Jockey Miguel Mena propelled Robert Orth and Wesley Hawley’s
Couric to a front-running
7 1/2-length tally in Friday’s featured $51,000 allowance optional
claiming feature at Fair Grounds, leaving the Peruvian reinsman one
victory shy of the 1,000-career win milestone.
One race later, astride Kevin Mullikin’s
Pioneering Native in
Friday’s Fair Grounds finale, Mena reached that personal milestone using
similar front-running tactics on his way to a 3 1/2-length win.
big,” said Mena, after posing in the winner’s circle with his fellow
riders and a sign denoting the 1000-win accomplishment. “It’s the
result of a lot of hard work, and I made a lot of mistakes along the
way, but I’d like to thank God and all the people who stuck by me and
helped me get to this point in my career. I didn’t even realize I was
that close until I had that five-win day the other
day (Feb. 21).”
Mena ended Friday’s race day with 59 wins at the current session and was in fourth position in the local standings.
the featured penultimate race of the day, restricted to older fillies
and mares and moved from the grass to the dirt after morning rains,
Couric set the pace under Mena with splits of 23.93 and 47.50 before
accomplishing the mile and 70-yard final distance in over sloppy going
in 1:45.55. Trained by
Wes Hawley, the daughter
of Arch returned mutuels of $11.40, $5.60 and $3.20 and increased her
career earnings to $68,389 with her fourth win in 11 lifetime starts.
Coteau Grove Farms’
Harlie’s Dreams finished second, returning $2.80 and $2.20, while finishing a neck to the good of Cudney Stables and John Gunther’s
Eye to Victory, who paid $4 in the show position.