Keeneland's spring season annually includes its April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, which this year has cataloged 161 Thoroughbreds about to begin their racing careers. Recent graduates include classic winner Lookin At Lucky, who earned Eclipse Awards as champion 2-year-old colt and champion 3-year-old colt. will stream live video of the sale's Preview Day (under-tack show) on Thursday, April 5, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Replays of Preview Day workouts will be available on beginning that afternoon and through the sale on April 9. Video also will be available in Keeneland’s sales pavilion TV viewing room beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday, April 6.


Live coverage of the April 9 sale will be available on beginning at 4 p.m.




For more than 75 years, The Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. As the world's largest Thoroughbred auction company, Keeneland conducts sales every January, April, September and November. Its sales graduates dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a private, for-profit corporation that returns its earnings back to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses, as well as millions of dollars in charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. To learn more about Keeneland, visit us online at


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Rosie Napravnik Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Napravnik added a pair of stakes victories on Saturday at Fair Grounds, guiding Believe You Can to a win in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and Artemus Kitten in the Bayou Handicap. On Sunday,

Napravnik finished second in the Louisiana Derby (G2) aboard Mark Valeski as she closed out the meeting atop the standings in wins and earnings.

Believe You Can is being pointed to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) while the connections of Mark Valeski will see where he stands in terms of graded stakes earnings needed to make the field for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Jockeys’ Guild announces launch of Jockey Injury Database; aim is to track trends, protect riders

When a jockey injury occurs, the information will be gathered confidentially by medical personnel at racetracks, as well as by Guild representatives, and then entered into a database to be analyzed at a later date. In the database, jockeys will not be identified by name nor will the tracks where incidents occur.


“We constantly work with tracks and the industry to ensure the safety of jockeys,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “This program was first conceived at the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit and it has been in the works for several years. We are thrilled to see it come to fruition. Its goal is to find ways to reduce racing injuries and create a safer racing environment.”


The new data collection system has been created with the assistance of Keeneland, The Jockey Club and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Safety and Integrity Alliance.


Keeneland will be the first racetrack in the country to start collecting the data and will do so when the spring meet begins April 6.


“Once we are comfortable with the process, we will be sending information packets to each racetrack further explaining the goals and design of the project while encouraging their participation,” said Meyocks. 


As data is collected, it will be analyzed for trends. There is no cost to tracks to participate in this project, and those providing data will be recognized when the analysis is ultimately published in the medical literature.


“This prospective collection of information will allow us to better evaluate rider safety equipment, racetrack surface type, first-responder options, and a host of variables just as other professional sports do on behalf of their athletes both in the U.S. and abroad," said Dr. Barry Schumer, Keeneland Medical Director and co-creator of the program.


"Thoroughbred racing owes Dr. Schumer a tremendous debt of gratitude for his many hours of dedication to this project and the industry,” said Nick Nicholson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Keeneland.


The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance will advocate participation in the Jockey Injury Database when tracks seek accreditation in the alliance. “Anything we can learn from accidents that happen on the racetrack to help improve the safety for our human and equine athletes is a plus for the sport, said Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.  “We will encourage tracks applying for accreditation to participate in the database.”


The Jockey Club and The Jockey Club Technology Services, Inc. provided complimentary software development in the creation of the Jockey Injury Database as a service to the industry. Data collection and analysis will be performed by a research team from the University of Kentucky headed by Drs. Christian Lattermann and Carl Mattacola from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.


Jockeys’ Guild, Inc., the organization representing professional jockeys in Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing in the United States, was founded in May 1940 and has approximately 950 members, including active, retired and disabled jockeys. The purpose is to protect jockeys, strive to achieve a safer racing environment, obtain improved insurance and other benefits for members and to monitor developments in local, state and federal laws affecting the racing industry, and in particular, the jockeys.



Wednesday, April 04, 2012

#theothermadness, America’s best racing have feel of a winner

by Jennie Rees/Louisville Courier-Journal
Coinciding with March Madness, one of the campaign themes is The Other Madness, with edgy, high-energy videos putting the sport in historical context – racing was in America long before baseball or basketball – and also using humorous tie-ins to other sports, for instance,a spoof ad for Hoof Locker.

The message is the branding of the sport as America’s Best Racing, with a new website called, which has been up and running with teasers but whose official launch is today, Wednesday, April 4.

Social media – hashtag #theothermadness – promises to be a staple, with The Jockey Club also beefing up the resources of the publicity arm of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, including hiring a social media manager (@ABRlive). It even mentions something called Pinterest.

The Jockey Club did not go to some Madison Avenue or Atlanta firm, but rather to a company that truly understands the product it’s promoting – and which is certainly keenly aware of March Madness. The mastermind is Kip Cornett of the Lexington-based Cornett Integrated Marketing Solutions, whose clients include the University of Kentucky and Keeneland.

It’s the first industry strategic marketing effort since the days of “Go Baby Go”, which along with “Pay the Lady” actually was a good campaign as far as it sticking in people’s minds, no matter how annoying Lori Petty was. After all, you still hear people say those phrases at the track. Lamentably, the second generation of that campaign featured Rip Torn and not very funny commercials. If there was a third generation, nobody recalls it.

The intro video that lays out this new campaign calls horse racing “the original madness” with the narrator going on to say that “a new breed of stars takes center stage again” and “where the elite come to compete and the fans come to play. Now placed in a brighter light… This is America’s best racing. Learn it. Watch it. Play it. Love it.”

The campaign doesn’t simply rely on spectacular photos or close-up video of the majesty of horse racing. It seeks to reel in other sports fans.

A 30-second video effectively sums up racing, showing fans in other sports winning koozies and foam fingers. “And, if they’re lucky, t-shirts shot from an air cannon,” the script below reads. Cue up dollar bills tossed in the air and the voice saying, “horse racing fans win this. So winning doesn’t just feel better … it pays better.”


Kendall Hansen, breeder and majority owner of Hansen (shown in Juvenile winner's circle in this Yetta Feltner photo)) ...

Fans and tracks are encouraged to post their own videos, beckoned by the words “the races and events during March and April drive normally sane individuals to bizarre behavior. They lose their composure. They lose their focus. They lose their sanity as the Derby season unfolds.”

... and his Skychai partners Jim Shircliff and Harvey Diamond understand The Other Madness of spring

(Far better to show the jubilant post-victory celebrations – for instance, Hansen’s owner on hands and knees kissing the winner’s circle ground after the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – than to show the other form of madness in running hopelessly outmatched horses in Grade I races trying against all reason to get some unaccomplished and hapless horse to the Derby. But I digress.)

The videos also promote NBC Sports Group’s four-part series of Kentucky Derby prep races that also are sponsored in part by Keeneland. (And as part of it, Keeneland’s Blue Grass next week will air live on NBC.)

A key campaign cog is the ever-evolving website. There hasn’t been much on there now, but what is there is a great opportunity for some lucky fans. It’s the sign up for a chance to win a VIP trip for eight to the 2012 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, including airfare on a private jet, hotel rooms and a $5,000 betting voucher.(Here’s the link)

How refreshing is it that betting is an integral part of the campaign.

I have no idea what will be on, which will take over the fan and educational aspects now on But its lead-up promises it will be a strong mix of showing both the entertainment and gambling appeal of the sport.

This is not your father’s Jockey Club, though it might still look like it when viewing its leadership. And while I disagree with the powerful organization pushing to ban race-day bleeder medication – I don’t believe it is in horses’ or horse players’ best interest – kudos to The Jockey Club for spearheading an innovative, 21st century marketing campaign.



Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Talamo nearing 1,000th victory

From Daily Racing Form
Talamo, 22, had three winners at Santa Anita on Sunday, ending the day with 999 career wins. The Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s leading apprentice of 2007, Talamo has four chances to hit the four-figure milestone on Thursday. He rides Lady Fairbanks in the third race, Splendid Fortune in the fourth, Veloce Canzone in the sixth, and Let’s Go Cheyenne in the seventh.

Splendid Fortune may be his best chance. A 3-year-old filly by top sire Giant’s Causeway out of the seven-time stakes winner House of Fortune, Splendid Fortune was second in her debut under Talamo on March 10. She lost by a half-length in a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs that day and is part of a field of nine on Thursday.

Splendid Fortune is trained by Baffert. Talamo rode Baffert’s 2,000th career winner, Free Pourin, on Dec. 5, 2010 at Hollywood Park. “It would be nice to get the 1,000th on one of his,” Talamo said of Baffert.

“I’d like to get it as early as possible, to get it out of the way.”

Tuesday, Talamo took a day off to visit Palm Springs, Calif., a rare day off for a rider known for working horses nearly every day of the week.

“It’s good to get away to freshen up,” he said. “I didn’t have to work this morning.”

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


From Santa Anita Communications Department 
           Stevens will also be an honored guest at Santa Anita Wednesday morning, as he’ll be among a large group of racing luminaries on hand for the Santa Anita Derby Draw Breakfast in the track’s FrontRunner Restaurant, beginning at 9:30 a.m.  The Draw Breakfast will be emceed by top rated radio personality Tim Conway Jr.

            “This is really awesome,” said Stevens.  “I’m a big Dodger fan and I’m really honored by this.  I’m going to bring my wife (Angie) and my little girl (Maddie) and we’re going to take a lot of pictures.  It should be a great day!”

            Stevens who is currently working as a racing analyst with HRTV and NBC, won his first Santa Anita Derby in 1988 with the brilliant filly Winning Colors.  Owned by Eugene Klein and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Winning Colors went on to win the Kentucky Derby as well, the first of three Run for the Roses triumphs for the native of Caldwell, Idaho.  

            His other Santa Anita Derby wins came with Mister Frisky (1990), Personal Hope (1993), Brocco (1994), Larry The Legend (1995), Indian Charlie (1998), General Challenge (1999), Point Given (2001) and Buddy Gil (2003).

            Stevens won racing’s Eclipse Award as Champion Jockey in 1998 and in what he often refers to as his most cherished accomplishment, he was selected by jockeys nationwide as the winner of the 1996 Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.    

            In addition to Winning Colors in 1988, Stevens won the Kentucky Derby in 1995 with Thunder Gulch and in 1997 with Silver Charm.

            Along with his Kentucky Derby victories, he also had five other Triple Crowns wins, two in the Preakness and three in the Belmont.

            A winner of 4,888 career races, Stevens was a four-time winner of the Santa Anita Handicap and he amassed eight Breeders’ Cup wins as well.

            Stevens, 49, was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1997 and he retired on Nov. 27, 2005.



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