(from Santa Anita notes)
One of racing’s long-standing jockey/agent relationships came to an end when jockey Alex Solis handed agent Scotty McClellan his pink slip Jan. 27 after a successful run of 16 years. Brian Beach will now represent Solis, who had 10 wins from 57 mounts at Santa Anita through Jan. 25.
“I just needed a change, really,” Solis said between working horses on a picturesque morning at Santa Anita Jan. 28. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while . . . I just want to start all over again, get a fresh start. I can’t blame Scotty for anything, because I made a lot of mistakes the last few years. I said I didn’t want to ride cheap horses and didn’t want to ride Friday nights, and things like that.
“Now I feel I’m 100 percent. My mind is clear that I have another five or 10 years and I’m having so much fun that I feel like I want to ride more, no matter what kind of horses they are. I’m training (physically) like I was before, and I’m riding the heck out of the mechanical horse (in the jockeys’ room)," added Solis, who turns 45 on March 25.
“I’m exited about riding, and I think a lot of people have noticed that. The most important thing that gave me a wakeup call is how much I love riding races," he said.
“I chose Brian because he’s well-liked on the backside and he’s a great agent. He’s fresh, too. He wants to work and I want somebody to concentrate 100 percent with me," Solis explained, noting that McClellan also represents 18-year-old Joe Talamo, who had 17 wins through Jan. 25.
"Scotty is a wonderful guy who took care of me for 16 years, and the most important thing to me was for Scotty to understand how I felt," Solis said. "It was important for me not to lose our friendship. I am very sad, because we’ve been together for 16 years. That’s a long marriage on the backside.”
“I have no hard feelings,” McClellan said. “Alex is my friend, but if he thinks he can do better, more power to him. He’s a good rider and a friend. I just wish I had him when he goes in the Hall of Fame.”
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to come back representing a jockey of Alex’s caliber,” said Beach, who had been devoting time to a San Diego-area digital signage business called “Brandit TV” for the past 2 1/2 years. The economic downturn, he said, forced him to consider other options.