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La Jolla Win Is Sweet In Dice Flavor's Camp

Dice Flavor was well Sunday morning after providing jockey Garrett Gomez with an exclamation point in his first day back from suspension, and at the meeting, with a victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Grade II La Jolla Handicap.

As for the actual exclamation Gomez voiced from horseback while pumping his arm in triumph? “You don’t want to know,” Gomez said with a smile Sunday morning. “I was just glad to be back and happy that things worked out the way they did.

“To me, the biggest thing was the support from the fans. I had lots of people, many I didn’t even know, come up and give me congratulations and encouragement…lots of calls and texts from my friends.

“It was (gratifying) to show that I’m back and can still do what I’ve always done as well as ever.”

It was the third race, all in graded stakes, for Dice Flavor since returning from a trip to Dubai in March for an eighth-place finish in the United Arab Emirates Derby.

“If I ever have the chance (to race in Dubai), I’d do it again,” trainer Paddy Gallagher said. “It’s a great experience.”

Trainer Bob Baffert said that La Jolla runner-up Den’s Legacy came out of the race fine and would be considered for the $300,000 Grade II Del Mar Derby on Sunday, September 1.

Knust, Valenzuela Team Reunites

Comebacking jockey Patrick Valenzuela and his longtime agent Tom Knust are back together as a result of the latest rider-and-representative shuffle.

Knust, who served as Del Mar’s racing secretary from 1992-99 between stints of Tom Robbins, has represented Krigger for the past two years and also had Valenzuela, until knee problems forced his retirement last fall, and Mario Gutierrez when Valenzula was no longer riding.

Valenzuela returned on August 2, represented by Rick Evans.

“Patrick and I have had a long relationship, we work together well and we’re best friends and he persuaded me to take his book,” Knust said Sunday morning. “I thought about it a lot and in the end it seemed like the right thing to do.

“Believe me, it was a tough decision. I think the world of Kevin Krigger. He’s a talented rider and a very good person.  Kevin’s a pro, he knows how the game works and he’ll be fine. And Mario’s OK with it.”

Krigger’s new agent is Dudley Osborne, whose former clients include Jose Valdivia, Jr. and Orlando Mojica. Osborne also represents Julien Couton. 

 

 

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