by Ryan Martin/Fair Grounds Barn Notes
GREEN FINDS PROSPERITY OVER FAIR GROUNDS CIRCUIT
Jockey Aubrie Green took a leap of faith when she decided to ride full-time at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots for the winter. Said leap has proven to be a good decision as the native of Boise, Idaho has been competitive on the circuit.
“It’s been really good so far,” Green, 30, said. “I was pretty nervous here because the jockey colony is so strong and I was worried about that, but I think that I’ve settled in with them pretty well. I’ve been fairly competitive and have just been working my butt off trying to learn from all these great riders.”
Green started off riding Quarter Horses on the fair circuits of her home state before getting on Thoroughbreds at Wyoming Downs, where she rode her first winner in August 2015. From there, she moved on to Delta Downs where she found very little success but turned things around when riding at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona. Green had better luck when going to Louisiana Downs earlier this year and had the opportunity to return to Delta Downs this winter but decided to give the Fair Grounds a shot.
“I was riding a few races at Delta Downs here and there so I was driving back and forth until the meet started,” Green said. “I was at Louisiana Downs earlier this year so I had a little bit of business that was half coming here and half going to Delta and I just really wanted to learn more so I figured that the better riders are here and I would learn a little more from them.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Green added. “It’s a little scary because these guys are tough, they’re strong and they’ve been riding for a long time and some of the biggest named riders are here this winter and so it’s been scary but at the same time it’s been really empowering because I’ve been able to compete and I’m winning races and I’m building new business and it’s been a great learning experience.”
Since deciding to ride full-time at the New Orleans oval, Green has been aboard seven winners and has finished in the money at 42%. Perhaps the highlight of Green’s meet so far has been scoring her 100th career victory, which came aboard Pocket of Candy on Dec. 20.
“Honestly I didn’t even realize that it was my hundredth win until I came into the jock’s room and Chantal Sutherland congratulated me,” Green said. “It was pretty exciting, it was really cool.”
Before becoming a jockey, Green was a full-time mother to her three children Eli, 9; Austin, 8; and Allie, 7 who have given her a good form of support.
“They love getting in a win picture,” Green said. “My daughter really likes the horses. She got on the Equicizer the other day and was pretending to be jockey, it was really cute.”
Green has three mounts scheduled for Saturday’s program: Just Due (Race 1), Rifle Man (Race 2) and Mr. Green Girl (Race 10).
DAVID ENJOYS SUCCESSFUL RETURN TO FAIR GROUNDS
It had been eight years since trainer Sam David, Jr. has wintered at the Fair Grounds, but when owners John Duvieilh, Earl and Keith Hernandez allowed him to train some of their better 2-year-olds, he decided to give it another go.
“I had their horses for a couple of months and they asked me if I wanted to come here and I said, ‘Yeah I’d like to stay with these horses for good,’”, David said. “They turned some of their young horses over to me this summer and we expected to come in here and do some good. We just didn’t know if they would all be running that well. I hadn’t been back here in eight years and it was a good opportunity because I knew the horses that they had. They’re all homebreds and I knew they had some decent young horses coming along so I decided to come down and give it a whirl.”
The Winter Meet has been a rewarding one for David, who has secured seven victories at the Fair Grounds so far this season and has finished in the money at 62%. The year as a whole has been equally as rewarding as the trainer has won 23 races this year while bankrolling $397,845, making this his most successful year since 2008.
“It put a little excitement back into it,” David said. “I was kind of in a mode where I was staying on the farm and not doing a whole lot so my wife and I were really excited to come back to the Fair Grounds and give it another go. I used to come here a lot but then I started staying in Lafayette at the Copper Crowne Training Center. When this opportunity came along I had to take it.”
David’s claim to fame was campaigning 1997 Kentucky Oaks winner Blushing K.D. Could one of his young homebreds bring him the same form of success?
“That’d be nice!” David said with a laugh. “I don’t know if we have one of those, but we’ve got some pretty nice ones.”
FOREVAMO OUT FOR REDEMPTION IN TUESDAY ALLOWANCE EVENT
Trainer Al Stall, Jr. knows a thing or two about learning from his mistakes, so when Brittlyn Stable Inc.’s Forevamo makes his second start off a layoff in a 1 1/16-mile allowance event on Tuesday, Dec. 26, the conditioner is doing things a bit different.
At the beginning of the year, Stall brought the Florida-bred son of Uncle Mo off a six-month layoff over the Fair Grounds main track where he finished second beaten a nose going a mile and 70 yard against allowance company. If Stall could turn back time he would have brought Forevamo back going one turn instead of two, so when the horse was put on the shelf following a lack luster performance in the Gr. II Churchill Downs Handicap in May it gave Stall a chance to redeem himself.
While Forevamo did not win his comeback race, a six-furlong allowance event on Nov. 26 at the Fair Grounds, Stall still believes that a change in training methods will do the horse some good in the long run.
“This last year we started him off the bench around two turns,” Stall said. “He fired a hard race that day but it maybe was too much for him. He didn’t progress like we wanted. So this year, we gave him time off and brought him back sprinting. We also castrated him and so we’ve been a little more gradual into this program so we’ll see if it works.”
In five starts this year Forevamo has gone winless, but can end his 4-year-old campaign on a high note with a big run on Tuesday.
“This is the one,” Stall said.
Forevamo will break from post three, where he will be guided by Robby Albarado.