The intriguing Russian-born trainer Gennadi Dorochenko
runs mostly longshots, so he doesn’t have a very good win percentage in
this his first season at Fair Grounds. Nevertheless, sometimes those
horses do win, as they have six times so far at the Crescent
City oval this winter.
something to keep in mind next weekend when the 52-year-old native of
Krasnodar, Russia, who speaks charmingly fractured English, saddles
one or possibly two horses in the upcoming Grade II Risen Star Stakes on
Louisiana Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford on Feb. 25.
Adena’s Chance finished second by a neck in his last start here Feb. 11, beating stablemate
Hero of Order by a neck, but in their previous outing, also as an entry at 57-1, Hero of Order ran a surprising fifth in Fair Grounds’
Grade III Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 21 while Adena’s Chance lost all chance when compromised by a wide trip throughout the mile and 70 yard-run.
don’t have big expensive horses like those I run against in the big
races,” said Dorochenko Friday morning during training hours. “Everybody
thinks this is an easy business,” he added (gesturing with his hands as
someone taking a sun bath) “but I have to work hard every day to keep
my horses running. I gallop all of them myself. I don’t ever have time
to take a day off. I haven’t had a day off
in almost 19 years. But that’s alright. Life is all about trying.”
a large stable of unknowns (Hero of Order broke his maiden here Jan. 7
while Adena’s Chance accomplished that feat at Hawthorne last fall),
it is unlikely that even if they both run in the Risen Star they will
draw much attention at the windows, but Dorochenko has been known to
strike suddenly when least expected.
Last summer at Arlington Park, Dorochenko started off the season by running his filly
Santina Dond in the Grade
III Arlington Matron where she ran eighth, then hauled her by himself to
West Virginia’s Mountaineer Park where she broke her maiden for a
$30,000 tag less than a month later and then hauled
her back to Arlington where she won the $65,000 Hatoof Stakes on
Arlington Million Day Aug. 14. On that day she returned a $62.40 win price.
Dorochenko, of course, is something of a longshot himself.
is a large city but has its equine oriented outskirts, so the
diminutive man with a grip of iron worked with horses all his life and
spent 33 years as a jockey in addition to training
and owning Thoroughbreds most of those years.
In fact, as a youngster, Dorochenko worked for the noted Russian horseman
Nikolai Nasibov, who rode
Aniline to a runner-up and a third-place finish in two renewals of Laurel Race Course’s
Washington D. C. International Stakes during the mid 1960s.
Dorochenko’s arrival in this country, with no money and no prospects,
was a struggle. Starvation was not an option, but survival was,
and so after an indifferent career as a jockey on the West Coast,
Dorochenko gradually began to make ends meet as a trainer and began to
blossom on a more prominent scale last summer in Chicago.
Dorochenko said of his first winter at the local oval, “but horses are
like people. They are all different, so I’m still trying to figure out
where my horses fit bit best down here.
But if you don’t run them, they can’t win.”
The $300,000 Risen Star Stakes, as the final designed local prep race for the
2012 $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby April 1
on closing day of the Fair Grounds season, is just one of six stakes
worth a total of $885,000 that will be run a week from Saturday.
MARATHON WOMEN REMEMBERS WHAT HAPPENED ONE YEAR AGO
It’s not an anniversary anyone would want to celebrate, but Fair Grounds-based horsewoman
Carmel Heitzmann, speaking on the shed row at her trainer husband
Eric Heitzmann’s barn Friday morning,
was quick to remember what happened exactly one year ago on this day.
injured when kicked by a horse in front of the stands Feb. 17, 2011,
Heitzmann’s life was in jeopardy during those first critical hours
and days, but following exploratory surgery that led to the removal of
24 inches of her colon, she was released from the hospital 10 days
Now, the British-born but Irish-raised former flight attendant is preparing for an upcoming run in the
New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on
March 4, but she’s doing it to raise funds for
Remember Me Rescue, owned and operated by
Donna and Dallas Keen.
The Keens were central to the rescue of a number of starving horses from a northern
Louisiana farm in January, and Heitzmann is taking pledges for her upcoming run that will be donated directly to Remember Me Rescue.
ran 16 miles yesterday,” said Heitzmann Friday morning, “and tomorrow
is my day off so I’m to try and go for a run of 17 or 18 miles.”
Remember Me Rescue has a specific area on its website at
www.TeamKeen.com that allows horse lovers to donate toward Heitzmann’s upcoming marathon run.