April 15, 2008
With less than three weeks until the May 3 opener, the probable Canterbury jockey colony is beginning to take shape. I’m hesitant to speculate on jockey activity after once reporting the retirement of rider Larry Sterling Jr., only to find shortly thereafter that he was not hanging it up and in fact now 12 years later is still riding. I also recall, and I won’t name names, a certain Claiming Crown coordinator two years ago declaring that Eddie Martin Jr. was shifting his tack to Shakopee. We are still awaiting the arrival of Mr. Martin.
Depending on whom you talk to you’ll get both sides of this rumor. But this information I have received from a reliable source and confirmed it through another. The word is that Seth Martinez will not make a return to Canterbury this meet but will instead call Emerald Downs in Seattle his home base for the summer. He has always been popular with the horseplayer because one always got his money’s worth from Seth. No one rides harder to the wire, even if it is just to get up for fourth. So we would miss Seth greatly at Canterbury should he try the Great Northwest but wish him the best. There is another factor that could sway his decision so perhaps we still luck out and find him here.
Derek Bell, the 2007 leading rider, is expected to be back to defend his title. Jock agent Richard Grunder will once again handle Bell’s book. Adolfo Morales may also end up under the Grunder umbrella, which has proven over the years to be a pretty lucrative place to be.
Paul Nolan, off a successful Sam Houston meet, will be here as always. Agent Chuck Costanza will handle Nolan. Costanza will also bring Jason Lumpkins to Shakopee for the first time. Lumpkins, a journeyman rider, has won multiple riding titles and has made an impact from Ohio to Northern California.
It also appears that T.D. Houghton and Jenna Joubert will ride at Indiana Downs. That doesn’t mean we won’t see them here at some point this summer but most likely not in May.
Co-champion quarter horse jockey Jennifer Schmidt is still recovering from a training accident at Blue Ribbon Downs. She suffered a compound fracture of her left arm as well as shoulder complications. Jen is in town now but we won’t see her in the starting gate, under the best-case scenario, for several weeks
A possible newcomer is Tommy Molina.
Other riders likely to return:Jesse GarciaDean ButlerJuan RiveraScott StevensLori KeithNik Goodwin
No idea on Mike Ziegler’s intentions but I received this from Equibase today: Jockey Michael G. Ziegler is approaching a personal milestone of 2,000 all time wins. Through racing yesterday, April 14, Ziegler was at 1993 wins. He has no scheduled mounts for today.jm