Jockeys at Belmont Park this week began testing padded crops designed to be gentler on horses, according to a press rlease issued by the New York Racing Association July 10. The goal is to fully implement the new equipment by the start of the six-week Saratoga meeting on July 29.
Everything went Munning's way in the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park July 5. First, top sprinter Fabulous Strike, the heavy favorite, was scratched by trainer Todd Beattie. Then came a perfect trip for jockey John Velazquez, who drove the sharp 3-year-old colt through an inside gap at the top of the stretch on their way to a comfortable win.
Just 24 hours earlier, trainer Wesley Ward had warned that Jealous Again was much better than his historic Windsor Castle Stakes winner Strike The Tiger and on June 17 the 2-year-old Trippi filly proved these were not empty words when bolting from the gate to go clear of her rivals in the five-furlong Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot before kicking on again for an easy five-length victory.
History was made in the June 16 Windsor Castle Stakes (Eng-Listed) over five furlongs on good to firm turf on the first day of Royal Ascot, when 33-1 Strike The Tiger became the first ever American-trained horse to win at the meeting when holding on by a neck to beat Fratellino.
Lindy Redding's speedy Ravalo employed a stalking trip to gamely win the $100,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico Race Course May 16.
Quality Road, who figured to be among the top choices for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will not start in the Run for the Roses, it was confirmed Monday morning by Chris Baker, farm manager of Edward Evans' Spring Hill Farm. Jockey John Velazquez will now ride Mr. Hot Stuff.
Eight of the nation's top jockeys, including Eclipse Award winners Kent Desormeaux, Edgar Prado, Garrett Gomez, and John Velazquez, will square off in the inaugural Jockey Challenge at Pimlico Race Course May 15, the day before the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Informed Decision split horses in deep stretch and ran down 2-5 favorite Ventura to win the $300,000 Vinery Madison (gr. I) by a head in thrilling fashion April 9 at Keeneland.
Ruben Munoz, agent for jockey Gabriel Saez, will also handle the book for leading rider John Velazquez at the Keeneland meet that begins April 3.
Quality Road turned back a bid from even-money favorite Dunkirk in upper stretch and drew away for a sensational 1 3/4-length victory in the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) March 28 at Gulfstream Park. The son of Elusive Quality set a new 1 1/8-mile course record in 1:47.72.
Odds-on choice Game Face won the Gulfstream Park rubber match when she overpowered her rival Any Limit in the homestretch to win the $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (gr. II) by 2 1/2 lengths on March 15.
John Velazquez, a native of Puerto Rico and a two-time Eclipse award winning jockey, has been selected by a vote of his peers as the 2009 winner of the Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. The Woolf Announcement was made Feb. 19 on HRTV by retired Hall of Fame jockey and past Woolf winner Gary Stevens.
Cowboy Cal is headed to the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in one month following his hard-fought win in the $250,000 Strub Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Feb. 7.
Gulfstream Park presented the Jockeys' Guild with a $22,000 check Jan. 31.
Front-running Cowboy Cal, one of the few horses that Robert and Janice McNair kept after they sold Stonerside Stable to Darley last year, nipped 28-1 shot Informed by a nose to win the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 10.
Gemswick Park, sandwiched between two undefeated fillies as they lurched toward the wire, got her nose in front at the line to win an exciting renewal of the $100,000 Old Hat Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 4.
The champion filly Indian Blessing won her fifth grade I race when she inherited the lead from an injured Indyanne in the homestretch and went on to victory in the $250,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Dec. 27.
Jockeys from a majority of the leading tracks in the United States gathered in Las Vegas in the past two days to hear updates on Jockeys' Guild initiatives at the annual meeting of the Guild.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Informed Decision took advantage of blazing fractions in the $300,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes (gr. II), as the 3-year-old Monarchos filly came from off the pace, took control in mid-stretch and drew away to win by 4 1/4 lengths under John Velazquez while setting a new course record on the Keeneland Polytrack Oct. 18.
Favored Cowboy Cal gained victory in the $150,000 Bryan Station Stakes (gr. IIIT) when Keeneland stewards disqualified the original winner, Seaspeak, for interference in the stretch Oct. 12.
Shadwell Stable's Alwajeeha stalked the pace under John Velazquez, took over coming out of the turn, and held off a host of rivals to win the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) by 1 1/4 lengths Oct. 11 at Keeneland. The victory was especially sweet for Velazquez, who was involved in a bad spill just eight days before in Lexington.
InCompass Solutions announced Oct. 10 hat it had launched the Jockey Health Information System, a database that will store jockeys' updated medical histories and make it possible for emergency medical personnel at racetracks to instantly access that information in the event of injury.
Jockey John Velazquez was resting in good condition at a Lexington hotel Oct. 4 following his release from the University of Kentucky Medical Center. He was hospitalized a day earlier when he suffered a serious concussion in a spill at Keeneland Race Course.
Jockey John Velazquez was transported to the trauma unit at the University of Kentucky Medical Center Oct. 3 with injuries suffered when his mount fell in the seventh race at Keeneland.
Jockey John Velazquez reached a major milestone at Belmont Park Sept. 28 with his 4,000th career victory when he guided Rogue Agent to a six-length victory in the muddy first race.
Wait a While, undefeated in three starts on the Santa Anita turf course, earned her way back to the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) by winning Oak Tree's $400,000 Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) by one length Sept. 27.
East Coast invader Red Giant nipped Out of Control in a tough stretch duel to win the $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship (gr. IT) by a head in world record time during the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita Park.
Odds-on choice Wait a While returned to her winning ways with a repeat victory in the $196,000 Ballston Spa Handicap (gr. II) on the Saratoga lawn Aug. 21.
A nearly 10-month layoff did not seem to bother Peachtree Stable's Red Giant, as the 4-year-old colt powered down the stretch under John Velazquez and caught Stalingrad just before the wire to win the $150,000 Fourstardave (gr. IIT) by a neck Aug. 2 on the Saratoga turf.
Hal and Patti Earnhardt's homebred filly Indian Blessing, who began her remarkable career almost a year ago by breaking her maiden at Saratoga, returned for the first time Aug. 2 in the $250,000 Test Stakes (gr. I) and like she did in her debut, destroyed the competition. This time, the 3-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie won by seven lengths to earn the fourth grade I victory of her career.
In an effort to raise money for The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York has organized a basketball game between members of the Saratoga jockey colony and the Texas Titans, a 6th grade Texas-based AAU team.
Three years after last winning the Whitney Handicap (gr. I), 7-year-old Commentator returned to the Saratoga winner's circle when he galloped to a surprisingly easy front-running victory in the $750,000 Spa fixture.
Cutting back to six furlongs, Hal and Patti Earnhardt's Eclipse Award-winning filly Indian Blessing returned to the winner's circle for the first time since February, as she took over at the top of the stretch and drew away for a convincing five-length score in the $250,000 Prioress Stakes (gr. I) July 5 in the mud at Belmont Park.
Four new members have been elected to the Disabled Jockeys' Endowment Board.
Jockeys honored the memory of Eight Belles by wearing stickers on their boots or mud pants May 16 and 17 at Pimlico, which was hosting the 133rd running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and a variety of other graded races.
Ben McElroy's Roshani, the 6-5 favorite in a five-horse field, held off Lady Digby to win the Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a half-length at Pimlico.
A Kentucky Derby Day promotion facilitated by NetJets, the Jockeys' Guild, Churchill Downs, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association has raised $500,000 to benefit the NTRA Charities - Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Jockey John Velazquez will present the gift to representatives of the fund the morning of May 16 at Pimlico Race Course.
Favored Game Face held off a determined Keep the Peace by a neck to capture the $168,450 La Troienne Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs May 3.
Kicking off the stakes action on Derby Day, Tom Walters' Elite Squadron led nearly wire-to-wire to capture the $282,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) May 3.
Run Away and Hide stalked the early pace, took over just at the top of the lane, and drew clear to post a 2 1/2-length victory in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) May 1 at Churchill Downs.
Shadwell Stable's homebred Alwajeeha outdueled I Lost My Choo in deep stretch and then held off a late bid by Sweepstake, taking the $125,000 Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a head April 16 on the Keeneland turf.
Making his first turf start in more than a year, 21-1 longshot Mr. Nightlinger broke on top and never relinquished his lead, defeating 10 rivals to take the $125,000 Shakertown Stakes (gr. IIIT) by 1 3/4 lengths under Jamie Theriot April 13 at rainy Keeneland.
During her racing days, Take Charge Lady was known as the "Queen of Keeneland." That moniker was branded as a result of the Dehere filly winning the Alcibiades (gr. II), Ashland (gr. I), as well as the Spinster Stakes (gr. I) on two occasions. So it was only fitting that the first foal out of the remarkable Take Charge Lady made her debut at the Lexington racetrack. And, it was also fitting that the regally-bred filly won.
by Erin Nuckols - In 1986, Art Gray watched one of his closest friends -- driver William "Billy" Haughton -- die due to injuries suffered in a harness racing collision at Yonkers Raceway. The accident happened about two months after another driver, Dave Dunckley, was killed at Roosevelt Raceway in a similar type of accident.
William Clifton Jr.'s Hostess received a perfect ground-saving trip from John Velazquez, struck the front with a half-furlong to go, and edged away to win the $150,000 Orchid Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a length March 30 on the turf at Gulfstream Park.
Tracy Farmer's Commentator proved to be back in the top form he was nearly three years ago when he won the 2005 Whitney Handicap (gr. I), this time trouncing five rivals to take the $200,000 Richter Scale Sprint Handicap (gr. II) by 13 3/4-lengths March 8 at Gulfstream Park.
Cowboy Cal, a 3-year-old Giant's Causeway colt, captured his first graded stakes win Jan. 1 at Calder Race Course.
Mushka's future looks bright after she came from last to first to win Aqueduct's $200,000 Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) by 4 1/2 lengths Nov. 24.
Now a Victor stalked the pace under John Velazquez and then wore down longtime leader Shopton Lane in the final sixteenth of a mile to take the $100,000 Discovery Handicap (gr. III) by a length on the main track at Aqueduct on Nov. 24.
By - John Velazquez - Recently, the Jockeys' Guild has taken two critical actions we believe will strengthen the organization for the long term. In addition, the state of California has enacted legislation vital to jockeys and the Guild.
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