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Jockeys Tough It Out In Sub 20 Degree Temperatures To Ride Thursday's Nine-Race Card
LAUREL, MD. 01-08-15---The temperature was 15 degrees when the horses left the Laurel Park starting gate at 12:30 p.m. and reached 19 at its peak but it didn’t stop 25 jockeys from riding Thursday afternoon.
Maryland Jockey Club general manager Sal Sinatra and racing secretary Georganne Hale met with veteran rider Sheldon Russell, the Jockey’s Guild representative in Maryland, after training ended at 10 a.m. to discuss the situation and worked out a scenario in which the riders took the horses straight from the paddock to the gate and unsaddled in the paddock instead of on the track.
“It was a good team effort to get it done today,” said Russell, who had mounts in five of the nine races. “All the riders were willing to give it a go. Georganne and Sal were very understanding of the situation. They allowed us to leave the jocks room with six minutes to post and go straight to the gate.”
Apprentice Michael Ritvo took it another step further by not wearing gloves on any of his four mounts.
“I have never seen that before,” added Russell. “I have to wear gloves. The hardest part on cold days like this is keeping your hands warm because we have to steer the horses and control them during the race. I still haven’t found a pair that helps keep my hands warm but the short post parades and hand warmers help.”
Temperatures are expected to rise into the 30’s Friday afternoon.
About Laurel Park
Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.