Author: C.J. Johnsen

Ellis Park jockey colony back intact – and that’s good!

HENDERSON, Ky. — (Monday, June 19, 2017) — The jockey colony for Ellis Park’s 95th meet, which runs July 1 through Labor Day, is virtually identical to last year. And that’s a good thing. Ellis Park had its strongest jockey colony ever last season, with Corey Lanerie returning after several summers at Saratoga. The perennial Churchill Downs meet leader joined a robust assembly of jockeys that included Robby Albarado, winner of more than 5,000 races and three times the rider of Horses of the Year;  six-time Ellis champion Jon Court, winner of more than 4,000 races; former Eclipse Award winner Brian Hernandez Jr.; Midwest stalwarts Miguel Mena and Joe Rocco Jr., and the up-and-coming Didiel Osorio, winner of the 2015 Ellis crown, and Chris Landeros. Former Chicago kingpin James Graham returned from California to ride at Ellis for the first time in well over a decade, and Channing Hill also became a regular in his first full year in Kentucky. Resuming his career at Ellis last Aug. 27 after a five-month retirement was three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel, now back for the full meet. Borel also is one of three Ellis-based jocks to have won Triple Crown races, with Albarado and Jesus Castanon also winners in racing’s biggest stage. “It’s worth stopping to really think about — and appreciate — how accomplished the Ellis Park riders are,” said Dan...

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Katie Clawson advances to next stage of apprenticeship at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Press Release SHELBYVILLE, Ind.; – June 10, 2017 – Jockey Katie Clawson might not have ridden the most horses at the current Indiana Grand meet, but she’s made the most trips to the winners circle. On Tuesday, June 6, the current leading rider and apprentice piloted home There’syourtrouble for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. That victory not only gave her 40 career wins as a jockey, but also graduated her to the next stage of her apprenticeship. She will now receive a five pound weight allowance instead of the seven she has ridden with since November 20, 2016 when earning her fifth win.    When asked if Clawson put any extra pressure on herself to achieve her 40th win, she responded, “That had been my goal for the week prior, was to get my 40th and unfortunately it didn’t happen. It was a good way to start off this week. I put a little more pressure on myself but it gives me more confidence knowing someone like that (Asmussen) trusts me with their horse. It was great to get the 40th win with Steve Asmussen and then 41 right after for Joe Sharp.”   Multiple wins on a card have become the norm for Clawson. When looking at the day’s races, she becomes a handicapper herself predicting her odds of a potential win, or two, or three. Clawson...

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Jockey Steve Hamilton Finding His Stride Again

by Laurel Park publicity LAUREL, MD – Nearly a year since his return following a decade-long absence from riding races, journeyman jockey Steve ‘Cowboy’ Hamilton has settled into familiar territory – in more ways than one. Not only is the 43-year-old Hamilton back in Maryland, where he first made a name for himself and enjoyed the finest years of his career, but he has re-established himself as a leading rider in one of the most competitive jockey colonies in the country. It has been a gradual but gratifying process for both Hamilton and his long time agent, Ben Feliciano Sr., whose partnership resulted in spring meet titles at historic Pimlico Race Course in 2004 and 2005. Hamilton battled for leading rider into the final day of the Preakness Meet at Pimlico, which wrapped up May 29, finishing in a six-way tie for second with seven winners, one behind co-leaders Horacio Karamanos, Feargal Lynch and Kevin Gomez. When Laurel Park opens its 33-day summer meeting on Friday, June 9, Hamilton once again figures to be among the main contenders. “I’m glad to be back in Maryland. I’m an Oklahoma boy through and through, but Maryland’s always treated me well,” Hamilton said. “I have a lot of relationships with a lot of people around. It’s good to be back in the atmosphere and the camaraderie and doing what I love to...

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Back from leg fracture, Albarado expected to ride J Boys Echo in G1 Belmont

by Jennie Rees LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Robby Albarado, sidelined with a lower-leg fracture when unseated after the start of an April 23 race at Keeneland, will ride J Boys Echo in the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets unless the jockey thinks he can’t do Albaugh Family Stables’ colt justice in the 1 1/2-mile Triple Crown finale. Albarado is to resume riding next Thursday at Churchill Downs, the day after entries are taken for the Belmont Stakes. He has been riding horses on his farm, and Friday morning galloped a couple for Romans. He is scheduled to work horses Saturday morning, though not J Boys Echo. “He’ll make the decision on whether or not he’ll be ready to ride a mile and a half next Saturday,” said trainer Dale Romans. “… It’s one thing to be ready to ride an allowance race here going a mile and a sixteenth and another thing to go a mile and a half with classic horses, classic jockeys. I think we’re all pretty sure he can do it. We’re just looking if there’s something we don’t know. But we’re not expecting that he can’t, unless he comes back and says, ‘I need a few more days. You’d be better off with somebody else.’ If he tells me he’s ready, I’m going to believe he’s ready. If something goes wrong in the race, I’m not going...

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