Since I can’t bet it on Twinspires, I’ve pretty much ignored Presque Isle Downs this year, but looking at Thursday’s results I was stunned to see how large the fields there have gotten. Nice full fields of 10, 11, 12 horses—although mostly $15,000 and under claimers. Still, better betting opportunities than earlier in the season when they could only card races with 5 or 6 horses.
At the halfway point of PID’s first full season of racing, last year’s leading trainer Tom Amoss hasn’t hit the top-20 (not sure he is even running a string there), while last year’s third-place finisher Scott Lake is way down in 18th place. 2007 runner-up Steve Asmussen (20% win; 56% ITM) is third, with Merrill Scherer (31% win; 57% ITM) second, and Gerald Bennett (22% win; 54% ITM) leading in earnings. Mike Trombetta is selectively starting horses here, but 6 of his 9 runners have won while 2 others have run in the money.
42-year-old jockey Ron Allen Jr. is enjoying a renaissance of sorts, as the leading jockey at PID (20% win; 57% ITM) with 56 wins and nearly $1.4 million in earnings. His brother Mike Allen (14% win; 44% ITM) is ranked 6th, just behind Ryan Fogelsonger (15% win; 43% ITM). Mountaineer regulars Rex Stokes III (20% win; 49% ITM), Dale Beckner (20% win; 58% ITM), and Scott Spieth (19% win; 55% ITM) hold the second, third and fourth-places, respectively.
Three female riders are also doing decent at PID, although with limited mounts: Brittany Arterburn (24% win; 49% ITM) with 51 starts, Chamisa Goodwin (9% win; 40% ITM) with 98 starts, and Mary Elizabeth Doser (16% win; 42% ITM) with 31 starts.
Speaking of female riders, apprentice jockey Inez Karlsson is making quite an impression at Arlington—she rode four winners last Thursday, the first female rider to ever do so there. There’s also an interesting article about her in last week’s Chicago Sun-Times.
By the way, if you’ve never had a chance to run across it, there is an interesting website run by Chris Forbes dedicated to female jockeys here, filled with interviews, photos and sporadic news. Very informative, although with an awkward format. He also has a MySpace presence.
This is the kind of fan site that we need more of, in the sense that it gives a human face to the sport. Other than the limited biographies that tracks may post for their jocks, there isn't much information out there and it certainly isn't covered in either the mainstream or horseracing press (unless its negative, like Pat V and others with addiction problems and/or criminal charges pending). Yet, I repeatedly run across detailed articles in the Australian press about their jocks, even those spilling the dirt about getting fired by trainers. Wouldn't that be cool?