Author: C.J. Johnsen

Red-hot apprentice Drayden Van Dyke leads standings at Los Alamitos

From the Paulick Report Apprentice Drayden Van Dyke, who had the second four win day of his career July 6, took sole possession of the lead in the jockey standings entering the final three days of the first Summer Thoroughbred Festival. Van Dyke, 19, doubled Thursday with Warren’s Tricia R., who won the first race as the 3-2 second choice, and Wackett, successful in the fifth as the lukewarm 7-2 favorite. Through five days of the Festival, Van Dyke has seven victories, two more than Joe Talamo. However, the Kentucky-born rider will be absent for part of closing weekend. Van Dyke will be at Arlington Park Saturday where he is scheduled to ride five horses for trainer Tom Proctor. Proctor, who saddled Money Clip, Van Dyke’s first winner last Nov. 21 at Hollywood Park, named the talented youngster on Myositis Dan in the second, V V Goodnight in the fifth, Chiseled in the sixth, Avanzare in the Grade III, $200,000 Arlington Handicap and Gulsary in the Grade III, $200,000 Modesty Handicap. The Arlington goes as the seventh while the Modesty is the 10th. In Thursday’s richest race for winners, Ya Wanna Hug, who was making her first start for co-owner and trainer Chuck Treece, led throughout to capture the $21,280 starter allowance for older fillies and mares. The 6-1 third choice in the field of five, the 5-year-old daughter...

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‘Comeback Kid’ Stevens to have knee surgery but wows ‘I’m not finished’

From The Paulick Report Jockey Gary Stevens, whose 2013 comeback from retirement culminated with victories in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and Classic, will be sidelined about six months while undergoing knee replacement surgery, the 51-year-old Hall of Fame rider told HRTV on Thursday. He’s been riding in pain recently and hoped he could get past the Breeders’ Cup without resorting to surgery, but it became too much in recent weeks. “Not going to happen,” he said. He’s hoping the knee replacement surgery will give him a fresh start. “In my mind, I’m not finished right now,” he told HRTV. “That’s my goal, to get rid of that pain and see where we are from there.” Stevens said surgeons indicated the “normal” timeline would be six months after knee operation to begin exercise but that he’s “already thinking about the rehab process. “It’s six months for a normal, typical sort of surgery and a typical person,” he said. “The one thing I have going for me is I’m a fit-fit human being right now and they’re not really used to seeing this type of person come in for knee replacement. They said that’s going to be a big benefit to me. It should shorten things up a little bit. Basically, what they’ve told me as soon as the sutures are healed up, we can go 110 percent, and that’s what...

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Saez off to a strong start in Kentucky

From the Paulick Report Apprentice jockey Juan Saez has only been riding in Kentucky since mid-June, but already the 17-year-old native of Panama has made an impression on several veteran horsemen. During an abbreviated Churchill Downs stint, Saez, younger brother of the talented journeyman Luis Saez, finished with a record of 5-7-2 from 27 mounts. Luis currently sits atop the jockey standings at Ellis Park, with a 5-5-3 record from 21 mounts. Several trainers have been impressed with the teenager’s maturity and poise in the saddle, and are certain the young rider has a bright future. One such trainer is Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, who was one of the first to start riding Saez. “He looks like a race-rider, acts like one, too,” Lukas told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “He’s very strong for his age. I think the sky’s the limit.” Read more in the Louisville Courier-Journal Share this:PrintTweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like...

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First U.S. win for Alexandra Jara

From Blood-Horse Apprentice jockey Alexandra Jara registered her first career victory in the U.S. while lighting up the tote board in the second race June 22 at Gulfstream Park. Riding in her 10th race since arriving from Panama, the 23-year-old 10-pound apprentice guided 81-1 outsider Naheelah to a head victory in the $25,000 claiming race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Jara is the sister of Fernando Jara, who rode Jazil   to victory in the 2006 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at 18 and was the regular rider of 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor  . She attended the Laffit Pincay Jr. jockey school and rode briefly with considerable success in Panama, “It’s great for me that I won my first race here,” she said. “One day, I’m watching races here and now I’m winning races here.” Jara overcame traffic on the turn into the homestretch with a wide rally to prevail narrowly on the Daniel Harvey-trained mare owned by Wellesley Charoo. She had to survive an objection from Edgard Zayas, who rode fourth-place finisher Wild About Jass, before being able to celebrate her first victory. “It feels great to get the first winner. I thank the trainer for giving me the chance to ride this horse,” Jara said. “He told me how to ride her and that’s what I did.” Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/85797/first-us-win-for-jockey-alexandra-jara#ixzz36LEIb4Ni Share...

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Fund-raising day set for disabled jockeys

From The Blood-Horse More than 30 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racetracks throughout the U.S. have been invited to participate in the first Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund’s “Day Across America.” Racetracks, fans, jockeys, and industry leaders are being asked to unite Saturday, July 26 in a show of support for the PDJF and its mission. Plans call for the day of awareness-building and fundraising with the theme “Taking The Reins” to become an annual event. Working with their local jockey colony, racetracks will promote the PDJF in fan-friendly ways that may include autograph sessions, photo opportunities, and video spots, PDJF said in a release. “We have contacted each racetrack that will be running on July 26 and have had a positive response that will raise funds for, and awareness of, the PDJF,” said Thoroughbred Racing Associations president Scott Wells. “Our goal is to educate our sport’s fans that the PDJF is a charity that must be sustained for the welfare of disabled riders and their families. “Naturally we are also hopeful that tracks continue to engage their patrons on behalf of the PDJF throughout their race meets,” Wells added. “PDJF is not just an industry acronym or letters on a ball cap,” said Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, Jockeys’ Guild chairman and PDJF board member. “This organization is dedicated to improving the lives and welfare of the men and...

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