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Horse Racing

You Can't Keep an Old Jockey Down for Long

Del Mar: On Saturday, seven retired riders will return for 5 1/2-furlong exhibition race.

September 06, 1996|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DEL MAR, Calif. — Ray York is the defending champion in the Rocking Chair Derby, and the 62-year-old former jockey has the horse to beat again this year.

For the ninth time on Saturday, Del Mar will stage an exhibition featuring seven retired riders. The race, with $32,000 maidens going 5 1/2 furlongs, will be run between the seventh and eighth races.

York, who began galloping horses last weekend for trainer Henry Moreno to get in shape, rode Push 'M High to a two-length victory in 1995. He will be aboard Naturally Stan on Saturday.

The six other former riders competing and their mounts: Rudy Campas, Johnar; Bill Harmatz, Fourth And One; Jack Leonard, Softshoe Rhythm; Danny Velasquez, Cause I'm Unique; Alex Maese, Glad You Asked, and Frank Olivares, Carolina Chipper.

Maese, 67, has been galloping horses here for trainers Sandy Shulman and Walter Greenman, and Harmatz, 65, for Bill Shoemaker. Velasquez and Olivares, who are both trainers, are on horses most mornings.

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Megan's Interco, who might become trainer Jenine Sahadi's Breeders' Cup Mile representative now that Fastness has been retired, will run in the $100,000 San Francisco Handicap at Bay Meadows, rather than the $200,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sunday.

Not happy that the 7-year-old gelding would be getting only one pound from Alphabet Soup in the local race, Sahadi decided to ship the Cal-bred north Wednesday.

Perfect in two starts this year and a winner of half of his 26 races, Megan's Interco worked an easy three furlongs in 37 seconds flat Wednesday morning, then left for Bay Meadows in the afternoon. Corey Nakatani, who begins a five-day suspension today, will be aboard Megan's Interco because the San Francisco is a designated race.

Besides Alphabet Soup, only three others are expected to run in the Del Mar Breeders' Cup. The other probables are Dramatic Gold, Powerful Punch and Savinio.

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With Nakatani deciding not to appeal his suspension, which resulted from Invictus being disqualified from second in the fifth race on Aug. 29, the door is open for somebody else to win the riding title.

Nakatani will finish Del Mar with 40 victories, leaving him, with five days remaining, four ahead of Alex Solis and six in front of defending champion Chris McCarron and Pat Valenzuela.

Solis had a pair of winners Thursday, taking the first with Maison Isobel and the fifth with favored Let's Drink Brunch.

Horse Racing Notes

Hollywood Gold Cup winner Siphon will be out indefinitely after suffering a muscle tear in a knee earlier this week. In his last start, Siphon set a fast pace in the Pacific Classic on Aug. 10 before finishing third behind stablemate Dare And Go and Cigar.

The last time Sovereign Sage, the favorite in Thursday's eighth race, ran, Elmhurst reared at the start and hit his head on top of the gate. On Thursday, I'm Checkin' Out, who was moving around just before the gates were opened, reared when the starter sent the field on its way, leaving only three horses to compete. Patrick won the race, rallying again to beat Sovereign Sage, but problems at the start are an almost daily occurrence at Del Mar.

Belmont Park kicks off its 33-day fall meeting today and the feature, the $50,000 General Douglas MacArthur Handicap, will be simulcast at Del Mar.

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