McCarron and Came Home Easy Favorites in Affirmed Handicap
Updated: Monday, June 24, 2002 2:16 AM
Posted: Saturday, June 22, 2002 1:46 AM
Chris McCarron, whose mounts have earned more money than any jockey in history, seems destined to expand that figure on Sunday when he takes his last ride on Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) champion Came Home in Hollywood Park's $100,000 Affirmed Handicap.
His trip aboard Came Home in the mile-and-one-sixteenth stakes race for 3-year-olds will end an illustrious 28-year career for the 47-year-old Hall of Fame jockey who announced his retirement plans on Friday of last week.
McCarron has six scheduled mounts on Sunday's nine-race card that begins at 1:15 p.m., but it will be Came Home that carries him in his final race--the seventh race on "Chris McCarron Day" at Hollywood Park. The track plans a ceremony to honor McCarron following the fifth race and will distribute free, signed posters of the popular rider to fans in attendance.
Came Home figures as a heavy favorite the 24th running of the grade III event that two years ago provided Tiznow with his first stakes victory. McCarron rode Tiznow to unprecedented back-to-back wins in the last two Breeders' Cup Classics (gr. I).
In his first race since fading to sixth in the May 4 Kentucky Derby, Came Home will carry high weight of 124 pounds against seven rivals with far lesser credentials than the winner of five graded stakes.
Trained by Paco Gonzalez for the partnership of Farish, Goodman and Toffan, Came Home has been victorious in six of eight starts for earnings of $871,440. His only two previous races at Hollywood Park resulted in an eight-length maiden victory and a score by four in last year's Hollywood Juvenile Championship. According to Gonzalez, Came Home has been training "very well" for his return.
The complete field for the Affirmed Handicap, in post position order with jockeys and weights: Gobi Dan, Jose Valdivia Jr., 115; Kamsack, Kent Desormeaux, 115; Tracemark, Alex Solis, 120; Came Home, McCarron, 124; Fonz's, Victor Espinoza, 119; Calkins Road, Laffit Pincay Jr., 116; Laffit, Brice Blanc, 112, and True Phenomenon, Patrick Valenzuela, 115.
Tracemark seems to be improving for trainer Craig Dollase. The bay gelding won the $150,000 California Derby before running second in the grade III Lone Star Derby in his last two starts. Fonz's won the grade III Hollywood Prevue last November and was third behind War Emblem in the Grade II Illinois Derby. Calkins Road took the $250,000 Cal Fed Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 28. Kamsack finished second to Officer in last summer's Del Mar Futurity.
A victory by Came Home would add some $60,000 to the record career earnings by McCarron's mounts. His mounts have earned over $264 million. McCarron won Friday night's All-Star Jockey Championship at Lone Star Park in Texas. He has won six Triple Crown races including two Kentucky Derbys and nine Breeders' Cup races including the Breeders' Cup Classic five times.
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