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Thursday, June 28, 2012

BOREL, LANERIE AMONG JOCKEYS SET FOR ANNUAL KOSAIR CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL VISIT ON FRIDAY, JUNE 29

 From Churchill Downs Communications Department

        The jockeys and Churchill Downs team members are scheduled to arrive in the lobby of Kosair Children’s Hospital at 231 East Chestnut on Friday at 10:30 a.m. (all times EDT). The jockeys and racetrack representatives will then greet young patients and their families on several floors of the hospital in an annual visit that has been a Churchill Downs Spring Meet tradition for many years.

 

        Borel, who trails only Hall of Famer Pat Day in all-time victories at the home of the Kentucky Derby; Lanerie, the runaway Spring Meet win leader who will claim his first Churchill Downs riding title during Sunday’s “Closing Night” activities; and former Churchill Downs riding champions Bridgmohan and Sellers are among the most prominent jockeys who will visit those young patients on Friday.  Other riding stars scheduled to visit Kosair Children’s Hospital patients include Leandro Goncalves, Jon Court, Brian Hernandez Jr., Gabriel Saez, Joe Johnson, Fabio Argeullo Jr., Marcelino Pedroza, Oriana Rossi and John McKee.

 

        Media coverage of the annual jockeys visit to Kosair Children’s Hospital is welcomed and encouraged.  Please enter the hospital through the main entrance at 231 East Chestnut Street and join the jockeys and other Churchill Downs dignitaries in the hospital lobby.  From there, the jockeys and others will split into teams and spread out over several hospital floors for an hour or more.     

 

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CASTELLANO, DOMINGUEZ, GUTIERREZ, VELAZQUEZ NOMINATED IN “BEST JOCKEY” CATEGORY FOR JULY 11 ESPYS

 From NTRA Press Release

Castellano currently leads all North American riders with over $10.2 million in purse earnings.   Dominguez has won each of the last two Eclipse Awards as North America’s top jockey. Gutierrez emerged from relative obscurity and made headlines earlier this year with his winning rides aboard I’ll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and the Preakness Stakes. Velazquez, a two-time Eclipse Award winner (2004 and 2005) guided Union Rags to victory in this year’s Belmont Stakes. Velazquez was the winner in the “Best Jockey” category at last year’s ESPYS following his winning 2011 Kentucky Derby ride on Animal Kingdom.

 

Final results will be determined by fan balloting now available at ESPN.com/ESPYS and facebook.com/espn.

 

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horse racing interests consisting of leading thoroughbred racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers, horseplayers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity of horse racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA web site, NTRA.com.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Apprentice jockey learns her trade the hard way

BY DAN O'NEILL • doneill@post-dispatch.com
 
They paired the fastest of these majestic breeds in races, and wagering on the outcome became a popular pastime for royals and aristocrats.

Today, the sport is in a less princely place.

Horse racing's image has taken hits in recent years. The high-profile breakdowns of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and 2008 Derby hopeful Eight Belles sparked animal-rights groups and invited investigative attention. Invariably, the stories have been uncomplimentary in tone, asymmetrical in reach. They have focused on maltreatment, drug abuse and regulatory dysfunctions.

But if horse racing has dark closets, it also has bright personalities, like 21-year-old Aymara Rivero, an apprentice jockey. Rivero grew up in Troy, Ill., officially. More accurately, she grew up at Fairmount Park. Her mother loves horses and worked as a groom at the Collinsville track for many years. Aymara inherited the gene.

She had her own horse by the age of 8, started jumping soon after. As a teenager, she worked summers at Fairmount and during the school year, she beat a hasty retreat to the back end of the track as soon as the bell rang at Triad High.

"People ask me if I played any sports in high school, or did this or that," Rivero said, smiling. "I always say, 'No, I was too busy doing stuff with horses.' "

As she grew older, Rivero began ponying horses and out-riding during races. Horsemen like Kenny Jansen mentored the precocious young girl, showing her tricks of the trade. Rivero began racing at carnivals and county fairs, anywhere to feel the wind in her face and the reins in her hands.

"It's kind of hard to explain," said Rivero, whose first win was aboard I'm A Rising Star, a 92-1 shot last year at Hoosier Park in Indiana. "It seems like it lasts for five seconds. But it never gets old. Every time is like the first time, every time is thrilling, especially when you win."

Last Tuesday, Rivero rode Reba Nell to victory in the fourth race at Fairmount. On Friday night, she had two more winners. She has finished third or better 56 times and ranks sixth among the 12 jockeys with 46 or more starts.

'ENOUGH TO GET BY'

If it was cars she was racing, Rivero might have Danica Patrick-like marketing appeal. She is personable and a vibrant 5 feet 1, 107 pounds. But she races horses at Fairmount, pursuing her passion in relative obscurity. There are stars in the sport, jockeys who make big money and command top horses. But the business is not glamorous or lucrative for the masses.

During a good meet (season), a jockey at Fairmount Park might make in excess of $30,000. Those who travel elsewhere and ride year-round might earn closer to $80,000. But there are travel expenses, agents' fees, equipment costs and taxes. Jockeys get $55 per mount at Fairmount, as much as $100 at more prestigious tracks. Then it becomes a commission-based business.

A winning horse gets 60 percent of the purse and a jockey 10 percent of the take. Those that place or show get smaller cuts, also shared with the jockey. Her ride aboard Reba Bell earned Rivero $850. Her agent got some 30 percent of that pie, her valet another five percent. The horses Rivero rides are worth more than the car she drives, a 2003 Mitsubishi, dented in the front, mangled in the back.

The son of a jockey, Lindell Wells has been riding for 31 years around the Midwest, and he's riding still. "Most of the time, for most of us, you make enough to get by and that's about it," he said.

UNDERRATED ATHLETES

A good caddy in golf has a feel for his player, knowledge about the course, experience in the game. But ultimately, the caddy is only as good as the player hitting the shot. Jockeys have a similar relationship with their horses.

"The big thing about a good rider is not so much that they help the horse but they don't get the horse in trouble," said trainer John Wainwright, who has been handling horses since the mid-1960s. "You can't pick that horse up and make him run any faster than he can run. But you can get him to where he can't be stopped.

"They used to say, 'A good horse is dangerous in anyone's hand.' And there's some truth to that."

Like everything in this complex sport, however, there's more to it than chance. Good jockeys have an abstract alliance with racehorses, organic and undefined. Jockeys might be the most underrated athletes in the world. These are Lilliputians aboard 1,200-pound quivering slabs of muscle, traveling 35-40 miles per hour on lumpy, dirt roads. They make the trip while balancing on their toes in steel stirrups, scrunched like a jack-in-the-box. The ride can be as short as a minute or longer than two minutes.

"The longer you go the harder it is to stay down," trainer Jim Childers said. "And depending on what lane you're in, when they go to the rail, it can be like World War II. It's a battle out there. That's what you're out there for. They've got to be dead fit, no question."

The human-growth hormone is not a problem in horse racing, just the opposite. The optimal body weight for jockeys is 108 to 118 pounds. Their nutritional behavior is predicated on maintaining or shredding weight to avoid being disqualified. Some jockeys are willing to practice diuretic and purgative extremes to stay viable.

A HIGH-RISK RIDE

Anyone who races horses knows he's going to get hurt at some point, it's just a matter of time and severity. No one represents the risk-reward extremes more than Ron Turcotte. In 1973, he rode Secretariat to the first Triple Crown win in 25 years, setting records at each track. He became the first jockey to win five of six consecutive Triple Crown races.

In 1978, he was thrown from a horse at Belmont Park and suffered injuries that have left him a paraplegic. No creatures on earth are more resplendent than a thoroughbred, and few are more capricious. Rivero once had a horse fall back on her, but she was not seriously hurt. She is not spiritual by nature, but she is becoming so.

"I've seen so many accidents that have happened right next to me during a race and I think, 'Wow! I can't believe they're OK.' And there's been times when I've thought, 'Wow! I can't believe I'm OK,' " she said. "It's made me believe in a higher power more than I did when I first started riding."

Wells, 48, carries the residue of 10,000 races folded into his leathery features. He estimates he has made "25 to 30" trips to a hospital. But he never fears another; he can't afford to.

"If you fear it," Wells added, "you'll get hurt and you'll be hurt bad. You just have to put that out of the back of your mind. You can't fear it, or you won't do it."

BREAKING BARRIERS

Rivero is the sole female jockey at Fairmount; some tracks have more. Diane Crump broke the industry gender barrier in 1969, but Julie Krone is the Babe Ruth of the genre.

Krone won the 1991 Belmont Stakes aboard Colonial Affair, the only woman to win a Triple Crown race, and she became the first female to win a Breeder's Cup race in 2003. This year, Rosie Napravnik had mounts in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont, the sixth female to ride in Triple Crown races, the first since 1996.

The sport remains cliquish and dominated by males, competitively difficult for any young jockey to crack, especially tough for young women. They must try harder to get mounts, endure brutish behavior, prove themselves more than their counterparts.

Rivero won't be deterred. She arrives at Fairmount at 6:30 each morning, exercising horses, visiting with owners and trainers, building relationships. She knows the game and she earns respect.

"I don't feel any different, but there's been times when I've been treated differently because I'm a girl," she said. "Some jockeys treat you as an equal, but some of them really don't like getting beat by a girl.

"And there's some trainers still who won't use a girl to ride. There's been plenty of times I haven't gotten mounts because I'm a girl. They think I'm not strong enough to hold the horse. They don't get it. But that's just the mind-set they have."

A FUTURE IN PERIL?

Fairmount Park, which opened in 1925, currently houses some 875 horses. But like many tracks in the country, it is floundering. A measure to allow slot machines at Illinois tracks could change the landscape and awaits the governor's approval. Without it, the picture is dire.

But facilities like Fairmount are vital satellites in this historical universe. The second-tier tracks allow unpretentious horsemen to practice their craft, aspiring jockeys to indulge their affection, spirited horses a place to run. Whether it's Fairmount, or farther down the road, Wells has no doubt Rivero can succeed.

"The No 1 thing a jockey needs to do is be willing to listen and learn," Wells said. "She has a knack for it. That's why when she first started riding, I was willing to help her. She has a good personality; people like her."

People, that is, who love the science, love the horses, love to watch them run.

Monday, June 25, 2012

DeCarlo Notches 1000th Career Win

From Paulick Report
http://www.paulickreport.com/news/people/decarlo-notches-1-000th-career-win/
DeCarlo booted home Oconee Gold ($5.00) in the eighth race for trainer Ramon Moya and accepted congratulations in a winner’s circle celebration afterward. He scored his 999th victory just one race earlier on Dontwait Toolong ($18.20) for trainer Jane Cibelli.

“It’s exciting,” said DeCarlo, 44, who began riding at 16 and has been a member of the jockey colony at tracks all over the East Coast and around the world. “I just want to continue to win races and I know that if I do that, I’ll keep being successful and keep getting to do what I love.”

DeCarlo won the 1986 Haskell Invitational on Wise Times when he was only 17 and led all riders in stakes wins at Monmouth in 2005. The following year he piloted Park Avenue Ball to three stakes wins, including Monmouth’s Iselin. Recently, he spent the 2010-2011 winter in Saudi Arabia riding first call for King Aziz.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Birzer wins 1000th Prairie Meadows race.

From Paulick Report
http://www.paulickreport.com/news/people/birzer-wins-1-000th-prairie-meadow-race/
Birzer, who first rode at Prairie Meadows in 1996, ranks second on the track’s career wins list behind Glenn Corbett’s 1,286 total. “It’s special,” Birzer said of the milestone. “It’s tough to have that much success at one track over the years. It’s been a lot of hard work.  I have a good agent and a lot of good people behind me.”

Birzer was the leading rider of Prairie Meadows’ mixed meet from 2006-08 and co-leading rider in the 2010 thoroughbred meet. He is on his way to another title, winning 24 percent of his starts. He finished with two wins Sunday to give him 65 for the meet, 18 more than runner-up David Mello
 
Birzer set a record for consecutive wins at Prairie Meadows by winning the first five races on Sept. 2, 2007. He won his 1,000th and 2,000th career races at Prairie Meadows and was the third-leading rider at Oaklawn Park in 2011 and 2012. Overall, he has won 2,3635 thoroughbred races in his career and has won 15.6 percent of his starts at Prairie Meadows.

His 1,000 wins consisted of 975 in thoroughbred races and 25 in quarter horse dashes.

Lazeka was 6-1 in the seven-horse field. Birzer had to wait behind a wall of horses on the far turn, but when an opening developed outside between horses, he sent the filly through and she pulled away to win by 2½ lengths.

“She ran a real nice race,” Birzer said. “I just had to sit and wait. We were boxed in around the turn, and once we got out, she just went right to business.”
Friday, June 22, 2012

Delaware jockeys support nutrition education program

From Delaware Park Thoroughbred Racing Commission Press Release
The Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Fund presented $1,000 to the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension on June 20 to continue an initiative begun in 2009 to improve jockey nutrition.

With jockeys facing strict weight limits to participate in races and not impede their horses, many riders can develop eating disorders or practice other unhealthy behaviors to get their weight down before races. Such practices can hinder their riding abilities and safety on the horse, said John F. Wayne, executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.

“This program helps educate jockeys about the risks to their health and the health of their horses,” Wayne said. “Healthy riders are safer riders, and we all want races to be safe.”

The donation made Wednesday will provide new jockeys with information to make healthy choices in their daily diets. The nutrition education effort was launched in 2009 with a study by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and a collaboration with the Delaware Jockey Health and Welfare Benefit Board and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. An advisory committee of current and former jockeys was appointed to help meet riders’ needs.

"I am not aware of any other nutrition education program in the U.S. for jockeys,” said Dr. Sue Snider, a professor and food safety and nutrition specialist with the University of Delaware. “During the program offered by UD Cooperative Extension, jockeys are encouraged to eat small amounts of food throughout the day, especially in the morning. Based on our original survey, the average jockey consumes around 1,000 calories a day. The program focuses on getting the most nutrients for the fewest calories."

Dr. Michelle Rodgers, associate dean and director of UD Cooperative Extension, said: "Helping individuals apply nutrition concepts to meet their diet and health needs has been a long standing component of Extension programming. However, this is a new audience with some specific needs for us to work with."

The Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Benefit Board oversees management of a $350,000 fund each year, offsetting health and welfare costs for participating riders. Half of the money comes from track video lottery funds and half from the Horsemen’s Purse Account. Delaware Park also has a $1 million on-track injury policy in force, covering riders injured during racing, and has the option to accept an additional $1 million on-track policy for $4 per mount, with the other portion of the premium covered by the Jockeys Health and Welfare Fund.

Friday, June 22, 2012

ROSARIO HOPES MOVE TO OPPOSITE COAST TAKES CAREER TO NEXT LEVEL

From Hollywood Park Communications Department
 
The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic will bring an impressive resume with him.  He rode his first winner in Fresno January 5th, 2006, quickly worked his way to the Bay Area and within a year landed in Southern California.  At the age of 27, Rosario already has 1,354 victories.  He’s been leading rider 11 times and has been at the top of the standings six of the last seven Betfair Hollywood Park meetings.  He’ll depart sixth in the 2012 national earning standings.
 
John Sadler, a perennial top-10 trainer on this circuit, was among the first to recognize Rosario’s talents.
 
“I first spotted him up north,” recalled Sadler.  “I was running a horse up there and wanted Russell Baze, but couldn’t get him.  I put Rosario up and he finished second.  I thought he looked good, so when he came down here, I gave him a chance.  I put him on his first winner and I’ll tell you what; he rode the hair off that horse.”
 
Rosario also has fond memories of Sadler.  “There were a lot of trainers who put me on good horses, said the soft-spoken rider, “but John gave me the first opportunity to make people notice me.  He always gave me first call to ride for him.”
 
Rosario has amassed 79 graded stakes wins, but remembers his first vividly.  “When I came here, my first big win was for Sadler on a horse named Zappa (in the Grade II, $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap January 12, 2008). After that, I started to get better horses.
 
“My agent (Ronnie Ebanks) and I talked about making this move (to New York) a year ago, but the time wasn’t right.  When he brought it up this time, I said, ‘Let’s do it.’   It’s a hard decision to leave because a lot of owners want me to stay and ride their horses, but we feel it’s time to try something different   If it doesn’t work out, we can always come back.”
 
Asked about adjustments he might have to make riding at Belmont Park, Rosario said, “I’ll probably have to wait a little longer because the track is so big, but it still comes down to the horses you ride.  Going to New York gives me an opportunity to get on good horses in big races.”
 
Sadler opined Rosario would be back in California for the bigger purses next winter, but didn’t question his ability to make it in New York.  “He’s improved steadily and I don’t think we’ve seen his best yet,’’ he said. “He’s young and has room to grow as a rider.  He’s a good size for a jockey and his weight is natural.”

 

 Rosario looks forward to riding at Saratoga, and with good reason.  On his only day at the Spa in 2010, he guided Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Blind Luck to victory over odds-on favorite Devil May Care and 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace in the Grade I Alabama Stakes.

 
Ebanks spent 15 years representing riders in the East and Midwest. One of his clients was nationally prominent jockey Shane Sellers.  The agent has a long list of contacts, including Todd Pletcher, Richard Dutrow and Wesley Ward, who have expressed interest in the rider. Rosario will get further business from Michael Matz and also will have several opportunities for Bob Baffert, who is sending a string to Saratoga.
 
“I know everyone on the East coast and I know my rider,” said Ebanks.  “I want everyone back there to see how good he is.”

 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

MEDICAL UPDATE ON JOHN VELAZQUEZ

“After conferring with two different doctors in New York, we’ve learned that Johnny will not have to undergo surgery on his broken collarbone. Physicians say his collarbone should heal in 4-6 weeks.”

 

“He will go back to the doctor in two weeks for X-rays so doctors can check the progress of his healing. Assuming satisfactory progress, Johnny will begin physical therapy at that time.”

 

“Again, we greatly appreciate the many people who have offered well wishes. Johnny will take it easy to let his injuries heal, and he’s anxious to get back to the track as soon as possible.”

 

 

 

CONTACT: Jockeys’ Guild (859) 523-JOCK (523-5625)

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 www.jockeysguild.com and www.facebook.com/jockeysguild.

 

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Frankie Lovato Jockey Camp July 27-29

Jockey Camp is a 3 day training course that offers an insightful introduction into horse racing for those who wish to pursue a career in horse racing as jockeys, exercise riders, trainers and many other positions within the industry. Our mission is to improve, promote and provide education, health and safety into horse racing.

 

We are doing a sponsorship drive for students hoping to attend this years Jockey Camp. We have put some very affordable packages that these funds help differ some of the expenses students incur with travel etc. Incase you wanted to learn more, here is a link that explains the sponsorship packages: http://jockeyworld.net/sponsor-jc.htm We have our main Jockey Camp web page if you would like to see more details for this event. http://jockeycamp.com

 

Thank you for your consideration!

 

Sincerely,

Frankie

Thursday, June 21, 2012

TIMMY THORNTON TICKS OFF FOUR WINS WEDNESDAY AT ARLINGTON

From Arlington Park Communications Department    
 

        “It’s been awhile since I won four races in one day,” said Thornton immediately after Wednesday’s finale became official.  “In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I did it.

 

        “Actually, things started off a little slow for me when the season started,” he said.  “I had a lot of seconds and thirds but didn’t seem to win a lot.  That’s just the way it goes.  I haven’t changed my riding style at all.  I’m not during anything different.  It just seems that like things are starting to fall into place for me lately.”

 

        One month into the meeting, Thornton had only won six races, but during the last two weeks the 25-year-old native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, has more than doubled that total.  In fact, Wednesday’s quartet of wins leapfrogged him from eighth to sixth in the jockey standings with 15 victories, just two wins behind the two riders who were tied for fourth at the conclusion of Wednesday’s races.

 

        “Maybe, it’s the ‘helmetcam’ that’s bringing me luck,” Thornton said with a laugh.  “Everybody seems to like what it shows, and wearing it doesn’t bother me at all.”

 

        For about the last two weeks, Thornton has been riding his mounts with a tiny television camera attached to his helmet.  That view from a jockey’s perspective is then shown to the public as part of a video series updated weekly called “Behind The Silks with Tim Thornton.”  The series is the brainchild of Arlington’s paddock television analyst Jessica Pacheco, producer of the show that can be accessed through the Arlington website.

 

        Thornton’s four-win Wednesday began astride Vanessa Nye’s Spanish Comedy, trained by Jim McMullen, in the fourth race of the day.  He returned to the winner’s circle after the seventh aboard Ronnie Lamarque’s Quietdetermination for conditioner Louie Roussel and made it two straight after the eighth on Richard Ravin’s Fightin Mean Mad for trainer Larry Rivelli.

 

Thornton scored his third straight win and concluded his four-bagger while riding Soaring Pegasus, owned and trained by Mike Reavis, in the last race of the day.  However, he had to survive a claim of foul by the rider of the second-place finisher for interference in the stretch run before the race was made official.

 

“That jock tried to hold me in behind the speed horse all the way down the backstretch,” Thornton said.  “I wasn’t going to let him get away with that.  He leaned on me back there so I came out into him a little bit down the lane.  That’s just race riding.”

 

 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

FOXWOODS PONY UP FOR PDJF POKER TOURNAMENT ON JULY 10

From NYRA Communications Department

The tournament will begin at 4 p.m., with a jockey meet and greet scheduled for 3 p.m. in the Foxwoods Race Book, adjoining the poker tournament area.

 

John Velazquez, who will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame on August 10, and Rajiv Maragh, who won last summer’s prestigious Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Race Course aboard Tizway, are scheduled to serve as co-hosts of the tournament. Richard Migliore and Sam the Bugler will also be among those participating.

 

Entry to the tournament costs $120, with $80 going to the prize pool and $40 going to the entry fee. All entry fees, rebuys, and add-ons will be donated directly to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

 

Those interested in playing can pre-register online at www.pokertickets.com/foxwoods.

 

The 40-day Saratoga meet commences for the 144th time on Friday, July 20, with a card featuring the Grade 3 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies and the Grade 3 James Marvin for sprinters. There will be live racing six days a week, Wednesday through Monday. The 143rd running of the $1 million Travers is set for Saturday, August 25 with an undercard including the Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop, the Grade 1 Test, and the Grade 2 Ballston Spa. The Saratoga meet concludes on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, featuring the Grade 2 Three Chimneys Hopeful for 2-year-old colts.
 

About PDJF

 

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

 

About Foxwoods ® Resort Casino

 

Foxwoods Resort Casino is one of the premier entertainment destinations in the Northeast.  As the largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods offers a vast array of gaming in six casinos; AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants from gourmet to express, world-renowned spas, awarding-winning golf, state-of-the-art theaters, and exclusive retailers. Perfect for both recreation and business, Foxwoods provides modern and versatile convention and meeting space to infuse new life into any meeting or event.  At Foxwoods, you can be anyone and do everything with endless possibilities of experiences that are Anything but Ordinary.  Foxwoods Resort Casino is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. For a comprehensive look at Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation visit Foxwoods.com.

 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jose Lezcano Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Lezcano won with four of 18 starters during the period for earnings of $420,356.

The Stephen Foster was Lezcano’s tenth stakes victory and fourth graded stakes win this year. He previously won the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) with Ron the Greek, the Westchester Stakes (G3) with To Honor and Serve, and the Suwannee River Stakes (G3) with Snow Top Mountain.

In Ron the Greek, Lezcano has a leading midseason contender for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The 27-year-old Panamanian is no stranger to success on racing’s grandest stage. He piloted Royal Delta to victory in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1) and also captured the inaugural running of the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with Maram in 2008.

Lezcano began riding in the U.S. in 2003 and won his first riding title at Tampa Bay Downs in 2005-2006. He went on to win the Meadowlands’ riding title in 2006 and swept the riding titles at Monmouth Park and Meadowlands in 2008. In 2009, he moved his tack to the New York circuit, where he rides the majority of the year while wintering at Gulfstream Park.

Lezcano cracked the top ten jockeys by annual purse earnings in 2010 when he ranked tenth with more than $9.2- million. He ranked ninth last year with earnings in excess of $10.7-million and currently sits 11th year-to-date with earnings of more than $4.5-million.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Guidry reached winner's circle in life

Lenny Vangilder/SportsNOLA.com
But Guidry's biggest impact on his home state of Louisiana may have had to do with a different kind of horsepower – like that of an 18-wheeler.

When Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in August 2005, Guidry was riding at Arlington Park outside Chicago and watched the devastation from afar.

“We've got to do something and do it now,” Guidry said that week. Thank goodness, my family is safe, but that could have very easily been me and my loved ones suffering.”

So Guidry, in conjunction with Arlington, started a relief fund. In a little more than two weeks, they had collected more than $50,000 in addition to clothing and non-perishable goods. Guidry himself made a sizable donation to the fund and also donated a portion of earnings from stakes races.

“You see that in other parts in the world, but in your own back yard?” Guidry recalled recently. “I went to the other Louisiana riders and Mr. (Richard) Duchossois (Arlington Park chairman). He set up everything for us. He told us whatever we wanted to do, we could do. We had a real good response.”

Three weeks to the day after Katrina washed ashore, Guidry headed south from Chicago to Lafayette with a truckload full of supplies for those displaced by the storm. He didn't quite get to finish the job himself – the impending landfall of Hurricane Rita sent Guidry fleeing to Baton Rouge to catch a flight back to Chicago – but his good deeds had been done.

“I only wish I'd been able to stay and document things a little more completely,” Guidry said in 2006, “but I do have a lot of thank you letters for all those people in Chicago who contributed so much. Some of those letters brought tears to my eyes, and still do when I reread them. They pull your heart out.”

Thanks in large parts to his post-Katrina charitable efforts, Guidry won the George Woolf Award in 2006, which is presented annually by Santa Anita Park to a jockey who demonstrates high standards of personal and professional conduct on and off the track.

“The Woolf Award, it was voted by my peers,” Guidry said. “I made a little impact in their life as well. It was unbelievable; it still is today.”

Six years after receiving the award that he thought would be the pinnacle of his career, Guidry is set to be honored again as part of the 2012 Induction Class for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame on June 23 in Natchitoches.

“A Hall of Fame award, that doesn't come to mind when you're young,” said Guidry. “To get an award like that, in your home state, that's very overwhelming.”

Guidry, 52, followed the lead of other Cajun jockeys by riding at bush tracks at age 9. The Lafayette native began his professional riding career in 1974, winning his first career race at Delta Downs in Vinton. He would remain on the Louisiana circuit until 1986, when he moved his tack to Chicago.

Guidry won 18 riding titles in Illinois, earning him the moniker “King of Chicago.”

Two of the high points of his riding career came on the first Friday in May, one year apart.

On May 5, 2006, Guidry booted home 47-1 longshot Lemons Forever in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. To this day, it is the biggest upset ever in the biggest race of the year for 3-year-old fillies.

“Mark was doing really well at the time,” said Dallas Stewart, the trainer of Lemons Forever. “I felt fortunate to get him (to ride). We thought we had a shot. She drew bad; she was No. 14. He let her drop back to last and he made that big strong run on her.”

Said Guidry: “I just went ahead and tucked her in (along the rail), and about the half-mile pole I inched her into the bit. She just exploded and came running. I was very grateful for the opportunity.”

On the Kentucky Oaks undercard one year later, Guidry became the 21st jockey in the United States to reach 5,000 career wins.

Getting to that milestone required a flexible riding style.

“A lot of the Cajun riders are good on speed horses,” said Stewart, “but Mark's good on all horses. He could really finish hard on a horse.”

Guidry said he learned that ability from watching another Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame jockey, Eddie Delahoussaye.

“Eddie, I always loved his riding style,” said Guidry, who will join Delahoussaye, Eric Guerin, J.D. Mooney, Craig Perret and Randy Romero as jockeys enshrined in Natchitoches. “He was a big influence on me growing up and watching him ride. He always had horse on the end.”

Six months after hitting the milestone, Guidry retired with 5,043 career wins. He went to school to become a steward, then tried his hand at training for three years. In May 2011, he went to work as an assistant to Kentucky-based trainer Dale Romans, who also had him working horses in the morning.

“I got around all my friends in Kentucky, and it was like all the juices started flowing again,” Guidry said. “The weight came off and I started feeling better and better. I felt real good and competitive. I wanted to be in the jocks' room.”

Sure enough, seven weeks later, he was back riding, accepting four mounts on a July afternoon at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. After spending the rest of the summer and fall in Kentucky, Guidry rode this winter at Tampa Bay Downs but now has returned to ride in Louisiana, bringing his career full circle.

“My first grandchild is 9 months old,” Guidry said. “I told my wife, ‘I'm coming home.' Hopefully the good Lord keeps me safe.”
Monday, June 18, 2012

JOCKEYS SMITH, SUTHERLAND, JENSEN SADDLE UP FOR NIGHT SCHOOL THIS WEEK

From NTRA press release
The 90-minute interactive lessons begin weekly at 8:30 p.m. ET, and this week’s focus is the topic of "Jockeys." Racing fans will have a chance to ask their questions directly to Smith, Sutherland and Jensen during the first hour of the lesson, which will be co-hosted by Horse Player NOW's Joe Kristufek and Caton Bredar.

 

Also appearing via video in Night School this week will be jockeys John Velazquez, Julien Leparoux and Joe Bravo. The video vignettes also will take you inside the Laurel Park jockeys' room with Maryland's leading riders Sheldon Russell and Malcolm Franklin.

 

Smith’s and Sutherland's former off-the-track relationship was widely featured on the Animal Planet television series "Jockeys," and Night School brings the two back together for a reunion of sorts with the fans. Smith is best known for piloting legendary race mare Zenyatta, as well as upsetting the 2005 Kentucky Derby aboard 50-1 longshot Giacomo. Sutherland is a Sovereign Award-winning jockey in her native Canada, and her off-the-track modeling and acting careers have taken off since moving to Southern California to ride. Jensen is a two-time winner of the All American Futurity, American Quarter Horse Racing's richest race, having captured the Ruidoso Downs classic in 2005 and 2006.


Another "After Night School Special," featuring live racing from Mountaineer Park, will follow Tuesday from 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET, covering the late daily double in real time with free, live-streaming video and complimentary Daily Racing Form past performances.


Presenting title sponsors for Night School are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, American Quarter Horse Association, Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Inc. and Daily Racing Form. Tuesday's session will be the 19th of 40 Night School lesson plans throughout the 2012 season, which continues through November.


This week's study materials, courtesy of Horse Player NOW and Daily Racing Form:

http://www.horseplayernow.com/mats.pdf


This week's preview video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew9oN3Zfm-Q&list=UUA7ZtzZQ_V1HR0kOY9F9RYQ&index=2&feature=plcp

 

Racetrack Websites Offering Night School

Arlingtonpark.com

Calderracecourse.com

Canterburypark.com

Churchilldowns.com

DMTC.com (Del Mar)
Emeralddowns.com
Fairgroundsracecourse.com

Gulfstreampark.com

Hastingsracecourse.com

Hawthorneracecourse.com

Hollywoodpark.com
Keeneland.com

Laurelpark.com

Losalamitos.com

Lonestarpark.com

Monmouthpark.com

Mtrracetrack.com (Mountaineer Park)

NYRA.com (Aqueduct, Belmont, Saratoga)

Oaklawn.com

Pimlico.com

Presqueisledowns.com
Remingtonpark.com

Santaanita.com

Suffolkdowns.com

Sunland-Park.com
Turfway.com
Woodbineentertainment.com

 

Industry Websites Offering Night School

HorseplayerNOW.com

NTRA.com
AQHARacing.com
DRF.com

Calracing.com
ag.arizona.edu/rtip (University of Arizona)

HRTV.com

HPBA.com

Xpressbet.com

Delmarscene.com

Friday, June 15, 2012

“Jockey for a Cause” Charity Event Scheduled

A star-studded party has been scheduled to raise funds for two charities that help disabled jockeys and others involved in horse racing.

 

The inaugural “Jockey for a Cause” Charity Event will take place July 18, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. (PDT) at the DeHaven Estate in Rancho Santa Fe, following opening day races at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, California.

 

The party will be hosted by California horse owner Jeff DeHaven, who promises one of the best West Coast parties of the year. “Jockeys, trainers, celebrities, professional athletes from all sports and thoroughbred racing’s elite will be in attendance to support the event,” he said.

 

“There are some 2000 jockeys in the United States, and they have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world,” added DeHaven. “Many of them have to work without adequate health insurance, life insurance or retirement fund, which puts a severe hardship on them and their families. I want this event to help make their lives easier.”

 

Proceeds from the event will provide funding for two charities – The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, which assists riders and others in the industry facing a financial crisis.

 

“Permanently disabled jockeys depend on the PDJF for financial assistance,” said Nancy LaSala, Executive Director of the PDJF. “The PDJF was established to provide long term assistance to jockeys who have suffered on-track catastrophic injuries. Since its inception in 2006, it has been, and continues to be, challenged to meet its financial goals to meet the day-to-day needs of these men and women. We have great hopes that ‘Jockey for a Cause’ will help provide security for our injured riders and are very appreciative to Jeff for his commitment to these athletes.” 


“The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation helps not only jockeys, but many others in the industry in their time of need,” added Executive Director Nancy Kelly. “Trainers, grooms, exercise riders, hot walkers, farm workers and front office personnel turn to us, and we want to be there to help. ‘Jockey for a Cause’ will help us help those valuable members of the industry.”

 

Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, says the Guild will be strong supporters of the event. “These are two very worthy charities, both committed to take care of jockeys in their time of need. I appreciate the fact that Jeff has stepped up to the plate to bring awareness to the plight of riders, and we at the Guild will do whatever we can to help make this a success.”

 

“These men and women in the horse industry provide us all great entertainment, and they do it at great risk and sacrifice,” said DeHaven.” This is a way we can pay them back for their great work and enjoy a great party – all at the same time.”

 

Tickets for “Jockey for a Cause” are available at www.pdjf.org. Further event and sponsorship information may be found at www.pdjf.org or www.tjcfoundation.org. Questions about sponsorships may be directed to Jeff DeHaven, 805-469-6800 or jdpremae@gmail.com 

Friday, June 15, 2012

GIANT KILLER PEDROZA AS RESILIENT AS THEY COME

From Betfair Hollywood Park Press Box
 
 Of course, that analogy doesn’t apply to Fairplex Park, where the 14-time leading rider is more like Marlon Brando.

Pedroza is enjoying a productive spring/summer meeting at Betfair Hollywood Park.  Through 29 days of the 50-day session, the native of Panama City, Panama is tied for fourth in the standings with 16 victories, four of them stakes wins.  His performance is even more impressive when you consider Pedroza is still recovering from broken ribs suffered in a spill at Santa Anita April 14th.

After the accident, his doctors said a quick return was doubtful, but Pedroza had his sights set on Gold Rush Day, April 28th at Betfair Hollywood Park to ride Willa B. Awesome in the $300,000 Melair Stakes.  Pedroza did make it back for the Melair, but the rider was heavily bandaged around his torso to protect his ribs.  He rode one race before the Melair, and it was a good thing he did.

“The first one I rode back, I had the bandage too tight and I couldn’t breath. Thank goodness I found out (about it being too tight), before I rode the other one (Melair),” said Pedroza.

Willa B. Awesome prevailed by a head over Starry Skies, but the fireworks were just beginning for Pedroza, who became a “giant killer” in three subsequent stakes victories.

On May 19th, Pedroza gave Via Villaggio a rail-skimming ride for a 10-1 upset over odds-on favorite Sister Moon.  Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer gave kudos to the reinsman by calling him “the most underrated rider on either coast.”

One week later, Pedroza booted home lightly-regarded Wilkinson to a $90.60 shocker over 3-5 choice Mr. Commons in the Grade II American Handicap for Jeff Mullins.  The jockey was gracious in victory, giving all the credit to Mullins. 

“He (Mullins) told me to send him leaving there and sit behind the first flight. I just fell right into a perfect trip. If I had done what I wanted to do, sit and make one run, I probably wouldn’t have won. Believe me, my plan was different.”

Then came the Grade III Affirmed Stakes June 3rd, when Pedroza gave 15-1 Nonios the perfect ride to defeat Grade I winner Liaison and highly regarded Holy Candy.  It was his second stakes win of the meet for Hollendorfer, who once again credited the rider. “We got lucky and got a seam and ran through it,’’ said the trainer. “Martin rode through there very well.”

One of the main reasons Pedroza has been a frequent top-10 rider is his longtime agent, Richie Silverstein.  Silverstein and Pedroza have had an on-and-off relationship for many years.  It began in 1983, two years after Silverstein had represented Martin’s brother, Marcelino, when he was an apprentice.

 

 “At the time, Martin also had the bug, but couldn’t make it around here so he went to the Fairs,” recalled Silverstein.  “We got together in 1983 and it lasted until 1987, when Martin left to ride in Chicago.  He came back in 1990 and we were together again until 1998, when business dried up.  I had him again in part of 1999, but when we hooked up in 2000, the game plan was for it to be permanent.  We’re in a comfortable situation now.  When I go back to the barns, the trainers don’t have to ask me who I have.”

Martin is not the only Pedroza riding these days.  His 20-year-old son, Brian, is already a journeyman at Delaware Park.  “Brian probably will ride another five years or so at Delaware.  Eventually he may come out here and ride with his father.” Silverstein added.

 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

John Velazquez Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Velazquez’s weekly mount earnings of $1,045,744 exceeded Ramon Dominguez’s total by $62,136.

In addition to his Belmont win, Velazquez captured the Monmouth Stakes (G2) with Data Link on June 10 at Monmouth Park and the Jaipur Stakes (G3) with Upgrade on June 8 at Belmont, giving him 19 graded stakes victories this year, tied with Javier Castellano for the North American lead.

The Belmont represented Velazquez’s third Grade 1 victory in 2012 following earlier wins aboard Hymm Book in the Donn Handicap (G1) and Shackleford in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1). The win also marked his third career victory in a Triple Crown race having previously won the 2007 Belmont with Rags to Riches and the 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) with Animal Kingdom.

The 40-year-old native of Carolina, Puerto Rico, rides the majority of the year in New York, where he has won 26 riding titles since relocating there in 1990.

Velazquez, who serves as chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild board of directors, is the leading active North American rider by career purse earnings with $267,281,226 through June 12.

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Open Letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo

By Ray Paulick http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/an-open-letter-to-gov-andrew-cuomo/print
While everyone was disappointed with the news on Friday that Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another would be unable to run because of the early onset of an injury to a tendon in his left front leg, there is an old show-biz expression that “the show must go on.”

It did, and what a show it was!

 Had you been at Belmont Park, you might have noticed an upbeat, well-behaved and youthful crowd of 85,811 who – with or without a Triple Crown on the line – came to celebrate one of the great sporting traditions in New York state. They handicapped, wagered and cheered with enthusiasm throughout the 13-race card. Nearly every seat at Belmont Park was full on Saturday, an exception being the one in the Trustees Room reserved for you. Fans packed the track apron, the backyard, and the area around the saddling area and walking ring to get a glimpse of these magnificent Thoroughbreds.

 On this wonderful afternoon, the most magnificent of them all was the Belmont winner, a colt named Union Rags, who made his name in New York last summer, winning the Saratoga Special not far from your upstate home in Albany and then romping in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park during the fall meeting.

 Governor, I know family is important to you, so you might want to know that the father of Union Rags, Dixie Union, raced in New York. So did his grandfather, Dixieland Band, and his great-grandfather, Northern Dancer, who came to the Belmont in 1964 with a chance to sweep the Triple Crown. The mother of Union Rags, a filly named Tempo, raced in New York, too, as did his grandmother, Terpsichorist. His maternal grandfather was a horse named Gone West, who won some big races in New York. Gone West was trained by a fellow from Kentucky named Woodford Cefis Stephens. The Kentuckian made good in the big city, winning the Belmont Stakes five consecutive years in the 1980s. In fact, the lyrics from “New York, New York,” sung by the guy from Hoboken, N.J. (“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere…”), I think they were inspired by old Woody Stephens.

 The thing is, New York racing was, and still is, a very big deal. Not just to the politicians up in Albany, and not just to the people who enjoy watching and wagering on the sport, or the tens of thousands of New Yorkers whose livelihoods depend on it. But people in Kentucky, where the horse is king, also are dependent upon a healthy New York Thoroughbred industry.

 By not being able to attend the Belmont, you missed an opportunity to meet some amazing people.

 Let’s start with Michael Matz, the trainer of Union Rags. He is what some people might call a true American hero. You may have heard of the story of the United Airlines flight that crashed into an Iowa cornfield in July 1989, claiming 111 lives. Matz and his fiancée (now wife D.D.) survived the disaster, but instead of fleeing to save his own life as the plane burned, he led four children to safety. Seven years later, as a United States Olympic equestrian, he was given the honor of carrying the flag during the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.

 Then there is jockey John Velazquez, who is living what immigrant families for many generations have referred to as the “American Dream.” You surely know about that, since grandparents on both your mother and father's side of the family emigrated to America from Italy, and through hard work the Cuomo and Raffa families have done quite well.

 Velazquez, born in Puerto Rico, came to the United States, worked hard, and has risen to the top of his profession, the recognition coming in just a couple of months when he will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Johnny V. has a beautiful family, and he is not only successful in his given profession, but gives back to it. He is the chairman of the Jockeys’ Guild – the organization that represents the men and women who participate in this most dangerous occupation – and is a tireless advocate and board member of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the organization that offers assistance to riders who have suffered serious racing accidents.

 Phyllis Wyeth, the breeder and owner of the Belmont Stakes winner, is what I would call an “American original.” She has done some amazing work in her life: among other things, founding the Herring Gut Learning Center in Maine, a school dedicated to educating students – many of them at-risk – about aquaculture and environmental issues; supporting numerous environmental causes in various states; and serving on the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 As a young adult, she was struck by a young, idealistic Massachusetts Democratic politician named John F. Kennedy, who had lofty expectations, not only for himself but for his country. She worked on his staff, first when he was a U.S. Senator and later as President of the United States, until she was seriously injured in an automobile accident that eventually left her confined to a wheelchair.

 If you’d been at Belmont Park, perhaps Mrs. Wyeth would have shared some memories with you about what “Camelot” was like. But no worries. I think you’ll have another chance to meet her at Saratoga later this summer. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to do so.

 Governor, quite frankly, you seem angry about this horse racing business, and I don’t fully understand why. It’s not just about the wealthy, conservative Republicans who have controlled the New York Racing Association for so many years, the people you and your father before you have battled with. You’ve won the battle, accomplishing what your father Mario, who also served as New York governor, couldn’t do: a state takeover of horse racing from the NYRA board of trustees.

 A government-run horse racing industry scares me.  All I have to do is think of how poorly the state’s off-track betting system – controlled by politicians and their cronies – has been run, competing against instead of cooperating with the racing industry. NYRA has been far from perfect, but it has survived that corrupt OTB system and a sometimes hostile state government. It has even survived bankruptcy and financially challenging times that have prevented sorely needed capital improvements to its racing facilities.

 I hope you’ll stop focusing on the racing elite, those people who have controlled the game in New York for so long. Our industry is as diverse as the sidewalks of New York. Visit the backstretch of a racetrack sometime, the breeding farms, the horse sales. All of us – not just New Yorkers, but people throughout America who make our living in this game – are depending on you to do the right thing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jockey E. J. Perrodin Dies

From Mary Rampellini/Daily Racing Form
Mouton said services will be held Wednesday at Hill Crest Memorial Funeral Home in Haughton, La. He said there would be a visitation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a funeral service to immediately follow. Perrodin died at his home in Haughton. 

Perrodin retired during the Fair Grounds meet, and a short period of time later learned he had a significant tumor in his lung. The cancer was advanced, and it also spread to his brain. He battled courageously, and in May even made an appearance at Louisiana Downs, located minutes from his home in Haughton, La., to receive a lifetime achievement award. 

Perrodin was a native of Rayne, La. He began race-riding at the age of 17, in Lafayette, La., and would go on to win 3,083 races during his career, for more than $41 million in mount earnings. Perrodin won more than  200 stakes races, some of them with such horses as Candid Glen, Sarah Lane’s Oates, Waupaca, Clever Song, Police Inspector, and Composure. Perrodin also won six races on a Fair Grounds card on Nov. 18, 1979.

Perrodin, known in particular as a talented turf rider, made a significant career comeback in August 2008, at the age of 51. Just nine months earlier he had suffered a severely fractured pelvis, six broken ribs, a punctured lung,  and a lacerated spleen when a horse flipped and fell on him in the post parade of a race at Fair Grounds in November 2007. Perrodin spent a month in the intensive care unit at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, and would come back to reach the 3,000 win milestone in December 2008 at Fair Grounds.

Perrodin is survived by his wife, Lisa, and his young son, Devin and daughter Nicole Perrodin-Jordy.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

GUTIERREZ TO “TEST DRIVE” BELMONT IN BROOKLYN HANDICAP;

 From NYRA Communications Department

Trainer Doug O’Neill knows his jockey, Mario Gutierrez, will face this challenge when he attempts to ride I’ll Have Another into the history books Saturday with a victory in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, which would complete the first Triple Crown since 1978. With his mind set on getting Gutierrez a full, live-action tour of the course, O’Neill has Gutierrez aboard 4-year-old colt Boxeur des Rues in the 124th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap on Friday.

 

The Brooklyn, to be run as the last of 10 races, is the first half of The New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) Brooklyn-Belmont double, covering the two 1 ½-mile stakes. Also on Friday’s card is the Grade 3, $150,000 Jaipur at seven furlongs, in which Right One will seek to defend his title in the 29th running of the turf race for 3-year-olds and up.

 

The Brooklyn, won in the past by greats such as Discovery, Whirlaway, Kelso and Forego, is run at the Belmont distance. O’Neill hopes the ride aboard Boxeur des Rues and three other mounts on the Friday card, along with one Main Track Only, will have Gutierrez primed for his big assignment the following day.

 

“We brought this horse with that intent,” O’Neill said of Boxeur des Rues, who, like I’ll Have Another, is owned by J. Paul Reddam. “Three or four days ago, he didn’t train as well as I’d like and we went on a mad dash to have Paul invest in a horse for [the Brooklyn]. That didn’t work out too well.”

 

Boxeur des Rues, 10th in each of his past two starts – the Grade 1 Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day and the Grade 2 Dixie on Preakness Day – turned out to have a minor bruise inside his right front foot. O’Neill said the son of Smart Strike now is “looking fantastic.”

 

“This is a really good opportunity for Mario, and I think the horse has a chance to compete and do well,” O’Neill said of Boxeur des Rues, who is 12-1 on the morning line.

 

Tying the legendary Forego for most appearances in the Brooklyn will be Eldaafer, who will compete in his fourth straight edition of the race to join the Hall of Fame gelding, who won it from 1974-76 and finished second in 1977.

 

Eldaafer won the 2009 Brooklyn and then finished third in 2010 and fourth last year. Proving he is more than a one-trick pony, Eldaafer won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon as well.

 

Owners Jim Atwell and Kevin Jacobsen purchased Eldaafer privately last August and after a sixth-place finish in the Marathon at Churchill Downs, took him out of the barn of trainer Diane Alvarado and raced him on the West Coast, where they are based.

 

After little success, they returned Eldaafer to Alvarado, and he has appeared to return to form in her care. In his most recent work, Sunday at Monmouth Park, he breezed four furlongs in :47 1/5 seconds, best of 111 efforts on the work tab.

 

“He was on cruise control,” said Alvarado, who is thrilled to have her best horse back in the barn. “I got him in Florida and just backed off him and let him walk. He was tired. We gave him some time. In the past two weeks, I’ve been really happy and he’s moving forward at the right time.

 

“I’m very happy to have him back,” she said. “I wished them best of luck out there, but it was tough to have your best horse walk out of the barn. I’m happy to have him peaking at the right time. He’s really training on this track; Sunday, he worked lights out.”

 

Eldaafer, 12-1 on the morning line, leaves from post position 4 with Paco Lopez aboard.

 

Birdrun, the 4-1 second choice on the morning line, returns to the Brooklyn after winning the race last year by 3 ¾ lengths in a gate-to-wire score. The 6-year-old son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, has not won since, although he did finish second last November in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

 

Arthur’s Tale, who has tantalized trainer Tom Albertrani with good – but not winning – efforts since missing by a neck when second in the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial Stakes last year, also will run as part of an entry with Balladry.

 

“He’s always been a pretty interesting horse since the time he got beat in the Wood,” Albertrani said. “He ran well in his last race [the Vanlandingham, May 17 at Belmont]; he was finishing strong. Stretching out, it will be interesting to see if he can handle a mile and a half. He has been an on-and-off horse. He had body soreness at times. After the Wood he had a shin issue, but this is his third time running in a row without a layoff.”

 

Favored on the morning line at 5-2 is highweight Redeemed, a recent 9 ¾-length winner in the Milesius overnight stakes May 3 at Belmont. The son of Include was third in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap this year at Gulfstream; won the Grade 3 Discovery last year at Aqueduct and also took the Oklahoma Derby, defeating Alternation, now one of the top older horses in the country. He will carry 121 pounds, including Ramon Dominguez, from post position 11.

 

Hailstone, Not Abroad, Eye On Jacob, Golden Gulch, Praetereo, Balladry and Kentucky Reign complete the field.

 

With a strong third-place finish in the Grade 2 Commonwealth on April 14 at Keeneland, his first race in five months, Ghislaine Head’s Right One signaled he has lost none of his fire as a 6-year-old and is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Jaipur.

 

Right One, to be ridden by Julien Leparoux for trainer Christophe Clement, defeated Yield Bogey in the final jump last year and then finished third behind Turallure and Courageous Cat in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile before tailing off the remainder of the year.

 

“He’s been training well; [The Commonwealth] was a good race to bring him back,” Clement said. “I think he had a nice prep race.”

 

Along with Yield Bogey, making his fourth start in the Jaipur, Right One will have to contend with Bergerac, an $80,000 claim at Gulfstream Park two races back by owner Paul Pompa and trainer Chad Brown.

 

Bergerac immediately paid dividends, finishing second in the Commonwealth, ahead of Right One.

 

“He comes in off a little layoff and not by design,” Brown said. “He missed an overnight race that got rained off the turf, so he missed his prep. He’s an older horse with plenty career starts under his belt, though, so at this age (5) he maintains his fitness.”

 

Bergerac, the 5-2 morning-line second choice, will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post position 7.

 

Also set for the Jaipur are Leave of Absence, Boots Ahead, Upgrade, Shintoh and Senor Dehere. Recent stakes winner Ponzi Scheme is entered Main Track Only.

 

The field for the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn:

Prog. No     PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1                    8

Arthurs Tale

J Castellano

115

T Albertrani

 8-1

1a                  9

Balladry

R Napravnik

117

E Harty

 8-1

2                    1

Hailstone

J R Velazquez

114

T A Pletcher

15-1

3                    2

Not Abroad

R Maragh

119

W I Mott

 6-1

4                    3

Eye On Jacob

P Lopez

117

D Alvarado

 5-1

5                    4

Birdrun

J Lezcano

115

E Kenneally

 4-1

6                    5

Eldaafer

E S Prado

115

C J Domino

12-1

7                    6

Golden Gulch

J Castellano

115

T Albertrani

12-1

8                    7

Praetereo

R Napravnik

115

E G Harty

20-1

9                   10

Boxeur des Rues  

M Gutierrez

114

D F O'Neill

12-1

10                 11

Redeemed

R  Dominguez

121

R E Dutrow, Jr.

 5-1

11                 12

KentuckyReign

J Rosario

114

R E Dutrow, Jr.

30-1

 

 

 

The field for the Grade 3, $150,000 Jaipur:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Leave of Absence  

A Garcia

118

R A Violette, Jr.

10-1

2

Yield Bogey  

E S Prado

118

P J Kelly

 8-1

3

Boots Ahead  

E Castro

120

G Weaver

 5-1

4

Upgrade  

J R Velazquez

118

M Nihei

 6-1

5

Right One  

J R Leparoux

122

C Clement

 2-1

6

Shintoh  

R Maragh

118

H A Jerkens

12-1

7

Bergerac  

J Castellano

118

C C Brown

 5-2

8

Senor Dehere  

R A Dominguez

118

H G Motion

15-1

9

Ponzi Scheme (MTO)

E Trujillo

124

J Serey

 6-5

 

 

-30-

 

Monday, June 04, 2012

JOCKEYS TO VISIT THE RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE OF LONG ISLAND

 From NYRA Communications Department

Two days before the 144th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes, Jockeys will travel to the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park at 10:00 a.m. to mingle with children at the House. Clad in their colorful silks, the riders will pose for photographs and distribute gifts of personally autographed riding goggles and hats.

 

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

 

Many of the visiting Jockeys will have mounts in this year’s Belmont Stakes which is the third leg of the Triple Crown.

 

“NYRA is proud to partner with the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island for their annual Jockey visit,” said NYRA Director of Community Relations, Joanne K. Adams. “We’re committed to providing support to organizations that have a positive impact on our local communities.”

 

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. It is a ‘home-away-from home’ for families who are caring for seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment in area hospitals. Located on the campus of the Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the House accommodates families in a warm and supportive environment. Since opening in 1986, approximately 17,000 families from the United States and more than 80 countries around the world have been served. Many of the families are from Queens, Suffolk and Nassau Counties, as well as the surrounding metropolitan area.

 

For more information about RMH-LI, go to www.rmhlongisland.org

PDJF

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