Martin Garcia, currently sixth in the Betfair Hollywood Park jockey standings with seven victories, has parted ways with agent Jim Pegram.
Garcia will now be represented by Pegram’s son Brad.
“Brad called me about taking Martin’s book,” said Jim. “He was a little hesitant. I told him go ahead and take him. He’s a live rider. We’re family, that’s business.”
Jim Pegram picked up Corey Nakatani, who will be his only rider.
David Flores, who had been handled by Brad Pegram, moves over to Saul Marquez. Brad continues to represent Mike Smith.
Brian Beach, who had been taking calls for Nakatani and Victor Espinoza, now only has Espinoza.
WITH MARJORIE L. EVERETT HANDICAP LOOMING, NAT WESS REMINISCES
When Marge Everett died March 23, 2012, it was a testament to her that Betfair Hollywood Park was able to name a race in her honor despite the fact the Spring/Summer meeting was less than a month away.
Everett wasn’t given just any race to represent her. Formerly called the Milady Handicap, Saturday’s $150,000 Grade II Marjorie L Everett Handicap has an illustrious history. Past winners include such female superstars as double winners Zenyatta, Azeri, Paseana, Bayakoa and A Gleam in addition to Typecast and Silver Spoon. All of the brilliant ladies named above have graded races named in their honor.
From 1972-1991, Everett was president and chief operating officer at the Inglewood track. Nat Wess, 73, a former Hollywood Park publicity director, worked in that department 11 of the 19 years Everett was chairman of the board and recently reminisced about his old boss.
“She had little interest in anything except what was going on at Hollywood Park,” said Wess. “Marge was on the backstretch most mornings at Hollywood Park.
“She’d park the Cadillac and go wandering around the backside. Everybody knew her. Even though there were some issues back and forth through the years, I think if you would have asked any horseman from the old days how it was to work with her, I think you’d get all positive responses.”
After leaving Hollywood Park in 1983, Wess held a variety of positions, including assistant general manager at Canterbury Downs and Bay Meadows, and vice president and general manager of the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.
Wess most recently coordinated the Claiming Crown at Canterbury from 1998-2010, but says he is now “100 per cent retired.” He calls Minnesota home, but does lots of traveling and spends his winters in Southern California.
Wess looked back fondly to a time when live horse racing was thriving in the Southland.
“I was in the Arcadia area all winter and had conversations with older ex-riders and horsemen,’’ he said. “Every one of them had the same basic line—‘We’re sure glad we were involved in this game in the 1960, 70’s and even the 80’s.”
FIRST GRADE I OF SPRING/SUMMER MEET ON THE HORIZON
The “Big 5” of the local filly and mare turf division are all pointing to the $250,000 Gamely Stakes, the first Grade I race of the Spring/Summer meet.
Nominations close today (May 16) for the 1 1-8 mile turf test, which highlights a special Memorial Day card, Monday, May 27th.
Lady of Shamrock, trained by John Sadler, won a pair of Grade I’s in 2012, including the American Oaks at Betfair Hollywood Park. Sadler indicated the filly is doing exceptionally well and on target for the Gamely.
Marketing Mix captured the Grade I Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita last year and has been runner-up in three other Grade I events. The Tom Proctor trainee has earnings in excess of $1.6 million.
Tiz Flirtatious, winner of the Grade II Santa Ana and second to Better Lucky in last year’s Grade I Matriarch, “worked awesome” last week, according to trainer Marty Jones.
Quiet Oasis and Halo Dolly, who won the Grade III Wilshire in 2012 and 2013, respectively, are also on course for the race. Quiet Oasis was second to Belle Royale in last year’s Gamely while the California-bred Halo Dolly will be seeking her 16th lifetime victory.
Sadler summed up the race well. “This could easily be the race of the meet,’’ he said.
EARLY POST TIME FOR PREAKNESS DAY
Post time at Betfair Hollywood Park for Saturday’s Preakness Day card will be 11 a.m.
In addition to the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes, Betfair Hollywood Park will simulcast 10 other races from Pimlico.
Track gates will open at 8 a.m. Approximate post time for the first import – Pimlico’s third race – is 8:30 a.m.
The Preakness will be run between the eighth and ninth races at Betfair Hollywood Park. Scheduled post time for the second jewel of the Triple Crown is 3:18 p.m. PDT.
Saturday’s feature events at Betfair Hollywood Park are the $150,000 Marjorie L. Everett Handicap, a Grade II for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track, and the $100,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for older California bred fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
Because of the early post, there will be no handicapping seminars (Escogiendo Ganadores and Hollywood Insider) Saturday.
CLOSING STRIDES —In conjunction with the second leg of the Triple Crown, Betfair Hollywood Park will offer the Preakness Dream Contest. One fan will be selected for each horse in the Preakness and the one with the winning horse will win $1,000……….Friday, the track will host another “Fiesta Friday,” featuring happy hour food and and drink specials and a chance to win a $100 wagering voucher…… Rafael Bejarano (18 wins), Edwin Maldonado (15) and Joe Talamo (14) have squirted five winners clear of four place Tyler Baze in the rider standings entering Thursday’s card…… Mike Ciani will represent 7-pound apprentice Irving Orozco, who is scheduled to start riding at Betfair Hollywood Park Thursday, May 23. Orozco has been riding at Golden Gate Fields……There are 138 contestants remaining in the $2,500 winner-take-all Show Me the Money Contest.
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