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Jockey Jacinto's Joy is Being Casey's Shadow
Although he has been prominent in Fair Grounds’ jockey standings during three of the four seasons he has ridden here (he broke his shoulder in the other), Peruvian-born jockey John Jacinto may not be able to fly under the radar anymore at Fair Grounds after riding nine winners in the last two racing days in New Orleans through Saturday.
Last season he enjoyed a four-win day at the Crescent City oval, and on Friday he tied that mark, but with five trips to the winner’s circle on Saturday, including tallies in both Saturday stakes, Jacinto has journeyed into new territory at Fair Grounds.
“I’ve had six winners in one day at Shreveport (Louisiana Downs), but I guess with nine winners in two days I think I broke my own record,” said the amiable 30-year-old native of Lima. “It’s really special what has happened over the last two days, it’s been a big plus for me, but all I’ve done is what I always do—put them in a spot where I think they can win. Actually, at the beginning of this season things were a little tough, but things have begun to turn around for me now, thank God – especially this week. I hope I continue to finish up strong at Fair Grounds, and then go on to have a good meet at Shreveport.”
Jacinto has ridden successfully on more major circuits before at tracks in Kentucky and New York, but for this summer he wants to stay on the Louisiana circuit so he can be near his daughter Casey, who is currently living with her mother in San Antonio, Texas.
“Casey is about four-and-a-half now, she’ll be five June 11,” said Jacinto, “and she has the keys to my heart. I go to visit her at least once a month and I talk to her at least once a week. She picks me up, she renews my energy, and that’s all that counts. She’s the reason I’m going back to Shreveport, because this will be the first time she’ll be able to spend the summer with me. Maybe next year I can think about a major circuit again, but for now, I just look forward to spending this summer with her.
She’s pretty smart,” Jacinto said. “If she’s watching a race on TV, she can look at the screen and say: ‘There’s my Daddy.’ She used to see me on my Equicizer machine at home riding with a stick. Now, I’ve bought her a tiny little stick so she can sit on the machine with it, but she likes to chase me around the room with it instead. I’ve bought her a couple of ponies and she likes to ride them, too. Now, horses are in her blood.
“Casey might be the biggest thing in my life, but I’d also like to thank all the people who have supported me throughout my career here,” said Jacinto. “If I tried to name them all, I might forget to name somebody, and I wouldn’t want to do that. So I’ll just say they all know who they are. But mostly I’d like to thank my agent, Jerry Reites. He represents me really well. He’s been like a Daddy to me. I mean that. He really has.”
Rachel Alexandra Right Back At It Again Sunday Morning
Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was “right back at it again” during her regular gallop Sunday morning, according to Fair Grounds clocker Billy Pettingill.
“She came out on the track about 6:20 this morning,” said Pettingill, “and she was really full of herself once again today. They let her stretch her legs a little this morning, but she stayed cool, calm and collected. A lot of the horses out there today looked a little washy. It must be due to the sudden change to warmer weather, but not her. She never turned a hair. She was perfect.”
Discreetly Mine, Ron the Greek Work Sunday Moving Toward Louisiana Derby March 27
E. Paul Robsham’s Discreetly Mine, winner of Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star Stakes Feb. 20 as the final major prep for the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27, breezed four furlongs Sunday morning at the Palm Meadows training center while prepping for his upcoming engagement in the Louisiana Derby.
Meanwhile, at Fair Grounds Sunday morning, Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek, hero of the Grade III Lecomte Stakes here in the first leg of the local sophomore series on Jan. 23, appeared on the local tab going five-eighths in 1:03.40 in preparation for the $750,000 Louisiana Derby.
Three candidates for the Grade II New Orleans Handicap were on local tab Sunday. Richard Rudolph and Michael Vranich’s Stonehouse, winner of the Grade III Mineshaft Handicap Feb. 20, worked a half-mile in 49.40, while Virginia Tarra’s Giant Oak, third in the Mineshaft, went five-eighths in 1:01.40, and Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar, winner of the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic on Dec. 19, went five-eighths in 1:01.40.