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HRN Original Blog:
Bay Area Backstretch

April Brings Big Plans

Remember Me?

I know the name probably rings a bell…Bay Area Backstretch….oh yea, Golden Gate Fields! Now you remember don’t you?

I know, I’ve been missing for a few weeks. So sorry, but hey I’m back and we have a lot to catch up on.

So lets get started.

April Brings Big Plans

It’s been rather uneventful during the past month but that’s about to change in the upcoming weeks. This Thursday, turf racing returns bringing a lot of energy to the track. Many horseman have been waiting to get on the grass and  it’s bound to produce bigger fields. The first day already has three turf races with eight horses in each.

On Friday, the two year-olds get their first chance to shine as the boys go two furlongs. The race drew nine entrants.

On the final Sunday in April, the Grade III $150,000 San Francisco Mile is on tap, and it kicks off four stakes races over the next six weeks.


Baze Tops in the Nation

Through Sundays races, Russell Baze leads the nation in 2012 with 109 wins. That number was helped by his incredibly hot week last week when he booted home 14 wins in the four days. Pretty amazing when you realize Golden Gate only runs four days a week and lately had gone to seven races a day on the week days because of low entries.

Jockeys Come and Go

This week we see the departure of William Antongeorgi III, as he travels to ride the meet at Emerald Downs. Last years' Emerald riding champ Leslie Mawing is not sure if he will return there for this years meet. Mawing is enjoying a solid meet at GGF, ranking fifth in the jockey standings.

Two new comers that appeared over the last two weeks is a pair of apprentice riders, Irving Orozco (pictured above) and Ronald Richard.

Orozco, started his career riding quarter horses at Los Alamitos and won 8 races. He rode his first thoroughbred at Santa Anita last month and has made GGF his home. So far, he has gotten praise by a few of the local trainers that have seen him in action.

Richard, has made his way across the country where he last rode at Parx Racecourse in Philadelphia. In his career, which started in 2010, Richard has won 12 of 351 starts, according to the latest Equibase stats.

Local Ties to Louisiana Derby

When Hero of Order crossed the finish line first in the Louisiana Derby at 109-1 on Sunday, his trainer Gennadi Dorochenko was on top of the training world. Yes, it’s the same Dorochenko that rode the fair circuit here in Northern California, back in his riding days. Would I be bragging if I said I was his agent for the few months he was here? Too bad, I said it anyway. Take it as you want.

Jerry Hollendorfer’s Rousing Sermon was making his final attempt at proving he was Kentucky Derby worthy, after a couple of disappointing performances at Santa Anita. Sermon ran third, prompting Hollendorfer to tell reporters over the phone that he and the owners would discus a possible run for the roses.

Brittany Burrows Update

My following of aspiring jockey Brittany Burrows continues this week. You may recall in her last update, she told us she was needing to regain her confidence after a fall left her in some pain.  

"Right now i'm kind of on a low. I'm not really feeling the same as before I fell, I'm feeling like a different rider. Normally I get my confidence back but I seem to be going backwards and I think the horses can feel the difference as well. I've been working really hard on trying to get myself back. So now i'm learning about other things in the training aspect of it. I'll go out and pony the racehorses and watch them work. I'm not sure how much longer I have. We're going to see how things work out in April. If I like the training better, I can take a test and then start working with some horses."

"My desire seems to have died down for now, I don't know why but I think it's still there just hidden. It may come back, I don't know for sure. I still love the horses and the racing."

After reading this, I went to talk to her favorite jockey at Golden Gate Aaron Gryder. The veteran rider had a few words of advice for his young fan.

"If you have that fear out there, you can cause trouble for yourself and others. You have to put it aside. I can't say I haven't been in scary situations, but I've never been scared to ride.

"It's easy to be intimidated by that, you go fast and you hit hard. It might be something that she can get over, but you have to know it won't be your last time."

Good luck with your decision Brittany. 

 

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Older Comments about April Brings Big Plans...

plsntn. can be nice on some days in july, and miserably hot on others. track needs to be widened to accomodate 12 horses. also put in a turf course.
Love Plesanton, but hate the heat during their usual July meetins
yes, i've trained four 40 years, will be in the bay area (specifically pleasanton) for 5 days, 4-20 to 4-26, looking for 1 horse. i'm 72 and just do the wa ore fairs now,but need 1 more gelding to fill my 4 horse trailer. i can be reached at 509-930-6229 thanks
hay don, i'm looking for a cheap bush horse to run this summer, a gelding that is a notch below the $4000 level, do you know any that might fit the bill?
  • daugust300 · Jim, there are plenty of those kind of horses and they do a lot of selling behind the scenes. Do you train? have owners nearby? Best thing to do is come on the backside and network. Trainers and owners always swing deals over a cup of coffee.. · 994 days ago
dorochenko's win in the LD is proof that anything can happen in horse racing, i remember him when he came to yakima meadows and tried to ride, trie is the key word!!
Have you kept in touch with Dorochenko? It was an incredible win!

Categories

Meet Don August

I have been involved in horse racing, from a fan to sportswriter, for the past 30 years. The first time my dad took me to the track, I picked a horse named "Black Tornado" and when he won, I was hooked.  From then on, I spent weekends and occasional school days at the race track, and my enjoyment of the sport led me to try my hand at being a jockey agent, which i did for 3 years. When that didn't work out as I had hoped, I concentrated on my writing career by covering big races and doing summer fair handicapping, off and on, for the Contra Costa Times.

Today, I stay involved in the sport by being part of a group that currently owns two horses stabled at Golden Gate Fields. As all owners, we have dreams of someday having that special horse.  Besides writing about horse racing I enjoy covering many sports and have had the honor of meeting and writing about some incredible athletes.