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Another Season In The Books
I can not believe this Fair Grounds racing season is over and we‘re all headed to our spring and summer race track destinations. I’ve always been told that the older you get, the faster time goes by. It seems like it was just Thanksgiving Day, a couple of weeks ago, and we were starting this season off all fresh and new, but here it is, the end of March and it’s all said and done for another Fair Grounds season.
First off, I’ve got to apologize for not posting more blogs during the course of this racing season. Although the season went by really fast, we (jockey agents) spent many long days in the racing office trying to fill races, or at least bump-up the numbers in some of the chosen races. Some of my extra curricular activities, like sitting in with the Harvey Jesus and Fire Band, kept me busier than normal. I’m not complaining about that because anytime I can perform with Harvey Jesus and his band is a guaranteed good time.
I also spent a lot of time working on the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fundraiser that was held on Monday, March 14th. I actually started working on the fundraiser right after the 1st of the year and it took up a lot of time and energy. The event was bigger and better than ever and we raised over $18,000 for the MacBeth Fund, which everyone knows assists injured and disabled jockeys and exercise riders.
This year’s MacBeth Fundraiser offered the usual raffles, door prize giveaways, live and silent auctions and dance contest. A new feature was our “Person of the Year” tribute which featured Hall of Fame inductee Randy Romero. Randy was honored with a video tribute and a commemorative gift presentation for both his racing achievements and induction into the National Racing Hall of Fame. A record crowd was in attendance at the Best Western Landmark Hotel to show their support for Randy.
Joe Sharp (assistant for trainer Mike Stidham) and jockey Rosie Napravnik successfully defended their MacBeth dance contest title in graceful fashion when they “out-boogied” Alex and Noemi Cordova (2nd place) and Javier Torres and Dawn Theriot (3rd place) in a very close dance-off. Live music was again provided by Harvey Jesus and Fire.
As for next year, Sandra Salmen (F.G.’s Horsemen’s Relations Director) and I are discussing the probability of combining the MacBeth and the Fair Grounds Horse Rescue fundraising events and making them one huge season-ending, fun fundraiser. We’ll keep you posted as plans progress.
Now, let’s talk about the end of the season and the respective category leaders. Rosie Napravnik was phenomenal and wound up dominating the jockey’s race. She not only drew off in the last couple of weeks to win in a romp, but she made history by becoming the first female jockey to officially win the Louisiana Derby and finish as the leading rider at this storied Gentilly oval.
Julie Krone finished first in the 1992 Louisiana Derby on Colony Light, but was disqualified and placed third for interfering with Hill Pass. Rosie officially goes into the record books as the first female to win the Grade II $1 Million Guaranteed “Run For The Orchids” winning on Pants On Fire for trainer Kelly Breen.
Rosie finished the meet with a remarkable total of 110 - 76 - 70 from 482 mounts and $3,651,190 in earnings. Did I mention Rosie was phenomenal? Rounding out the remaining “Top 10” jockeys were Shaun Bridgmohan, James Graham, Richard Eramia, Miguel Mena, Corey Lanerie, Jamie Theriot, Kerwin Clark, Brian Hernandez and Jesse Campbell.
Steve Asmussen racked-up his 10th local training title, tying him with Jack Van Berg for the most Fair Grounds titles, and Steve was inducted into the resurrected Fair Grounds Hall of Fame, joining Van Berg with that honor also, all in this final week.
The “Big Blue” barn had a worksheet of 46 - 32 - 36 from 227 starters and earned $1, 546,665 for their owners. The remaining trainers in this year’s “Top 10” were Tom Amoss, Mike Stidham, Steve Margolis, Bret Calhoun, Al Stall, Jr., Michelle Lovell, Wes Hawley, Merrill Scherer and Eric Heitzmann.
In the owners standing Maggi Moss topped the standings with 19 - 16 - 9 from 66 runners and $366,220 in earnings. The remaining owners completing the “Top 10” were Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, Valene Farms, Merrill Scherer et al, the Klein Family, Brittlyn Stable, Inc., Tri Star Racing, LLC, Southern Equine Stable, LLC, Carl Moore Management, LLC and Courtlandt Farms.
Thanks to everyone for all of your support during this 2010-2011 Fair Grounds racing season. If the spring and summer goes as fast as this winter did, then we’ll be back gearing-up for Thanksgiving Day 2011 in the blink of an eye. So, wherever your racing travels take you, I wish you good luck and good racing.
See you soon.