When it comes to milestones, jockeys would do well to get a leg up from Julio Canani.
The veteran trainer put Martin Pedroza aboard 8-year-old
Irish-bred gelding Stoneside in Wednesday’s second race, and, thanks to a
change in strategy, it resulted in Pedroza’s 3,500th career victory,
Stoneside winning by three-quarters of a length at a $17 win payoff.
“Last time out (a sixth-place finish Nov. 17 at Betfair Hollywood
Park), Martin told me he was going to send the horse to the lead
because they were winning on the lead,” the colorful Canani said. “But
the horse doesn’t like to run that way. He doesn’t like to be rushed.
“This time, I told him to make sure he was six or eight lengths behind. Don’t send the horse. So, we got $17.”
Pedroza achieved his richest victory when he rode Martial Law to
a 50-1 upset in the 1989 Santa Anita Handicap, then worth $1 million.
Peruvian native Canani, who turned 74 on Nov. 13, said he also
gave Garrett Gomez a leg up for his 2,000th and 3,000 career wins, and
for Joel Rosario on No. 1,000.
Jack Carava, one of Pedroza’s long-time patrons, says the 47-year-old Pedroza is riding as well as ever.
“He tries hard and he’s always been a loyal guy,” Carava said.
“He’s ridden for me for years. You know you’re going to get your money’s
worth when you put him on. He’s got a lot of courage and as he’s gotten
older, he’s become a better rider.
“He’s more of a positional rider now and he’s still got some of
the good qualities he had when he was younger, but he’s become a smarter
rider with age.”