By Gene Kershner
With the 2011 racing year winding down, let’s take a few minutes to see what’s been going on around the racing world since Drosselmeyer crossed the wire in the Breeders’ Cup Classic early last month.
-- Rapid Redux. The horse claimed for $6,250 by owner Robert Cole won his 21st straight race on Tuesday at Laurel Park, 19 coming during 2011, tying the all-time North American record set by Citation, the 1948 Triple Crown champion.
-- Rick Dutrow. His horses are 19 for 44 at the current Aqueduct meeting, winning at an astounding 43 percent rate. He is currently appealing a 10-year suspension for drug violations in New York State. He has three solid horses ready to enter the handicap ranks at Gulfstream in Trickmeister, Boys at Tosconova and Redeemed, two of which will run this weekend.
-- Ramon Dominguez. On back to back days this week he won four races, including eight of nine consecutive races. He leads all New York jockeys with 312 victories through Thursday and is looking to win consecutive Eclipse Awards as the nation’s top jockey for the first time ever.
-- Joel Rosario and Rafael Bejarano. On the left coast, these two top jockeys are waging a battle for the top spot on the Hollywood Park jockey leader board. Through Wednesday, Rosario leads Bejarano by three wins, 31-28.
-- Union Rags. He currently sits atop the Wynn’s Vegas Sports Book as the lowest price horse for next year’s Kentucky Derby. BC Juvenile winner Hansen is listed at 16-1.
-- Stan Verrett. Who? The horse racing world exploded on Wednesday after Rapid Redux made SportCenter’s top 10 list. Unfortunately, at the end of the segment, Verritt made an off-handed remark when discussing the possibility it was Rapid Redux’s last race: “so you know, if it’s a horse’s last race, that means only one of two things: Either it’s going to retire to stud or, well, you know…” Not cool.
-- Sam Hurd. Whoops, forgot this is a horse racing blog.
-- Gary Contessa. Typically a star trainer at Aqueduct and king of the claiming game, he’s struggled during the current meeting, winning only six of 65 starts through Wednesday.
-- New Jersey Governor Christie. Earlier this week, in a surprise move, he called the NJ Horsemen’s Association “completely untrustworthy” and threatened that racing at Monmouth Park could cease if a new deal to lease the track in Oceanport isn’t completed within a week. It’s not pretty in New Jersey these days.
Good luck this weekend at the windows!