The first week of Aqueduct has been anything but dull: yesterday’s card handed us the fourth carryover, this one a double, as no one hit the Pick 6 on Sunday, either.
These juicy carryovers are due in no small part to the noise that a couple of female apprentices are making. Last Wednesday, the newly arrived (from Brazil) Maylan Studart brought home Decorated Court at 51 – 1 for her first New York win, and yesterday, Jackie Davis went her one just a little bit better, getting her first win aboard Blue Hill Bay at 64 – 1. New handicapping angle: bet the female apprentice at long odds?
Naturally, these two young women are garnering themselves a good bit of press. Jackie Davis spent the summer exercising horses for Allen Jerkens; her father, former jockey Robbie, lives not far from Saratoga, and in August, the Times-Union profiled Jackie, with Robbie chiming in. Today on the NYRA website, Jackie’s big win makes front page news. Studart gets similar treatment in a Jenny Kellner article.
And in other New York jockey news, belated congratulations to Richard Migliore for his first Breeders’ Cup win, aboard longshot Desert Code in the Turf Sprint. This week’s edition of Thoroughbred Weekly on MSG+ features a Jan Rushton interview with Migliore, back in New York for good, in which the Mig talks about racing on the downhill course and how the Turf Sprint played out.
Migliore explained that when he got to California, he made a point of getting to know the unfamiliar turf of the downhill course, an unusual landscape in U.S. racing.
I really made a concerted effort to go and walk the course and watch films…I
actually won more races the first year down the hill than anybody else; I won
15, and I think it helped a lot in this one.
Discussing how the BC race played out:
[Desert Code] used to be faster when he was younger, and he’s kind of changed,
he’s shown that he doesn’t want to be rushed as much. That being said, I
wanted some position, so we broke clean and I hustled him for about 50, 60
yards, and he kind of pinned his ears at me and told me he wasn’t comfortable
with that. So I said, OK, I’m going to trust you, I’m just going to listen
to you, and I dropped my hands, and just said, I’ll take my time. At the
three-eighths pole, I knew the way he was travelling, we were gonna get a piece
of it…I just waited, I said I’ve got to be patient, I was even talking to
myself, “Be disciplined, be disciplined.”
As Rushton pointed out, his strategy and his homework clearly paid off. [A side note: it’s a shame that this weekly thirty-minute racing recap show isn’t available on demand online or as a podcast. It’s a great way to see the races you might have missed, and their features are generally quite good.] Steve Haskin wrote about Migliore’s Breeders’ Cup win in The Blood-Horse, and earlier this year, Migliore sat on the jockey panel at the synthetic surface forum at Saratoga in July. You can read his remarks here.
I have two favorite stories associated with Migliore, neither of which took place on the track.
Last fall, back at Belmont after the Saratoga meet, at which the Mig rode after spending most of the year in California, the Caribbean guys standing at the paddock rail pleaded with him in lilting accents to come home: ““Miiiiiiiig! Come baaaaaaaaaaack! We miss you, man! Come back to New York! You comin’ back?” At the time, Migliore just smiled and shook his head, and before too long, he was gone back to the West Coast.
And in Saratoga Days, a must-read for anyone who loves Saratoga racing, author Sean Clancy devotes the last chapter to a first-person account by Migliore of his life in racing, his many injuries, and his love affair with Saratoga. My favorite part:
In 1985 I proposed to my wife in front of Lyrical Ballad. I had won the
stake that afternoon with BC Sal and we were walking towards the
restaurant. I had this whole thing planned, totally romantic. I
couldn’t take it—that ring was burning a hole in my pocket. I just stopped
and asked, “Will you marry me?” Now I take my kids to Ben and Jerry’s and
I look up there and say, “You know I asked your mommy to marry me right