Author: Wynn Elliott

Sharp, Beschizza Going For More Success With Into Summer In Pago Hop

By Ryan Martin/Fair Grounds Barn Notes Trainer Joe Sharp and jockey Adam Beschizza have found a lot of success together at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots having won 11 races together so far during the Winter Meet, but they could take their success to the next level when Into Summer goes into the starting gate for Saturday’s $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes, a one mile event for 3-year-old fillies over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. Sharp first met Beschizza when working as Mike Stidham’s assistant at the Fair Grounds while Beschizza was galloping horses for the trainer. Since then, the two have developed a good relationship with one another. “It’s funny, he came here about six or seven years ago when I first met him as an assistant for Stidham and I sort of took him under my wing,” Sharp said. “He even flew in for my first Breeders’ Cup with Sapphire Kitten (4th in the 2015 Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland) and then he came back two years ago and I rode him in a couple of races here at the Fair Grounds.” While Beschizza would like to get a stakes victory for Sharp on Saturday, he believes that the sky is the limit. Should he win this Saturday, it also would be his first stakes victory in the United States. “I’d like to say that a win like...

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Jose Ortiz Makes Triumphant Return from Surgery Thursday

Press Release HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jockey Jose Ortiz made a triumphant return to the irons by winning Thursday’s opener at Gulfstream Park, his first mount since having minor knee surgery Dec. 3. The nation’s leading jockey with more than $27 million in purse earnings, Ortiz guided Suzanne Stable’s 3-year-old filly Shar Ran ($6) to a front-running four-length triumph in the seven-furlong optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up. Ortiz inherited the mount from jockey Julien Leparoux, who returned to Kentucky for the birth of his second child. Leproux is expected to return Saturday. “She bobbled a little bit but she was the fastest horse from the gate. Passing the chute she was on the lead without asking her for much,” Ortiz said. “She relaxed very well the whole backstretch and by the three-eighths pole I knew I had a lot of horse under me. When I asked her she responded really well. I’m very happy [trainer Mike] Tomlinson gave me the opportunity to ride her, and the owner, and she was ready. She was ready to win.” It was the 267th win of 2017 for the 24-year-old Ortiz, whose 351 victories were tops in the country last year. He had 43 wins and nearly $3.8 million in purse earnings from just 192 mounts during last winter’s Championship Meet, and is a leading candidate for his...

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Luis Sanchez Notches First U. S. Win at Gulfstream on First Try

Press Release HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jockey Luis Sanchez made an auspicious United States debut Thursday at Gulfstream Park, guiding Luna Lunita to an 11-length victory in the third race. “This is my first mount in this country. It’s always been my dream to ride here. It’s going to be a big challenge because the level [of completion] is so high,” Sanchez, a graduate of the Laffit Pincay Jr. Vocational Jockey School in Panama, said through an interpreter. The 21-year-old jockey, who rode 147 winners in Panama before venturing to South Florida, sent Luna Lunita ($7.80) to an uncontested...

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Geroux Off All Mounts Thursday And Friday To Be With Ailing Father

By Ryan Martin/Fair Grounds Barn Notes Jockey Florent Geroux took off all of his mounts for Thursday, Dec. 28 and Friday, Dec. 29 in order to be with his father, former jockey and trainer Dominique Geroux, in Paris, France who is in the hospital following an injury suffered when falling on Christmas morning. Geroux’s agent, Doug Bredar is unsure as to when he would resume riding. “His father fell on Christmas morning and some friends found him and took him to the hospital,” Bredar said. “It’s a day-to-day kind of thing and it’s really just a matter of what...

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Fair Grounds Horsemen Remember Late Van Berg

By Ryan Martin/Fair Grounds Barn Notes Following the recent passing of Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, several horsemen at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots have shared stories of the conditioner and how he has influenced their training careers. A native of Columbus, Nebraska, Van Berg is the all-time leading trainer at the Fair Grounds having won ten training titles at the New Orleans oval, which include six consecutive leading seasons from 1965-71. In addition, he also holds the record for most victories during a single season at the Fair Grounds when he won 92 races...

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