Hong Kong jockey wins on first U.S. mount at Ellis Park

By Jennie Rees for Ellis Park Publicity HENDERSON, Ky. (Sunday, July 30, 2017) — You couldn’t hardly find a more juxtaposed racetrack from the two in skyscaper-crammed Hong Kong (population 7.3 million and with the world’s largest betting pools) than Ellis Park, with its soybeans and now also corn and pumpkins in its infield. But the track affectionately called the Pea Patch is where Hong Kong-based jockey Keith Yeung had his first American mount — and win — Sunday, guiding favored Flying Tipat to neck victory amid a swarm to the wire of the $42,000 turf allowance feature. Young,...

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Oh, baby! Borel says he’s happier than with Derby victories

By Jennie Rees for Ellis Park HENDERSON, Ky. (Tuesday, July 4, 2017) — A year ago this holiday weekend, Calvin Borel was a visitor on the Churchill Downs backside, his first time at a racetrack since he suddenly retired with little explanation three months earlier at Oaklawn Park. The Hall of Fame jockey said he was just “chilling,” trying to decide what he wanted to do with his life after the relationship with a long-time girlfriend disintegrated. A lot has changed since then. Borel resumed riding last Aug. 27 at Ellis Park, the fans’ love-fest with the jockey picking right up where it left off. If his business was slower to resume, it certainly is picking up speed. In two days of riding at Ellis Park — he missed Saturday’s opener for his induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and did not have a mount Tuesday — he has won three of eight starts with a pair of seconds, including one by a nose. All three wins were horses trained by his long-time friend, Buff Bradley. But here’s the 50-year-old jockey’s life-altering event: His fiancee, Renay Falkner, is pregnant with Borel’s first child, a boy due in late September or early October. He also plans to adopt Falkner’s 2-year-old son, Stephen. Borel estimates he’s known Falkner for 20 years, including when she was an exercise rider for...

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Brian Hernandez, Jr. Talks Girvin & McCraken with Bob Fortus

Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., who made his Kentucky Derby debut last year, is in an enviable position as this year’s Derby approaches. Hernandez, 31, is the rider for two serious contenders – McCraken for trainer Ian Wilkes and Girvin for trainer Joe Sharp. McCraken, undefeated in four starts, won the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in his last race and is headed to the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 8.  Girvin, who has won two of three races, is coming off a victory in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds and will run...

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Robby Albarado Reflects Back on 5,000 Wins with Bob Fortus

Riding the claimer Vivacious V.V. to victory in the first race January 22 at Fair Grounds, 43-year-old Louisiana native Robby Albarado became the 33rd North American-based jockey to win 5,000 races. The day before, Albarado won the Grade 3 Lecomte on Guest Suite. As usual, Albarado, who has won seven Fair Grounds riding titles, is having a productive meet at the New Orleans track. On Friday morning, he reflected on his career in a question-and-answer session with award-winning turf writer Bob Fortus. Q: “So what about it, 5,000 wins?” A: “When you start out, you never feel like you’re...

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