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Monday, July 30, 2012

Q&A With Jockey Garrett Gomez

Is there another jockey you admired growing up?

“Probably Chris McCarron and Eddie Delahoussaye. I liked both of them. They both were personable guys. They were outstanding riders. Just by watching I learned from them. I never really asked them about anything, but they were both outstanding riders and guys and wonderful ambassadors for the sport.”

Who was the best horse you ever rode?

I’m going to have to say Blame. He got to accomplish a lot of things. And Discreet Cat, too.

What was your most memorable race?

“The race with Blame where we beat Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (in 2010),” he said.

What sport other than racing do you enjoy watching or playing?

“I really enjoy golf and watching Tiger Woods play. I enjoy golf, but if Tiger isn’t playing, I don’t watch it. When he’s in the mix, it rouses me up and I get interested.”

Who is your favorite athlete?

“I like hockey, and I have a lot of respect for hockey players. That’s my favorite sport to watch on TV. Those guys really go out and give it their all. They take a beating, close to what we endure, and I feel like those guys really go out there and earn their money.”

What’s your favorite meal?

Anything hot. Anything spicy.

What is your favorite track?

“I really enjoy Del Mar and Santa Anita. I enjoy both of them a lot.”

You’ve won titles at all the other Southern California tracks, but not at Del Mar. Does not winning here drive you to win here this year?

“Usually we’re off chasing money titles, shipping around, we’re here, we’re there. This year we’re trying to stay here and get ourselves settled here. We want people to understand that we’re home and we’re going to be here. Hopefully this start has people jazzed about us and interested in using us. We sold our Del Mar home in 2003 and bought a home in New York in 2007. We sold that last summer. Hopefully we’ll buy something else down here again.”

How would you describe your riding style?

“I’m a feel rider. I don’t ride a race based on what the paper says. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. I adapt to what my horse is willing to let me do on that day. Every so often we’ll adjust. Have to adjust on what horse you’re riding and who you’re riding for.”

You’ve already received feedback and comments about your book, “The Garrett Gomez Story: A Jockey’s Journey Through Addictions & Salvation.” Are you happy with the way the book turned out?

“I wanted to make sure the right person wrote the book. Rudy (Rudolph Valier Alvarado, the author) kept coming around talking to me about it and I said, ‘Rudy, this is what we’re going to do.’ We connected and I liked what he was saying. But I told Rudy, ‘When you write this book, it’s not all about my career.’ He said, ‘We’re on the same page.’

“When you go through the book, he takes you through the peaks and valleys, and it’s not just a story about a guy who got messed up and now he’s a success.

“It leads you through the ups and downs and uses my career as a base point. It’s more about my addictions and struggles in life.

“I thought Rudy did a wonderful job.

“When I agreed to do this book, I thought it was going to be a lot easier. I thought I was just going to have to go through the stuff once with him and he could figure it out and put it all down. But that’s not the way it worked out. I worked on this book with him for a couple of years. I spent time with him. He spent time with my family and came to visit with us for five days at a time and got a real sense for who I was. Then he wrote the book.”

Monday, July 30, 2012

Seeking safer racing

He checks the Racing Form to see who he's facing and looks for idiosyncracies among the other horses, such as a tendency to make sudden stops or move to the side.

If any of these preparations result in a safer race for the 53-year-old rider, it's all the better — but that's not his intent. For a jockey who has won more than 11,650 races and in nearly 50,000 starts, safety is second nature and actually thinking about it can be a distraction.

"My main focus is how am I going to get this horse to the wire first," said Baze, who's currently racing at the Sonoma County Fair. "I wouldn't say it's so much intuitive as just unconscious. If you're worried about getting hurt or going down or clipping heels or something like that ... you're not going to be focusing on winning."

There's a look of gravity in Baze's eyes, the kind you'd expect from someone about to mount a 1,000-pound animal that soon will hit 30 to 35 mph. If the horse falls, the jockey is in imminent danger. During his racing tenure, Baze has broken his ribs, collarbone and back.

This month, Jorge Herrera, 33, died of head injuries when he was thrown from a horse at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton. Herrera's death, the 152nd in U.S. horse racing since 1940, was a brutal reminder of the dangers jockeys face.

But it is the horses that most often pay the highest price in the sport of kings. Each summer since 2000 at the Sonoma County Fair at least one horse -- and as many as four — have died of race injuries, according to data compiled by the California Horse Racing Board.

From drug testing horses to safer track design, the goal of keeping both jockeys and horses safe has become a priority for the horse-racing industry, which has been hit hard with negative publicity in the past couple of years.

The Jockeys' Guild recently launched a jockey injury database that will log details about injuries, including where, when and how the injuries occurred. It will be used to analyze injury trends at various tracks and surface types, as well as the effectiveness of safety equipment such as protective jockey vests and helmets.

Many of the safety precautions occur behind the scenes at the track, unseen by racing spectators who are primarily focused on the main betting board on the field displaying the odds and bet totals.

Before the horse enters the paddock, where it's on display for the betting crowd, it's given an initial blood exam to test for total carbon dioxide, or TCO2. High levels of TCO2 are sometimes the result of a trainer giving a horse a "milk shake," an illegal concoction of sodium bicarbonate, glucose and other additives that stave off muscle fatigue.

Safety stewards are assigned to each track to enforce state rules and regulations. A veterinarian monitors the horses before each race, watching closely for signs of injury, which are sometimes masked with pain-killing drugs.

Once the race starts, an ambulance with a paramedic follows a short distance behind the horses. Behind the ambulance is a van that carries the veterinarian. And tucked away on the south end of the track complex is a horse ambulance that remains stationary unless a horse is injured.

The equine ambulance is equipped with a hydraulic lift that can be used so an injured horse does not have to put weight on injured legs.

After the race, the winning horse and another horse selected randomly by a state veterinarian are given a second blood test and a urine test. These tests are used to detect known illicit drugs and to ensure that permitted medications fall within allowable levels.

California has some of the strictest racing rules in the country, said Richard Lewis, director of racing at the Sonoma County Fair.

"California, New York and Kentucky have some of the best racing in the world," Lewis said. "They want everyone to be on a level playing field."

Steve Sherman, a trainer based out of Golden Gate Fields who is competing at the Sonoma County Fair, said he gets a sick feeling in his stomach whenever he sees a horse go down. Sherman, who currently manages 45 horses, trains both his own horses and those of clients.

Still, racing accidents and injuries are part of the danger of the sport.

"When a horse is going 30 miles an hour, the amount of pressure per square inch that they're putting on their bones ... I mean you're looking at a 1,000-pound animal with legs smaller than ours," Sherman said.

"When they go down there's a lot of pressure and force behind that, a lot of miles per hour behind that," he said.

The result is often a catastrophic injury.

"You hope that maybe it took a bad step or that it clipped heels with another horse where it kind of just tripped itself and fell," he said. "You're hoping that it didn't break a leg. If it does, it's a very sick feeling that goes through you."

In the jockey's quarters, Baze dons his protective vest, much like a flak jacket, and his helmet. They're part of his riding gear, like his boots and trousers.

"There's only so much you can do, though," he said. "It's always going to be a dangerous sport. They've probably done as much as they can to keep us safe out there."

(You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RCI Tightens Model Rule on Shock Wave Therapy

 By Teresa Genaro/The Blood-Horse
Key items on the agenda were proposed rule changes for the use of safety reins and of safety equipment for assistant starters; for track security and furosemide; and for extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). Most items were discussed and remanded back to those who proposed them, but changes to the RCI’s model rule for ESWT were adopted.

The petition for the rule change regarding ESWT was brought by the Jockeys’ Guild and based on jockeys’ concerns about the use of the therapy and the potential for horses to break down after being treated with it. An RCI model rule on its use already exists. The Jockeys’ Guild petitioned for the RCI to expand its current rule to match the policies of the California Horse Racing Board as of May 4, 2012.

Specifically, the Guild requested that use of shock wave machines be limited to a designated area and that a log of all treatments be available to the track’s official veterinary, stewards, or commission investigation. It also requested that that log be made available to jockeys or their agents so that they can be aware of what treatments a horse has received before accepting a mount on that horse.

ESWT is used to treat a variety of equine ailments to facilitate healing. It can a have a short-term analgesic effect, and the Jockeys’ Guild was concerned about jockeys accepting mounts on horses that might have been treated with it. The CHRB requires that horses treated with ESWT be placed on a veterinarian’s list for 10 days following the treatment.

Dave Basler, the executive director of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, objected strenuously to posting publicly the names of horses that had received the treatment, arguing that ESWT shouldn’t be treated differently from any other therapy a horse receives. He also objected to the horses being placed on a veterinarian’s list.

The RCI Rules Committee voted to adopt changes to the model rule stating that horses that receive ESWT would be placed on an ineligible list--not a veterinarian’s list--for 10 days and that they would be permitted neither to train nor race during that period. It also voted to recommend that any violation of the RCI’s model rule on ESWT use be considered a prohibited practice and be subject to a Class A recommended penalty, which entails a one to three year suspension and a minimum fine of $10,000. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tammi Piermarini Becomes Third Leading Female Rider of All Time

From Suffolk Downs Press Release
"It's a real honor and it was even more special to do it on a Massachusetts-bred in my home state," said Piermarini, a native of Amesbury, MA. "The great thing is so many of my wins came here, at home."

When asked if she has her sights set on moving up to second place, Piermarini's answer was an emphatic "Yes."

Piermarini entered the day with 2,136 wins, one behind Cooksey. She earned the equalizer in the third race with Quiet Wave ($7.20) for owner Old Coach Farm and trainer Mike Gorham before taking sole possession of third place with her second win of the afternoon in the seventh. Piermarini tacked on to her career total in the eighth with the favored Blue White Fire ($3.20) for owner Moyglare Stud Farm and trainer Christophe Clement.

Piermarini began her riding career in 1985 as Tammi Campbell, amassing 986 wins under her maiden name. She has competed as Tammi Piermarini since 1999 after marrying her husband and current agent John. Piermarini's riding career has included time off to give birth to her and John's three children: Izabella, Johnny and Sophia-Lawren.

In 2007, Piermarini became just the third woman in Suffolk Downs history to win a meet riding title. She is the two-time defending champion at the East Boston oval and is presently atop the standings again this year. Piermarini is also a three-time recipient of the Eli Chiat Memorial Outstanding Jockey Award presented by the New England Turf Writers Association.

Piermarini has won races at 15 different racetracks over the course of her 28-year career, with the vast majority of her triumphs - 1,667 - coming at Suffolk Downs.

Monday, July 23, 2012

From Europe to Emerald, young jockey rides to spot among track's elite

Scott Hansen/Seattle Times
The Czech jockey marvels at how she went from begging trainers, mostly unsuccessfully, to let her gallop and exercise horses at Emerald Downs to being near the top of this year's jockey standings. She is fourth with 45 wins, 13 behind leader Juan Gutierrez.

But Kubinova doesn't spend much time looking back. She's too worried about looking better on her rides, improving every day and every race. Kubinova, 23, wants to compete against some of the best jockeys of the world at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.

"I watch the films and I don't like how I look," she said. "I am really critical of myself. I don't want to go to Santa Anita like this. I want to be different, and I want to be better."

Kubinova, who has gained acclaim for riding longshots to victory, bucked long odds to get to this spot.

At about 16, after going to jockey school in Prague, she rode in a few races in the Czech Republic. She didn't like it, and she quit riding. She had grown up riding show horses, and the transition to Thoroughbreds was not smooth.

"I actually don't think I was ready for it," she said. "I just needed time galloping and working out horses to get more confidence."

Kubinova went from riding horses to watching kids. She came to New York and then to Bellevue in school exchange programs, while also working as a nanny.

But baby-sitting wasn't for Kubinova, and she got the itch to ride again. Last spring at Emerald Downs, she offered her services to many trainers.

"No one would put me on a horse," she said.

But then she met Doris Harwood, one of the top trainers at Emerald Downs, who was once a jockey. Meeting Harwood was the break Kubinova needed.

"Nobody told me what I needed to do to start," Kubinova said. "I didn't know I needed a license to work in the mornings. Doris took me to the racing office and got me a license. She put me on a couple of nice horses (to exercise), which was nice because I hadn't sat on a horse for three years."

Harwood said she is always looking to help young riders.

"We need young jockeys and we need young exercise riders, and I like to be able to help them out, whether they're men or women. The first time she got on a horse here, I knew she could ride. That was obvious.

"I kind of laugh about it, but when I first met her, she told me, 'I don't want to be a jockey.' I said, 'That's OK, we need good exercise riders too.' "

By the end of last year's meet, Kubinova had changed her mind. She rode in a few races in the final weeks of the season, then was the second-leading rider at Portland Meadows last winter. She is still an apprentice, and the horses she rides get a weight break, but she doesn't ride like a rookie.

Helping Kubinova out is her boyfriend, Jorge Rosales, a veteran jockey. There is a makeshift horse in the jockey's lounge at Emerald — kind of like a rocking horse that doesn't rock. Kubinova will get on it while Rosales gives her tips. The two also watch film of her races together.

"He always gives me a hard time," she said. "He's been around it for a long time, and he can see it from a different view than I see it."

While Kubinova's top goals are to polish her style and learn something new every day, she admits she has a more concrete goal: winning the Emerald jockey title.

"That would be really nice," she said. "I'd really like to do it."

Monday, July 23, 2012


 From Arlington Park Communications Department

        Roman was aboard a ball of fire named La Tia, owned by the Hernandez Racing Club and trained by Brian Williamson in the Oaks, and the front-running filly forged her third straight win of the meeting with a three-quarter length tally.


        The Illinois-bred La Tia broke her maiden by nine lengths in her first start at Arlington May 25, followed that with an 8 1/4-length score in the restricted $113,125 Purple Violet Stakes on Prairie State Festival Day June 16 and then remained undefeated locally with the Oaks win in Arlington’s annual main event for 3-year-old fillies on the main track.


        “She’s a really easy filly to ride,” said Roman when asked to share the bond he seems to have with La Tia.  “In all three races I could feel in my hands when she wanted to go.  In her maiden race she just took off on her own at the three-eighths pole and in that second race when she got to the three-eighths pole she just took off again. 


“(In the Oaks) I never asked for her speed,” Roman said.  “I wanted her to get comfortable and show me what she wanted to do.  Then, when she got to the three-eighths pole she gave me that same feeling in my hands.  I knew she was going to do the same thing again and I just went, ‘Wow!’  I knew she was going to take off and give me everything she had.


“She’s a really smart filly,” Roman said.  “When she works in the mornings she always works slow, but she knows when she goes to the races and she tries hard every time.”


When Roman first came to the United States as a teenager, he galloped horses for three years for the legendary Arlington trainer Harvey Vanier.  Now that Vanier’s son-in-law Brian Williamson runs that stable, Roman rides almost all of his horses.  He has two older brothers, Jorge and Alfredo, who are too big to be jockeys but work as grooms for Williamson.


        A year ago at this time, Roman was Arlington’s leading apprentice jockey, but the loss of his “bug” last fall never slowed his progression as a rider.


        “I’m really happy with the way my career is going but I want to continue to get better,” Roman said.  “I like all the trainers that ride me on their horses because they are giving me the chance I need to get better.  If I can do that, maybe someday I’ll have the chance to ride the best horses in the country.”


Monday, July 23, 2012


From Arlington Park Communications Department
The popular homegrown rider – born, raised and always a resident of the Windy City – had announced just days earlier that he was retiring from the saddle effective as soon as he jumped off that mount.


        As it turned out, LaSala was fortunate to jump off that mount, because in the middle of the stretch run the 52-year-old athlete looked like he was going to be forced over the rail as the human victim of an extremely rough run race.  Royal Alluvial, LaSala’s equine partner, also emerged unscathed from that unfortunate fracas, but without question, the race was hardly the ideal swansong for one of the nation’s most revered riders.


        Why is he as popular as he is?  Because LaSala’s main focus throughout his career has been to look out for his peers.   They all were and still are aware of that, because for a little more than five years he was the national treasurer of the Jockeys’ Guild.


        “When I started out riding (in 1981) I was very young,” LaSala said, who retired with 1,248 wins from 10,913 mounts. “Maybe I was a little too young.   I was probably pushed a little too early. Maybe that’s why I started paying attention to the concerns of other riders as soon as I did.  I always wanted to see that that everybody was getting a fair shake.  A lot of these kids coming into the game right now are very young and a lot of them are uneducated.  They don’t know too much about how to handle themselves or how to handle the money they are making.


        “These are the guys we have to look out for,” said LaSala.  “When I started riding here at Arlington the veterans in the jockeys’ room were guys like Mike Smith, Jerry Bailey, Earlie Fires and Pat Day and Randy Meier.  If they saw you make a mistake in a race they would grab you and put you in a corner of the room and explain to you privately what you did wrong.  They were always trying to help you and I learned everything I know from them.  Arlington was a tough place to win because of guys like that, but they were all very good teachers.  I want to pass along those things I learned from them along to these kids that are coming along now.


        “I consider it an honor for me to serve on the board of the Jockeys’ Guild with guys like Johnny Velazquez,” LaSala said of the Guild’s current chairman.  “I’m in touch with guys like that practically every day.


“I know I’m going to miss riding,” said LaSala.  “I’m going to miss playing cards in the room with the guys, and I’m also going to miss mingling with the trainers in the morning, guys like Wayne (Catalano), Larry (Rivelli) and Mike (Reavis).  When you ride for guys like that you know you’ve got a good chance to win because they know how to put their horses in the right spot.  They are all very smart horsemen.


        “I remember my first winner very well,” said LaSala when asked to reflect on his career.  “It was at Hawthorne aboard a horse named Not Noble Enough and I beat ‘Cat’ (Wayne Catalano) who was riding a horse named Black Cannon in the race.  I still like to kid him all the time about that.”


        Catalano and LaSala have been best friends since those days, and it was Catalano who put LaSala up on Royal Alluvial for what was supposed to be his last ride.  But can we be sure of that?


        Arlington will once again host a “retired riders versus active jockeys” race on the day before the 30th running of the Arlington Million Aug. 18.


        At this time, it is still entirely possible that Catalano will be one of the retired riders in that race, and not out of the question that LaSala might end up joining him as an alternate member of that group.


        “I really don’t think I want to ride in that race,” said LaSala.  “One of the reasons I decided to retire is because it’s tough to compete when you ride as little as I did and you’re going against younger guys who are riding six or seven races a day.  But my wife Nancy has been putting a lot of pressure on me.”


        Nancy LaSala, it should be noted, is known as something of a “make-it-happen” kind of individual.  She has served as president of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) since it was incorporated in 2006, writes all of its checks and does its payroll in a seven-days-a-week kind of commitment to the cause.


        “Let’s put it this way,” Nancy LaSala said when speaking of her husband’s possible participation in that race (as well as the chance for a paycheck) that would be donated to the PDJF.  “If they need to fill a saddle that day, he’s not going to have much choice.”





Monday, July 23, 2012


The work is part of a collection to be displayed at Nedra Matteucci Galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico from Aug. 11 through Sept. 1. The painting carries a set price of $22,000.

Moyers, a native of Calgary, currently resides in Santa Fe. She is best known for her Western-themed compositions. In 1996, she won the Frederic Remington Painting Award at the Prix de West show and in 2004 she was named Artist of the Year by the Tucson Museum of Art.

As a New Mexico native, I=m very familiar with Terri's paintings and am a huge fan, said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.

This particular painting captures the essence of morning works at Santa Anita, the power and grace of the horses and riders. It is something art collectors and racing lovers alike would be proud to own, knowing all proceeds of the sale benefit disabled riders.

PDJF executive director Nancy LaSala added, "We're grateful to Terri and the Nedra Matteucci Galleries of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for donating the proceeds of the sale of this beautiful painting to our organization. Their kindness will help us continue to provide assistance to over 60 former jockeys who live with catastrophic injuries."

Interested buyers must complete an intent to purchase form, which must be submitted to the gallery by 3 p.m. Aug. 27. Forms may be submitted by postalmail, e-mail (, or fax (505-984-0199). The sale will be determined by random drawing and the winning payment of $22,000 will be paid directly to the PDJF.
From Thoroughbred Daily News


Monday, July 23, 2012


From NYRA Communications Department
“I am very excited. Coming into today, I looked at the program and was very excited about my chances,” said Dominguez, who won on six of seven mounts. “We all know luck is a big factor. Everything clicked into place. I am very happy to win six races. At Saratoga, it’s anybody’s dream. This is a place you want to do it, for sure. Saratoga is really the meet. It doesn’t get any better than this. I give [my agent, Steve Rushing] all the credit in the world. He puts me in the position to do this consistently and do well. Then again, if you ask him, he will give all the credit to the trainers and the owners, and rightly so. I am very happy people support me.”


Dominguez swept the early Daily Double ($14.00) with Paper Plane ($8.30), who held on by a neck, and favored Summer Front ($2.90), the authoritative winner of the Duluth overnight stakes. Without a mount in race 3, Dominguez returned to the winner’s circle in race 4 with Rigby ($9.40) before suffering his only defeat when Current Design’s rally fell one length short as the even-money favorite in race 5.


His next mount, Temper in Command ($8.60), closed stoutly in race 7 before Reach for a Peach ($6.90) made a determined run to take race 8, with the rolling Double paying $34.40. With his Grade 2 Sanford mount, Good Tickled, scratched, Dominguez demonstrated his sangfroid in the 10th and final race, waiting behind horses and splitting rivals in deep stretch to prevail aboard favored Wet One ($8.20).


“It was a great trip,” said Dominguez of his ride in the finale. “But turning for home, I was very concerned because it didn’t look like it was going to open up for me. I was happy my filly was in hand and ready to go right through it. Everything worked out great today.”


On June 5, 2011, Dominguez became the first jockey since Jorge Velasquez in 1981 to win six races at Belmont Park. Prior to Sunday, the last jockey to win six at a NYRA track was Corey Nakatani, who achieved the feat on October 8, 2011 at Belmont.


Through the first three days of racing at Saratoga, Dominguez leads the jockey standings with nine wins, six more than Irad Ortiz, Jr., Jose Lezcano, Rosie Napravnik, Edgar Prado, and Joel Rosario, who are tied for second. Dominguez has led the year-end NYRA jockey standings the past three years and has won 17 meet titles, topping the Saratoga jockey standings in 2009.


Velazquez, who went 6-for-10 on September 3, 2001 at Saratoga, will return to the races on Wednesday with two scheduled mounts. Sidelined since fracturing his collarbone in a June 16 spill at Churchill Downs, Velazquez looks opens defense of his riding title, named for his mentor and agent, Hall of Famer Angel Cordero, Jr.



Friday, July 20, 2012

Dominguez, Garcia to ride at three tracks Saturday

From Thoroughbred Times
The day begins at Saratoga Race Course, where Dominguez has mounts in the first three races on the card — including Fiddlers Patriots in the overnight Willard Straight Stakes — and Garcia rides the second race.

After the third race, which has a scheduled post time of 2 p.m. (all times EDT), Dominguez and Garcia board a private plane to Delaware Park, where both are named to ride in the Sussex Stakes at 5:15 p.m. In the subsequent race, the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (G2), Dominguez will ride Grade 1 winner Awesome Maria, while Garcia has the mount on Cash For Clunkers, runner-up in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (G1) last time out.

Following the Delaware Handicap, which is scheduled for 5:45 p.m., the riders will be back aboard a plane to Colonial Downs in Virginia, where they are both named on mounts in the Kitten's Joy Stakes at 7:10 p.m. before riding the two graded stakes races on the card. Dominguez has the call on favored Zultanite in the Virginia Oaks (G2) and second choice Summer Front in the Virginia Derby (G2). Garcia is named on Ski Holiday in the Oaks and Lucky Chappy (Ire) in the Derby.

Kent Desormeaux, who is also based in New York, is not riding at Saratoga on Saturday but will accompany Dominguez and Garcia for stakes mounts at Delaware and Colonial. He is named aboard Pachattack in the Delaware Handicap and Finnegans Wake in the Virginia Derby.

With several tracks regularly hosting night programs, it is not unusual for riders to compete at two different tracks in one day — and Dominguez, the two-time reigning Eclipse Award winner, and other riders have had great success with the practice over the last month. On June 30, Dominguez rode five races at Belmont Park, including piloting Aruna to a runner-up effort in the New York Handicap (G2). He then flew to Iowa to ride at Prairie Meadows, where he rode champion Hansen to a win in the Iowa Derby (G3).  

On June 16, Dominguez, Joe Bravo, Julien Leparoux, Jose Lezcano, Rajiv Maragh, Rosie Napravnik, Edgar Prado and John Velazquez all rode the card at Belmont Park before departing for night racing at either Churchill Downs or Colonial. Velazquez, who won two races at Belmont, finished second aboard Wise Dan in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) to Lezcano and Ron the Greek. Leparoux was second in the Regret Stakes (G3) with Colonial Flag and third in the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) with Macho Macho, while Napravnik was third in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G3) with St. John's River and third in the Regret with Treasured Up.

Dominguez won the Mohegan Sky Stakes with Dealbata (Ire) and the Hill Price Stakes (G3) with Summer Front on the June 30 card at Belmont before finishing unplaced with two stakes mounts at Colonial. Bravo won the Colonial Turf Cup Stakes that night aboard Turbo Compressor.
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sale of Oil Painting to Benefit PDJF

 The work, which was painted by artist Terri Kelly Moyers, is part of a collection that is on display from Aug. 11 to Sept.1 at the Nedra Matteucci Galleries in Santa Fe, N.M. The oil on canvas, which measures 24" x 30", is on sale for the set price of $22,000. It maybe viewed on the gallery's website.

 Born in 1953 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Moyers studied at The Alberta College of Art. A resident of Santa Fe, she is best known for her Western-themed compositions. In 1996 she won the Frederic Remington Painting Award at the Prix de West show at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. In 2004 Moyers was named Artist of the Year by the Tucson Museum of Art.

 “This is a unique and exciting fundraiser for us,” said PDJF Executive Director Nancy LaSala. “We’re grateful to Terri and the Nedra Matteucci Galleries of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for donating the proceeds of the sale of this beautiful painting to our organization. Their kindness will help us continue to provide assistance to over 60 former jockeys who live with catastrophic injuries.”

 Interested buyers must complete the Intent to Purchase form which must be received by the gallery no later than 3:00 p.m. (ET) on August 27, 2012. Forms may be submitted by postal mail, email (, or FAX (505-984-0199). Sale will be determined by random drawing. Winner will make payment of $22,000 directly to the PDJF. For full details please visit or


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jose Lezcano Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Point of Entry responded with a breakthrough 31⁄2-length win, and his $360,000 in purse earnings elevated Lezcano to the top of the North American jockeys’ earnings list for the week ended July 17.

Lezcano capably replaced John Velazquez aboard Point of Entry for trainer Shug McGaughey while Velazquez, who was aboard the Dynaformer colt for his win this spring in the Elkhorn Stakes (G2) at Keeneland Race Course, continues to recover from a broken collarbone suffered at Churchill Downs in July.

Point of Entry’s win in the Man o’ War was the latest top-level success for Lezcano, who finished Belmont’s recently concluded meet third in the jockeys’ standings with 43 wins and more than $2.7-milion in earnings.

The 27-year-old native of Chiriqui, Panama, has established himself as one of the leading riders on the competitive New York circuit in recent years and has also become a dependable big-race rider nationwide, in particular establishing a productive relationship with Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Lezcano piloted 2011 champion three-year-old filly Royal Delta to wins in the TVG Alabama Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1) in 2011 for Mott. He was also aboard Mott’s To Honor in Serve for his win in the 2011 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1). This year, he has paired up with Ron the Greek to win the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) for Mott.

Heading into opening day at Saratoga Race Course on Friday, Lezcano has won 1,652 races and earned more than $16.5-million for his career.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Leggett, Luft Selected to Prairie Meadows Hall of Fame

Tad Leggett began riding at Prairie Meadows in 1989 during the track’s inaugural year. Though he also rode Thoroughbreds here, Leggett was primarily noted for his success in the Quarter Horse standings while leading those boards from 1997-2001, and again in 2007. With 438 wins overall here, Leggett is Prairie Meadows’ overall leading Quarter Horse rider in front of Tom Wellington, in second place with 406 wins. Among Leggett’s 27 Quarter Horse stakes wins at Prairie Meadows, he scored multiple victories in the John Deere Central Distaff Challenge, John Deere Juvenile Central Challenge, Grade III Altoona Derby, Iowa Double Gold Derby, Iowa Double Gold Futurity, Jim Bader Memorial Futurity, Polk County Derby, and Terrace Hill Stakes.

In his national career of 8,784 starts, Leggett earned 33,364 points and purse earnings totaling $13,438,821 to currently place him 19th on the list of all-time leading American Quarter Horse riders. Beginning his career in 1987 at his hometown track in Broken Bow, Nebraska, Leggett would venture to Prairie Meadows, Remington Park, Ruidoso, and Sunland Park among others to record 1432 wins in his career that include eight Grade I victories in 131 stakes wins. Leggett was the American Quarter Horse Association’s Central High Point Jockey in 2005, 2008 and 2009. He was second in the Central High Point Jockey category in 2003, 2004, 2006, and he was third in the Central High Point Jockey category in 2007.


His most notable wins on the national level include the 2002 Texas Classic Futurity (Capones Vault); 2010 Remington Park Invitational Championship (Jess You and I); and the AQHA Distaff Challenge Championship (2008, Snow Burn; 2001 Fast for Money). He placed second in the Grade III All-American Congress Futurity (1997). (National statistics, courtesy of American Quarter Horse Association.) Tad Leggett resides in Bandera, Texas, with his wife, Tina, and their sons Travis and Trevor. A daughter, Tiffany Leggett, works in the racing program at Canterbury Park, located in Shakopee, Minnesota.

Also on August 3, Prairie Meadows will welcome Chaplain Dennis Luft to the Hall of Fame in recognition of his benevolent, spiritual ministry over the past 12 years to those individuals in the racing industry working in the backside horse stables.  As part of his spiritual ministry, Chaplain Luft offers the daily morning prayer, fellowships with workers in the horse stables, holds prayer services with the jockeys each race day, and offers blessings on the horses each day prior to the races. In addition, he holds Sunday church liturgy service and coaches life skills. Dennis Luft is married to Sarah Luft. The couple has four sons Matthew Luft, O.S.B; Tom (Heather) Luft; James Luft; Peter (Kimberly) Luft; two daughters Mary Beth (Jeff) Chandler and Michelle Ball; and 10 grandchildren Phillip, Katie, Samantha, and Sarah Chandler; London and Alex Ball; and Abbie, Ethan, Elijah and Izzie Luft.

Prairie Meadows has given more than $1 billion through taxes, grants and charitable donations to the state of Iowa.  More than $500 million of that figure has remained in our community to promote economic development, agriculture, jobs and tourism.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jockeys’ Guild seeks public support for ‘Jockey for a Cause’ fundraiser to help riders

 “Proceeds from the fundraiser go to help two incredibly worthwhile and valuable charities, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation,” said Meyocks. “Jockeys are often the ‘forgotten ones’ when accidents happen. These two charities help fill the gap for jockeys and their families. Jeff DeHaven has put together an amazing event, and we need the support of everyone to make it an unqualified success.”


This event will help people such as Jacky Martin, who was seriously hurt in a race last year, as well as some 60 other disabled permanently disabled jockeys, Meyocks said. “However, the money also will go to help The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation, which works to ease the severe financial crunch sometimes faced by jockeys, exercise riders, and others in the industry, as well as their families. Each donation will help Jacky and his fellow riders and their families throughout the United States.”


While a limited supply of tickets may be available at the door, Meyocks is asking for people nationwide to donate to “Jockey for a Cause.” “Even if you cannot attend, there are two easy ways to get involved. One is to go to, look for ‘Jockey for a Cause,” and donate. Also, you may simply pick up your cell phone and text the word “jockey” to 50555. That way, you can donate ten dollars and your donation will appear on your next phone bill.”


Jacky Martin improving, hoping to be weaned from respirator


Jacky Martin, the great quarter horse jockey critically injured last September in New Mexico, is making good progress and looking forward to being weaned from his respirator.


“I’m doing pretty good,” Jacky said in an interview Monday night. “It’s a lot better than it was a few months ago. I think it’s going the right way anyway.” Sometimes he gets frustrated with the slowness of his recovery, but recovery from severe neurological injury “just takes a long time. They tell me a year’s not very long, really.”


Since late May, Jacky has been in-patient at a special clinic in Tulsa focused on weaning him from the ventilator he has had to use since his spill at Ruidoso Downs on Sept. 2. Jacky suffered a broken neck and spinal cord injuries in the spill, paralyzing him from the neck down.


Earlier this year, Jacky was being considered for a diaphragmatic pacemaker, which would be implanted to electrically stimulate his diaphragm to allow him to breathe without a ventilator. Doctors nixed that idea, however, and afterward Jacky and his wife, Tracey, explored the Tulsa clinic. Tracey said they are encouraged by recent signs.


“He’s breathing a couple hours a day without the respirator,” she said. “He’s making rapid and strong progress, and it’s rebuilding the muscle.”


Breathing unassisted is hard work for a quadriplegic, Tracey said. “After months of atrophy, you just got to rebuild that muscle. Him working on trying to breathe for himself, he’ll break a sweat as if you or I were doing physical labor outside. It’s very, very hard.” But he wants to do it, because he’s determined to get stronger so he can be a candidate for surgery that would relieve pressure on his spinal cord.


“In a perfect world, when you relieve the pressure, everything would work again,” Tracey said.


Donations are still being accepted to help cover Jacky’s enormous medical bills. To donate specifically to Jacky Martin, write to:

Jacky Martin Fund

P.O. Box 130

Ft. Gibson, OK 74434


Donations are also being accepted by the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund at,

or The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation,


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.comand




Thursday, July 05, 2012

North American Riders to Compete in Sergar Cup

North American jockeys Chantal Sutherland and Emma-Jayne Wilson will join Britain’s best female flat jockey, Hayley Turner, to form the first-ever female team for the competition.

The trio of women, with Turner as captain, will ride against three male teams, representing Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, and the Rest of the World in the world’s premier international jockeys’ competition.

Gryder and Chadwick will ride for the Rest of the World team along with Yutaka Take of Japan. Take will serve as captain for the team.

The line-up for the European team of male jockeys will be Frankie Dettori (captain, Italy), if he is available to ride, with his teammates Andreas Suborics (Germany) and Demuro (Italy).

From Thoroughbred Times TODAY
The line-up for the Great Britain and Ireland male team will be announced closer to the event.

British bookmaker William Hill is quoting 7-to-2 that the women will best their male colleagues in annual competition at Ascot. The firm also quoted 7-to-2 for any of the women to win the coveted Silver Saddle award as the top jockey of the meeting.

“This promises to be the most exciting Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup in the event’s history, with the first all-female team and more international jockeys taking part than ever before—some legends in their own countries and some who are rapidly rising young stars,” said Nick Smith, head of communications for Ascot Racecourse.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Ramon Dominguez Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

Hansen’s $150,000 share of the Iowa Derby’s purse gave Dominguez his most lucrative win for the week. The New York-based jockey returned from the Midwest to his home base at Belmont Park on Sunday and won his second graded stakes of the week aboard Derwin’s Star in the Bed o’ Roses Handicap (G3).

Overall, Dominguez rode six winners from 37 starters for the week, finishing first on the earnings list ahead of Midwestbased jockey Leandro Goncalves, who rode Sum of the Parts to a win in the Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town and whose mounts earned $448,411.

This year, Dominguez currently resides close behind Javier Castellano for overall earnings among North American jockeys with $10,210,294 from 156 winners as of July 3. He is third, behind Castellano and John Velazquez, with $4,786,298 in stakes earnings from 28 winners.

Dominguez currently sits atop the Belmont Park jockey standings with 62 wins and $4,043,140 in earnings as of July 3. The 35-year-old native of Caracas, Venezuela, has thrived in the competitive New York Racing Association jockey colony in recent years, and his position atop the overall earnings list for both 2010 and 2011 led to his receiving Eclipse Award honors for both years.
 In addition to Hansen, Dominguez’s top horses over the past three years include 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, 2011 champion turf female Stacelita (Fr), and multiple champion Gio Ponti.


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