Author: Wynn Elliott

Toledo Crowned Laurel Summer Meet Champion

Laurel Park Press Release LAUREL, MD– Laurel Park lowered the curtain on its 40-day summer stand with a 10-race program Sunday as jockey Jevian Toledo formally wrapped up their respective meet titles. Toledo finished with 31 wins, six more than runners-up Feargal Lynch and apprentice Weston Hamilton, to earn his fifth career meet title. The 23-year-old Toledo led all Maryland riders in wins in 2015 and 2017, and ranked second in 2016. “It means a lot to me. I feel so happy and so blessed. It feels great,” Toledo said. “I feel very blessed with all the help that I get always, not just this year. I get a lot of help from the owners and trainers, and my agent does a really good job. I am very lucky and thank God to have the health to be here.” Toledo clinched top honors at the conclusion of Saturday’s Maryland Pride Day program when both riders went winless on the afternoon and Lynch was named in only four races Sunday. Hamilton won twice Saturday and once Sunday to move into a tie for second. A native of Puerto Rico who turns 24 Monday, Toledo missed seven weeks during Laurel’s winter-spring meet after suffering compression fractures of his T7 and T8 vertebrae and a collapsed lung in a spill during training hours Jan. 21. He returned March 9 and finished with...

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Van Dyke Wins Record-Tying Seven Races, Catapult Wins Del Mar Mile

Del Mar Press Release Providing red-hot jockey Drayden Van Dyke with his fifth of seven victories during the afternoon, Catapult, longshot winner of the Eddie Read Stakes a month ago, proved that triumph was no fluke with a come-from-behind triumph in the featured Grade II $200,000 Del Mar Mile Sunday. Van Dyke, who had eight mounts, tied  Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza for the most wins on a single day in Del Mar history. Outrun and blocked turning into the stretch, Catapult was guided between horses for running room, responded generously to Van Dyke to overhaul Fly to Mars in the final strides and win by a half-length in a fast 1:33.40 for the distance. Fly to Mars, who set a course record in capturing the California Dreamin Stakes July 28, was a length and one-half in front of Sharp Samurai at the wire, with Big Score fourth in the field of 13 grass runners. Tyler Gaffalione was aboard Fly to Mars, while Gary Stevens piloted Sharp Samurai. However, after viewing videotape of the stretch run, the stewards disqualified Fly to Mars from second to third for causing interference to Sharp Samurai in the final furlong, Sharp Samurai being elevated to the runner-up position. Catapult, who was a 21-1 longshot in winning the Eddie Read Stakes July 22, was sent postward at 5-1 Sunday and paid $12.20, $6 and...

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Puerto Rican Nieves Closing In On First Leading Rider Title At Louisiana Downs

By Martha Claussen (Paulick Report) Emanuel Nieves is a young rider with a tremendous work ethic coupled with plenty of skill in the saddle. He is 25-years-old, though many mistake him for a teenager, and he is quietly earning the respect of many horsemen and horseplayers in Louisiana with his versatile riding style and well-timed finishes. Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, a municipality south of San Juan, Nieves had an opportunity to attend Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school with a noted list of graduates that have reached the top ranks in North America. “It is a two-year program and I was there at the same time as Jose Ortiz,” said Nieves. “His brother Irad was there the year before and I got to know them both. They are really good people.” In 2012, Nieves made his United States debut at Finger Lakes in New York. He rode his first winner on December 5, guiding Wachiwi to victory in a $9,000 claiming race. Louisiana-based agent Angel Cordero called him and offered to take his book at Delta Downs, so he headed south and has ridden at each of the four Louisiana racetracks in the past six years. Last year, Nieves got the call from respected former rider and jockey agent Ronald Ardoin encouraging him to come to Louisiana Downs. “I was doing well at Evangeline Downs, and still ride...

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Geovanni Franco Living The Dream In California

By Hank Wesch /Del Mar (Paulick Report) The name, Geovanni Franco, registers as Italian. The birthplace listed in the Del Mar jockey roster says Mexico City. The word Franco received recently from a family sage took him to yet another place. “I had to go back to Mexico last year for an emergency, I got to talk to my grandfather and ask where his family came from and he said ‘Spain,’” Franco said Wednesday morning at the track kitchen in the stable area. “But that was a long time ago.” What Franco, 27, was doing Wednesday morning – exercising horses and preparing to ride four races in the afternoon – was the same thing he did Sunday morning. And his appearance on Sunday was as surprising as the young jockey’s family heritage to those who had seen the spill to which he was a party in Saturday’s 10th race. Franco and Corey Nakatani were both unseated and thrown to the turf. Franco came out of it with a bruised foot and was able to ride workouts the next morning and win Sunday’s ninth race on Johnny Strong ($39.80) for trainer Gary Stute. Nakatani incurred a back injury that will require surgery and will sideline him for several months. “You ever been on a roller coaster? You get to the highest point, you know you’re going down and there’s nothing you can do...

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Jockey Paucar Registers Milestone Win at Mountaineer

By Frank Angst (Bloodhorse) Edgar Paucar earned 3,000th career win in third race Aug. 6 aboard Determinator. Veteran jockey Edgar Paucar secured the 3,000th win of his career Aug. 6 when he guided Determinator to a 2 1/4-length victory in the third race at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort. A regular at the Ohio tracks, Paucar has finished in the top 50 in wins by a North American-based rider every year since 2005, including a finish of eighth in 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2013. Through Aug. 7, he has a career record of 3,001-2,714-2,536 from 16,451 mounts for purse earnings of $19,751,948. A native of Peru, Paucar began riding horses in North America in 2002. Click Here to Read More Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterGoogleLinkedInTumblrPinterestRedditLike this:Like...

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