Trainer Hopes Fitz Fits in Jim Murray Handicap

Juan J. Reviriego, who trained several group winners in his native Argentina.

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Juan J. Reviriego trained several group winners in his native Argentina but is still trying to make his mark in the United States.

Reviriego, 61, shoots for his first graded stakes victory in this country Saturday with Fitz Flag in the $250,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT), the 1 1/2-mile turf centerpiece  of a graded stakes tripleheader at Hollywood Park.

“I came here three years ago and nobody knows me,” said Reviriego Wednesday from his Santa Anita headquarters. “Maybe in the future they will. Fitz Flag is a good horse.”

Fitz Flag, a 7-year-old who began his career in Argentina, has finished third in back-to-back years in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 3/4  miles at Santa Anita, most recently in his last start at Santa Anita on April 22.   

“Fitz Flag ran a mile in 1:32 in Argentina,” said Reviriego, who last year tested him successfully in longer grass races at Santa Anita. “I always thought he had the pedigree to go that far.”

Reviriego, a third-generation trainer, began as a jockey, galloped horses for the Horatio Luro stable and traveled to France for a stint at Chantilly. His brother, Victor Manuel Reviriego, enjoyed a successful career as a jockey.

Reviriego said the best horse he trained in Argentina was Poitiers, a triple group I winner in 1975-76.

Fitz Flag, a homebred owned by El Faruk Stable, has won five of 16 starts. He will break from the outside post in a field of six under regular rider Goncalino Almeida.