Richard Migliore has been selected to replace injured Patrick Valenzuela on Bordonaro in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita on Jan. 27.
“The fact that Richard won on Bordonaro’s full brother and because he’s been real loyal and extremely good to us were major reasons we went with him,” trainer Bill Spawr said Thursday morning of the 42-year-old Migliore. “He comes by our barn every day and checks in with us and he seems like a guy who’s going to work with us. He’s willing to ride some horses that might not have developed early on but could have a future.”
Migliore, winner of more than 4,000 career races and an eight-time riding king at Aqueduct before moving to Southern California full time last year, won aboard Bordonaro’s full brother, 14-1 outsider Furioso Star, on Jan. 10. Bordonaro and Furioso Star are by Memo-Miss Excitement. Each horse is owned by longtime Spawr clients Dan Casella of Las Vegas and Fred Carrillo of Laguna Beach.
"Dan wanted Migliore because he rode Furioso Star so well," Spawr said. "Fred was kind of waiting, talking about two other riders he preferred, but this morning he said it made more sense to go with Migliore.”
A major factor in the decision was Migliore’s availability.
“He’s also willing to travel with Bordonaro,” Spawr said. “If for some reason Patrick couldn’t make it, we would have a backup in Richard. I talked with Ron Anderson (Migliore’s agent) and he said he’s willing to go wherever the horse would go.”
The 44-year-old Valenzuela, last season’s riding champion at Santa Anita with 77 victories, has been sidelined since Nov. 26 with three fractured ribs on his right side suffered when kicked by a horse in the Hollywood Park walking ring. He since has had knee surgery as well.
Spawr, miffed earlier when Eclipse Award voters failed to name his grade I winner a finalist in the sprinter category, was mulling options for the 6-year-old Bordonaro after the Millions, which he won last year at Gulfstream Park.
“Now that he’s Breeders’ Cup-eligible, he could run in the Potrero Grande (April 7) after the Millions, or go to Dubai (for the $2 million Golden Shaheen on March 31),” Spawr said. The Potrero Grande offers $200,000 in added money, $100,000 of which is from the Breeders’ Cup fund for Cup nominees only.
Spawr said Bordonaro is scheduled to work “probably three-quarters” on Saturday with Migliore up.