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Monday Notes: Jacinto Back in Action

Jockey John Jacinto, sidelined by a broken wrist suffered during training hours at Fair Grounds on Dec. 2, visited the winner’s circle for the first time since his injury on Feb. 18 when he guided South Georgia Tigers’ Ide Ball to a 2 3/4-length tally for trainer Eddie Johnston during the most recent Starlight Racing program.

A year ago, Jacinto finished the Fair Grounds season third in the standings with 66 wins, but due to his extended absence this winter, the victory aboard Ide Ball was only Jacinto’s fifth since the 2010-2011 Fair Grounds meeting began on Nov. 25.

Last Friday, the unassuming but always smiling Jacinto doubled that total, winning five races on the 10-race program to bring his seasonal record up to double digits.

“I’ve always felt that everything happens for a reason,” said Jacinto, “and I try to think good thoughts all the time because I feel that God will take care of good people. He helped me through all the time I wasn’t able to ride, and when I can come back and win five races in one day like that it makes me feel like he’s helping me once again.

“I feel very good since I’ve come back this time,” said Jacinto. “I feel stronger than I did before and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season here. When the season is over here, I’m going to go back to Lafayette. I won the title there last year, and I’m going to try to win another one.”

Jacinto’s five-win Friday began in the second half of the Daily Double on Kim and John Glenney’s Fancy Fiona for trainer John Glenney and continued in the next race aboard William Deckwa Jr’s Lee City, once again for Eddie Johnston. The 31-year-old native of Lima, Peru, came back to the winner’s circle after the fifth astride Love Partnership Interests’ Texas Citizen for conditioner Dallas Keen, continued after the seventh on TRACC Masters Racing Stable’s Dynamic Time for trainer Alex Dunn, and concluded in the finale aboard Bryant Prentice III’s Run Matty for trainer Tony Richey. 

MIGUEL MENA THREE WINS SHY OF 1,000-CAREER WIN MILESTONE – Jockey Miguel Mena entered Monday’s nine-race program at Fair Grounds with 997 wins and five mounts scheduled for the day.

Mena’s Monday begins in the fifth race with the mount on Dan Lynch, Ken Sentel and Merrill Scherer’s Goodtimehadbyall for trainer Merrill Scherer at 5-1 in the morning line and continues in the sixth on Northpointe Thoroughbred’ A Million Fields for trainer Steven Duke at 8-1. Mena comes right back in the seventh on Chris Greene and Ralph and Don Stroope’s Eur O So Bad for conditioner Ronny Werner at 8-1 and concludes in the eighth on Israel Flores Horses’ Debris for Tony Richey, also at 8-1 in the morning line.

Mena, incidentally, celebrated a five-win day at Fair Grounds a week ago to jump well into the 1,000-career win milestone countdown.

RICK MOCKLIN RETURNS TO ANNOUNCER’S BOOTH FOR THREE RACES – Jockey agent Rick Mocklin, who has been handling the engagements of jockey Richard Eramia at Fair Grounds for the last two winters, returned to his previous career as a racetrack announcer for three races Friday while regular Fair Grounds announcer John G. Dooley fulfilled another commitment.

“I filled in for John for a couple of races last season, but it had been over a year since I stepped up to the microphone,” Mocklin said. “In the first race I called, I felt a little shaky, but in the next two I felt I did a pretty good job. I enjoyed it a lot.

“It’s good to keep in practice,” said Mocklin. “It was a lot of fun. It made me realize how much I miss it, but, of course, the money’s a lot better for me as an agent.”

Mocklin served as the longtime announcer at Jefferson Downs from September of 1974 until November of 1992. He was the back-up announcer at Fair Grounds during the years Tony Bentley was the Thoroughbred announcer here, and also manned the horns at Ellis Park for the 1994, 1995 and 1996 summer seasons at the western Kentucky oval. Mocklin was also the announcer for the first two Thoroughbred meetings at Sam Houston Park in Texas when that track opened.

“It’s the kicks,” said Mocklin of calling races over a public address system. “It’s fun to do.”

Dooley was busy participating in a Fair Grounds Human Resources initiative called “Walk-a-Day” requiring full-time employees to spend part of a day performing the job duties of a coworker in another department. Dooley worked as a busboy and waiter in the Clubhouse.