- I guess that Edgar Prado doesn't like the Polytrack either; he's three for 38 thus far at the Keeneland meet.
- Jockey valets at Aqueduct are not happy with an apparent rate cut. In the past, they've received 5% of their rider's earnings from purses, but that has now changed.
The valets obtained a Jockeys' Guild letter that states that a jockey may pay 2.5% of the rider's earnings from purses and that this fee would be capped at the winning jockey's share of a $250,000 gross purse.The valets are feeling the pinch now that the top riders are returning from their winter hiatuses. Eibar Coa, for one, seems to have taken a hard line.
"These are just guidelines," said Terry Meyocks, the national manager for the Jockeys' Guild. "A jockey and his valet should come to their own agreement." [NY Daily News]
"Now I pay my valet an extra two points in tips in cash," the jockey said. "If you really add it up it comes out the same. The only difference is now you work for it rather than automatically get it."NY jockeys will see their mount fees increase when Belmont opens on April 30.
"We're (the jockeys) going to stick together....They got me in a corner by myself," he said of the valets. " ... They're acting like a child."
- Following the announcement of the handle decline at Keeneland, Laurel Park has announced a similar 17% downturn in all-sources handle. Maryland Jockey Club Alan Dragone also cited the economy as a "prominent factor."
- Trainer Doug O'Neill is confident about the prospects of Lava Man. The now seven-year old son of Slew City Slew is prepping for the Khaled Stakes, on the turf, on April 27.
"He's full of energy. I think his coat and weight look excellent. He sure seems like he's the same Lava Man that we've been around that won the three Gold Cups."
"We want to bring him back in a spot where he doesn't have to go :22 flat and :45 flat," O'Neill said. "Those turf races tend to be a little more kind." [San Bernardino Sun]