Author: Wynn Elliott

Jockey Title Race Remains Close

Del Mar Press Release Drayden won Wednesday’s first race and Flavien Prat answered with a victory in the second. That was it for winner’s circle visits by the top two in the jockey standings and Van Dyke retained a four-win lead over the defending summer season champion entering the final five days of the meeting. Van Dyke has 34 wins from 130 mounts, Prat 30 from 113. They were scheduled to ride the same five races on Thursday’s card and the head-to-head matchups are likely to occur in greater numbers down to the finish, especially with 11-race cards scheduled from Saturday through Monday. “I think it’s a great thing,” said Derek Lawson, agent for Prat. “I think we’re going to tighten it up and we’re sure not going to roll over. He rides 11 races on Saturday, he’s never ridden 11 in his life, and he’ll ride close to that on Sunday and Monday. “He’ll have time to recover when the meeting’s over.” The numbers reflect Peter Miller’s dominance of the trainer race. The Encinitas resident has 30 wins from 90 starters and a 13-win margin over second place Doug O’Neill. Miller needs three wins to top  Bob Baffert’s 32 in 2000 for the most victories in a title season this century. Farrell Jones’ 35 wins in 1963 looks to be catchable for Miller, but all-time leader Red McDaniel’s...

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Smith, Brothers, Gluckson, McGee 2018 NTWAB Award Winners

By Tom Law for NTWAB (Press Release) Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who rode Triple Crown winner Justify, will be honored along with Donna Barton Brothers, Jim Gluckson and Marty McGee during the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters 59th annual Awards Dinner on Oct. 31. The awards dinner, held during Breeders Cup week, will be at Whiskey Dry by Edward Lee on Fourth Street Live in Louisville, Kentucky. Smith, the winner of more than 5,400 races and a member of the Hall of Fame since 2003, will receive the Mr. Fitz Award for typifying the spirit of racing. Smith is the all-time leading rider in Breeders’ Cup history with 26 wins and nearly $36 million in mount earnings. At age 53, he rode Justify to a sweep of the 2018 Triple Crown, representing the sport of racing in idyllic fashion; throughout the high-profile series; his interactions with both his fellow racetrackers and the public at large were exemplary. A native of New Mexico, Smith has become very well acquainted with horsemen and fans throughout North America by way of his extensive travels, having started his career in the Midwest, New York and Florida prior to making Southern California his primary base since 2000. Smith’s $314 million in career purse earnings ranks second all-time, just one of many indicators of his phenomenal success and positive influence in the game....

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‘Brought Me To Tears’: Irad Ortiz Pats Wonder Gadot After Travers Finish

by Paulick Report Staff The first filly to run in Saratoga’s G1 Travers in more than 40 years, Wonder Gadot was up near the pace in the early going but faded to cross the wire last of the 10-horse field. A camera caught jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. giving the filly a pat as she crossed the wire, and horse racing fan Julie Wright was the first to put up the video on Twitter. Read More Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterGoogleLinkedInTumblrPinterestRedditLike this:Like...

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Mike Smith Coming Sept. 6; Signing Justify Prints For Charity

By Jennie Rees FRANKLIN, Ky. (Thursday, Aug. 22, 2018) — Mike Smith, who 2 1/2 months ago achieved the ultimate in his Hall of Fame career by sweeping the Triple Crown aboard Justify, will be at Kentucky Downs for the first time on Thursday, Sept. 6. The 53-year-old jockey won’t be riding but will be raising money for three charities: Old Friends equine retirement facility, which has a satellite operation at Kentucky Downs; the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, and The Giving Circle, an all-volunteer non-profit organization founded in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that seeks out communities in need to connect them with the resources to help. Sept. 6 is Old Friends Day at Kentucky Downs, with the featured race the $250,000 Old Friends Stakes, sponsored by Redbrand. Kentucky Downs runs Sept. 1, 6, 8, 9 and 13 over America’s only European-style turf course and offers some of the largest purses in the world. Smith will sign limited edition 18 X 24-inch Coady Photography prints of Justify’s Kentucky Derby victory for a suggested $10 donation from 1-3 p.m. CT, with the proceeds split among the three charities. The autograph session will be in the area near the Finish Line Pavilion. “This is the perfect opportunity for the public to meet and interact with one of horse racing’s great talents and sportsmen while helping these three worthy organizations,” said...

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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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