With the closing of Arlington Park, jockey E.T. Baird may have had just two mounts last week but he made the most of them going on the road for stakes race engagements at Finger Lakes and Santa Anita. The wins earned Baird Jockey of the Week for September 27 through October 3. The honor, which is voted on by a panel of racing experts, is for jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 1050 active, retired and permanently disabled jockeys.
Riding for trainer Larry Rivelli, Baird rode Adios Asher in the Aspirant Stakes at Finger Lakes on September 27. A stakes race for New York-bred two-year-olds, Adios Asher dueled with the favorite Daufuskie Island with Dylan Davis in the irons throughout the six-furlong race. He took the lead by a half-length at the top of the stretch and held on determinedly as the favorite chipped away at his lead. Adios Asher kept his nose in front at the wire stopping the clock in 1:11.12.
Next stop for trainer Larry Rivelli and E.T. Baird was Santa Anita’s opening day card on Friday and the Speakeasy Stakes, a “Win & You’re In” challenge race qualifier to the Grade II $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. One Timer and Baird came into the race unbeaten in two previous starts. One Timer dueled with the post time favorite Forbidden Kingdom and Juan Hernandez through the opening quarter mile and led by 2-1/2 lengths in the stretch. They held off a late threat by Time to Party and Flavien Prat to win the five furlongs race by three quarters of a length in 55.45.
“He broke well, I had him out of there, but he’s pretty professional outside of the post parade,” said Baird. “He just kept running true. I think he took to the (turf) great.”
A multiple graded stakes winning jockey, Baird has been a Chicago mainstay at both Arlington Park and Hawthorne. He finished the recently completed meet at Arlington Park in second place in the standings with 55 wins and more than $1 million in purse earnings.
Baird out-polled fellow jockeys Flavien Prat with four graded stakes wins, Guillermo Rodriguez who posted nine wins, Evan A. Roman with a 36% win percentage and the leading rider title at Golden Gate, and Joel Rosario with three graded stakes wins.