The local jockey colony will have a new look this meeting, with a mixture of familiar faces infused with established talent arriving from other circuits.
Most notably absent is Joel Rosario, a multiple-time leading rider at Betfair Hollywood Park who began riding regularly on the opposite coast in July. Inheriting the mantle of top dog is Rafael Bejarano, who led all jockeys during the Betfair Hollywood Park Summer meeting and has topped the local standings numerous times. The Peruvian born rider will have his hands full fending off 22-year-old Joe Talamo, fresh from his first Southern California riding crown at the recently concluded Santa Anita fall meet.
Adding to the talent in the room is Julien Leparoux, winner of Eclipse Awards as Outstanding Apprentice in 2006 and Outstanding Jockey of 2010. The 29-year-old has been the leading rider on the Kentucky circuit numerous times since arriving from his native France in 2005. Leparoux has permanently moved his tack to California in conjunction with his upcoming marriage in December to Shea Mitchell, the youngest daughter of Mike Mitchell, who ranks second all time at Betfair Hollywood Park with 888 wins entering Thursday.
Leparoux was scheduled to ride Swiss Tart in the 7th race Thursday for Mitchell, but the 4-year-old was scratched from the optional claimer for California breds. He should get substantial business during the meet from his future father-in-law. Bejarano and Leparoux are good friends and will share agent Joe Ferrer.
Also shifting his gear to California is Orlando Mojica, who will be represented by Dudley Osborn. Mojica entered the meet with 1,782 career victories and $27.6 million in purse earnings. Mojica, a 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico, is named to ride Imperial Pride for trainer Bob Hess, Jr. in Saturday’s fourth race.
Agent Joe Griffin said Wednesday that Eswan Flores, the leading apprentice in Southern California until slapped with a 60-day drug related suspension at Del Mar, will return to the saddle Saturday. Griffin added that Flores is enrolled in the Winners Foundation Program and has been getting fit by exercising horses during the two weeks since his suspension was lifted Oct. 24. Flores’ apprentice status lapsed during the suspension, so he returns as a journeyman.
An apprentice to watch is Juan Sanchez, who will be getting chances from several top trainers, including Julio Canani, for whom he will ride Bud’s Pal in Friday’s sixth race.
SADLER PROUD OF SWITCH, LOOKING FORWARD TO MEET
John Sadler, who guided Switch through a career that saw her earn $1.4 million, was proud as a peacock when the Quiet American mare was sold Monday at the Fasig-Tipson select mixed sale for $4.3 million.
“That’s a really big number and we were completely thrilled,” said the veteran trainer. “We’re excited to know that she’s going to Moyglare, which is the best stud farm in Ireland. We knew she was going to bring a lot of money because she has a very international pedigree.”
“It’s kind of the process, and you feel like you’ve done a good job and you’ve left her in good shape to go on to the next stage of her career being a broodmare.”
Sadler trained Switch for each of her 24 starts after the bay was purchased at the 2008 Keeneland Yearling Sale for $150,000 by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stables. She finished third in her final appearance, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, after checking in second in that race the previous two years. Earlier in her career, she won a pair of Grade 1’s – the Santa Monica and La Brea Stakes..
Looking forward, Sadler expects a strong showing this meeting. “We’re going to see Kettle Corn in the (Grade 3, $250,000) Native Diver Stakes (Dec. 1),’’ he said. Kettle Corn won his prep for the Native Diver, taking Thursday’s third on turf as the even-money favorite.
“We also have some new European 2-year-olds,’’ said Sadler. “Rising Legend, who was on the also eligible list in the Breeders’ Cup, will probably go in the (Grade 2, $100,000) Generous Stakes (Nov. 24) and Pussycat Lips will probably start in the (Grade 3, $100,000) Miesque Stakes (Nov. 24).”
Sadler also expressed interest in running Monument in the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes at 7 furlongs on Dec. 16, closing day of the Autumn meet.
$25,000 SUPER SUNDAY HANDICAPPING CHALLENGE AMONG NEW PROMOTIONS THIS MEETING
Racing fans will be given an opportunity to bet a little and win a lot in Betfair Hollywood Park’s new $25,000 Super Sunday Handicapping Challenge.
This is a live money contest that will be conducted on track and online via TVG. Every Sunday beginning November 11th, fans can sign up and wager $5 Win/Place on the last six races (total of $60). There will be weekly prizes of $3,000 for the top 4 finishers and the top 20 each week will qualify for the finals on Sunday Dec. 16. The final round will have $10,000 in prize money for those who finish in the top 5.
Other Sunday events are the $600 Pigskins and Ponies Contest, a free contest where fans need to pick the winner of 3 designated NFL Games and 3 BHP races to win their share of $600, and the $200 Football Pool, also free to enter, where the first 100 people that sign up each week get a chance to win a $50 voucher each quarter of the most significant afternoon (approximately 1:15 p.m. PST) NFL game.
Returning is Show Me the Money, a free online handicapping contest that begins Saturday. It is a $2.500 winner-take-all contest where fans pick a horse to show in one of six designated races each racing day and the fan who outlasts the competition wins.
Saturday at Betfair Hollywoodt Park is now Pick 6 Saturday. Starting November 10 and every Saturday thereafter, there will be a guarantee of $150,000 on the pick six pool. If the Saturday pick 6 pool hits $200,000, there will be a special Happy hour at Whittingham’s Pub with $1 beers, hotdogs and sodas. Moreover, if the pick 6 is hit by a sole winner on any Saturday, either on track or on TVG, that lucky fan holding the only ticket in the pick 6 will win a 2013 Toyota Prius – courtesy of South Bay Toyota.
The Prius is on display just inside the main admission gate.
Arguably the most unique contest at any track is the new Half Time Hitting Challenge. Every Sunday during the live meet one lucky fan will be chosen in a random drawing and have a chance to win a $100 wagering voucher. The fan needs to guess if TVG personality and former major league catcher Paul Lo Duca will be able to hit a target in the infield with a baseball. If the fan guesses correctly he takes the cash. The fan will also receive a signed baseball whether he guesses correctly or not.
OBVIOUSLY TO GET BRIEF REST FOLLOWING FINE BREEDERS’ CUP TRY
Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino’s Obviously, was resting comfortably Wednesday in Mike Mitchell’s barn at Betfair Hollywood Park three days after his gallant third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
According to assistant trainer Phil D’Amato, Obviously came out of the race in great shape. “We’re going to give him a little r and r, then bring him back next year and try to do the same thing—shoot for the Breeders’ Cup Mile,’’ said D’Amato.
“We’re going to turn him out this weekend in a little open grass paddock in Hemet for at least a month or two. “He lost his right front shoe somewhere in that race and in a race like that, who knows if it cost him anything or not. You need four shoes on the turf in a turn-of-foot kind of race, so we even thought more of him after the race.”
“On top of that, the horse that beat him (Wise Dan) is the Horse of the Year in my eyes.”
CLOSING STRIDES —-Two milestones are nearing as the meeting begins. Jockey Martin Pedroza needs two more victories to reach 3,500 in his career and trainer Sadler is two shy from his 2,000th win in North America…….Confidence Man: Brian Hernandez, Jr. sent out this tweet on his way to the airport Saturday night before riding Fort Larned to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Sunday—“In Dallas on the way to #BC12. Fort Larned tomorrow let’s show the world!!”…….Sadler is excited about Lady of Shamrock’s prospects next year. The Scat Daddy filly was a fast closing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf after a rough trip. “It was a good race for her,” said Sadler. “She had some trouble at the start and Mike Smith told me a horse came over on her in the stretch or she might have been second. We wish she would have won, but you know in turf racing that can happen.” …….The first weekend marks the beginning of the $5,000 Autumn Handicapping Challenge. Round 1 is between November 9-11. It’s a free contest where fans can win their share of $5,000 and a 50” Flat Screen TV. Round 2 is on December 1 when the TV will be given to the top finisher. Round 3 is on December 15 when the Grand Prize of $5,000 will be shared among the top 3 finishers……November 9th is the first Fiesta Fridays! Every Friday during the live meet there will be happy hour specials & Mexican munchies from 2-4.
There will also be a special drawing where fans can win a $100 betting voucher. Fans must be Gold Club members to participate in the drawing……Don’t forget Betfair Hollywood Parks free mobile app, I Go Racing, available in Apple’s ITune Store. Watch all the races live along with all the news from the track……In celebration of Veterans’ Day Sunday, veterans and active duty military personnel will be admitted free by showing proper I.D.
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