(DRF) Santa Anita Notes by Mark Ratzky
The first time that Jorge Velasquez rode Goodbye Halo was in the Frizette last fall at Belmont Park, all he got was hot and tired. Two months later, when both had been transplanted to California under different cicumstances, they had a much more successful relationship as they teamed up to prove romping upsetters in the Hollywood Starlet. "My agent, Camilo Marin, heard the mount was open for the Starlet on this filly and talked to Mr. Whittingham. He decided to give it to us and when I worked her a couple of times before that race I could tell how much stronger she'd gotten in just a short time.
Velasquez Decides to Go Hollywood by Bill Christine
Velasquez, like another recent import from New York, Jacinto Vasquez, plans to stay in California if his business is good.
Velasquez, who will be 41 December 28, won the Kentucky Derby in 1981 with Pleasant Colony and in 1985 rode Proud Truth and Twilight Ridge to victory in the Breeder's Cup at Aqueduct. Riding many horses for trainer Wayne Lukas' Eastern division, Velasquez registered 57 stakes victories in 1985, a record that still stands.
Last year, however, Velasquez was no longer riding that frequently for Lukas, and he signed a contract to ride in France for Mahmoud Fustok. The winners didn't materialize, Velasquez' wife and three children had difficulty adjusting to the French life style an shortly after he misjudged the finish line with one of Fustok's horses in a stake race, the agreement ended and he returned to the United States.
Vic Gilardi, Velazquez' longtime agent, was booking mounts for another jockey, and business turned slow in New York. Before Wednesday's races at Aqueduct Velasquez had 32 winners out of 413 mounts in New York this year.
He won the Alabama at Saratoga in August with Up The Apalachee and took the Young America at the Meadowlands last month with Fiery Ensign and Velasquez finished eighth in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Hollywood Park last Saturday.
Breaking horses quickly is considerd an asset when competing against speed-conscious California jockeys, but Velasquez has never been known as a particularly effective gate rider. Still, with leading jockeys Gary Stevens and Chris McCarron sidelined for perhaps two months, there will be some intense scrambling by agents to pick up the horses they have been riding.
Stevens suffered a broken ankle the week before the Breeder's Cup and McCarron underwent surgery Monday to have a steel plate removed from his left leg.
Velasquez's agent in California will be Camilo Marin, who represented a couple of other Panamanian jockeys, Braulio Baeza and Laffit Pincay, early in their careers.
Velasquez on 'Masterful'
Santa Anita Park, Cal.-Jorge Velasquez has taken a call to ride Masterful Advocate for the first time in the $200,000-added San Fernando Stakes for four year olds at 1 1/8 miles here January 17, agent Camilo Marin announced Thursday.