500 Biscuits in the Win Basket … Gilligan is Back! … Jocks penalty box is full


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500 Biscuits in the Win Basket–Beschizza Reaches Milestone

Gilligan is Back! Fit, humble, and hungry for more
Penalty box is full as four jockeys serve seven days

New Orleans, LA (February 3, 2022) – North American win number 500 for Adam Beschizza came on Holy Emperor last Saturday, January 29. Typical of his best, Beschizza gave a patient ride on the turf, letting the race unfold in front of him while saving ground, navigating between horses to keep stride and asking in the stretch – all timed perfectly to pass before the wire. Riding for trainer Joe Sharp, win number 500 brings his fifth year of riding in the States full circle. His first win came at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on board Tabaddol for Joe Sharp, the first of three in a row, all for Sharp.  

“It’s quite a fitting moment, right where we began,” Beschizza said. “Joe (Sharp) has been a huge part of my career since I came to America. He’s supported me every year. Hugely grateful to everyone who gave me an opportunity. But Joe has been like a family to me. I’m thankful to him and hoping our success continues.”

Coming off his strongest year, in 2021 Adam won 150 races and banked nearly $8,500,000. He has been ranked in the top 50 jockeys by earnings the last two years. With graded stakes wins on Mom’s On Strike, Bandua, and, Gam’s Mission, Beschizza has the feel of a jockey at the beginning of a special career.



Jockey Jack Gilligan returns Friday riding Semi Charmed Life (10-1) for trainer Danny Besancon in Race 5. Suffering a broken collarbone after Tripper John reared in the gate on January 10, 2021, Gilligan’s time away to heal extended longer than at first expected.

“I feel better than ever. I didn’t realize how messed up I was really these last couple of years with these concussions and stuff until I took the time off,” Gilligan said. “I’m hoping the improvement I feel right now will show on the race track. Hopefully I will do better than ever.”

Between 2014 and early 2021, Gilligan won 356 races amassing $8,767,893 in earnings. His biggest win to date came at Fair Grounds in the 2019 Mineshaft (G3) aboard Silver Dust for trainer Bret Calhoun.  Having plenty of success in his young career, he has taken that winning attitude to the gym to be cranked for his return. 

“I go to the gym five or six days a week,” Gilligan said. “A lot of cardio, a lot of time working the core in the gym. It hasn’t been until this last month that I’ve started getting back on horses, in the morning breezing. It’s been good and I feel really tight right now.”

Now fit and feeling fantastic, the new challenge is finding mounts.

“That’s the tough thing: you have so long off you kind of lose all your business, so it’s like starting all over again,” Gilligan said. “I’m not going to let it keep me down, I know it’s tough. I’m going into it with the mindset I’ve got to start from scratch again. I’m not expecting anything and I am thankful for whatever opportunities I can get. I’m just going to work as hard as I can to try and get back riding.”

In 2020-21, Gilligan enjoyed quite a bit of success with trainer Shane Wilson. 

“I hope I can start riding for Shane again,” Gilligan said. “I haven’t gotten on anything for him so far but he said he was going to find something for me. Right now I’ve got a mount for Jose Camejo on Saturday. One for Gary Scherer so far. I’ve been in there breezing for Al Stall so hopefully he might give me something.”



Four local jockeys are in the process of serving days for careless riding. Names and date suspension began: Colby Hernandez 7 days from 2/3. Reylu Gutierrez 7 days from 1/31. Adam Beschizza 7 days from 1/31. Declan Carroll 7 days from 1/29 (returns to action on Saturday with four calls).



About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 150th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 109th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 25, 2021 through March 27, 2022. More information is available online at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.