Jockey Rene Douglas was in Florida Wednesday tending to personal matters, but before he left Santa Anita he was undecided on whether he would continue as a regular on the Southern California circuit.
On Sunday it was announced that he and his agent, Bob Meldahl, had parted company; Meldahl reuniting with a former client, Corey Nakatani, and leaving Douglas without an agent.
"This is something you have to be prepared for," said Douglas, a 38-year-old native of Panama City. Douglas hit the ground running at Santa Anita Park a year ago when he arrived from the Chicago circuit, where he was one of the leading mainstays for several seasons. Douglas won the riding title at Hollywood Park in the autumn of 2004. At the current Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita, he had won with two of 34 mounts through Oct. 10.
"This is business and not pleasure," Douglas said. "Bob has to do what's best for him, and I understand things weren't going as well for us as they were last year. But things happen. What I was a little upset about was that a lot of people knew before I knew. That's one thing I didn't really expect.
"But, anyway, there's nothing I can do and that's the past. I have to think about the future now and, honestly, I don't know what's going on. If you hear rumors about me leaving, that's not true. If it happens, it happens, but it didn't happen yet. I'm not thinking about it. What's going to happen to me, honestly, I don't know. I take it day by day and see what opportunities there are for me. I'm in no rush. All I want to do is win.
"If I leave, I leave with a smile on my face. I always wanted to be a leading rider in California, and I accomplished that. It's something I'll always be proud of."
Meldahl said he advised Douglas of his decision on Sunday.