Nakatani Hires Stevens' Former Agent

by Margaret Ransom

The saga of musical jockey agents in Southern California continued Saturday as top journeyman Corey Nakatani revealed he would retain veteran agent Tony Matos effective for the upcoming Santa Anita season, which kicks off December 26. Nakatani had been represented previously by Bob Meldahl, who will remain as agent for Hall of Famer Laffit Pincay Jr., since returning from a month-long venture to ride in Kentucky earlier this year.

"We worked together when Corey was first getting started," Matos said. "He worked for me on my ranch (before he became a jockey.) I've always wanted to work for him again and I am so happy to be getting this chance. I think we're going to do great and hopefully win a riding title or two together.

"I think Corey is the best rider in the country. He's a great grass rider; he's a great all-around rider, actually."

Nakatani, a five-time Breeders' Cup winner, owns multiple riding titles at Southern California tracks. The 31-year-old ranks sixth at the current Hollywood meeting with 10 victories going into Saturday's card.

Earlier in the week, Hall of Famer Gary Stevens announced he would be ending his professional relationship with Matos at the conclusion of the current Hollywood Park season and that he had retained the services of Brian Beach. Beach also books mounts for dual Eclipse Award winner Mike Smith.

Matos will continue to book mounts for Victor Espinoza.