Exercise Rider

Keeneland Ringman Sends First Pinhook Through Sales Ring

Of all the pinhookers at this year's Keeneland September Sale, DeJuan Smith has definitely taken the most hands-on approach. While some sellers might watch anxiously from the back ring or in a seat in the sales pavilion, Smith will quite literally be on the shank of his own horse as it goes through the sales ring. Smith is a ringman for Keeneland and also a show person for Taylor Made Sales. On Thursday Hip 3452, his first pinhook project, will sell with Taylor Made. Could Smith be the first person...

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FTHA and 1S/T Racing Partner on Safety Equipment Voucher Program for Exercise Riders

To help the exercise riders at Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows comply with HISA regulations, the Florida Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (FTHA) and 1S/T Racing have joined forces to launch the Safety Equipment Voucher Program. The program will provide a $200 voucher toward the purchase of each helmet and a $200 voucher toward the purchase of each vest that is defective or not up to code to offset the cost of replacing equipment. Under HISA regulations, safety equipment is subject to inspection, and all helmets must meet one of the following...

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Exercise Rider Callie Witt Dies at Keenland

Callie Witt, 20, an exercise rider for trainer Joe Sharp, died Friday morning following a training accident on the Keeneland training track. The incident occurred shortly after 8 a.m. when Witt was thrown from a 2-year-old horse. Alpha Event Medicine, the track's on-site medical team, immediately attended to her life-threatening injuries. Lexington Fire and Emergency arrived at the scene within six minutes and transported Witt to the University of Kentucky Emergency Department, where she was pronounced dead from blunt force injuries. Keeneland Vice President of Equine Safety Dr. Stuart Brown...

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Former Jockey Julio Pezua Injured

Former jockey Julio Pezua, winner of over 1,300 races, was injured last week in a spill at Belmont Park. The 65-year-old suffered several fractured vertebrae in his neck, requiring surgery, and is still hospitalized on Long Island. Starting his American riding career at Calder in 1985, Pezua won several graded races, including the 1987 GI Manhattan S. and 1992 GI Met Mile. Since his retirement from riding races, he has remained at Belmont as an exercise and breeze rider. Owner Aron Yagoda started a Gofundme to raise money for Pezua's...

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California to Implement Exercise Rider Certification Program

In what is believed a first such program in the country, California's exercise riders will soon be required to pass an "Exercise Rider Certification" course to remain eligible for coverage under the state racing industry's Post Time self-insured workers' compensation program. The course consists of seven upper body, lower body and cardiovascular exercises, prefaced upon the British National Racing College's jockey fitness test. Exercise riders have until Mar. 31 to pass the exam. After that date, "Post Time members will only be able to employ Post Time certified Exercise Riders...

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Sherman to Retire From Training

Trainer Art Sherman, best known for conditioning dual Classic winner California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), plans to retire at the end of the year. The story was originally published by the Blood-Horse. Upon his retirement, the 84-year-old's horses will likely be split between his sons Steve and Alan. In addition to traveling and spending time with his family, the elder Sherman will do a little bloodstock work. Sherman was an exercise rider and jockey prior to taking up training. He was the regular exercise rider of Hall of Famer Swaps. Sherman's...

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Returning Worker Exception Act Aims for H-2B Relief

New federal legislation has been introduced that, if passed, could prove a fillip for trainers struggling to find and hold on to immigrant grooms, hotwalkers and exercise riders in a labor market already squeezed thin. The H-2B Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021, introduced Tuesday, is designed to "develop a long-term solution to permanently address" the annual H-2B visa cap. According to the bill as currently written, it amends the definition of "returning worker" to include anyone who has entered the U.S. on an H-2B visa in any one of...

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Exercise Rider Becomes TikTok Sensation

How do we market racing to the younger generation? It seems to be the million-dollar question, but an exercise rider named Electra Boone may be nearing an answer. In just two years, Boone has reached an audience of millions on TikTok. The assistant trainer for Palm Meadows-based trainer Carlos David posts videos on the popular social media platform showcasing her daily life on the backstretch. Today her account, @electraboone, has 150,500 followers and has received 6.4 million likes. Each of her videos receives thousands of views and some of her...

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Exercise Riders a Shrinking Pool of Talent

When Lorna Chavez moved from England to the United States in 1995, the land of abundance had a surfeit of skilled participants willing and able to don helmet and boot and join the nation's ranks of exercise riders. "I started in Delaware," said Chavez, a former jockey, of her time as an exercise rider for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. But that was a quarter-century ago. "Now, there aren't enough riders around," she said. "Especially good ones." And that means busy racetracks of a morning are increasingly populated with...

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Heather Smullen an Integral Part of Team Tiz

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - Every morning when Tiz the Law (Constitution) goes out to the track for his exercise, there is a Smullen from Oxford, PA on his back. Most days the likely favorite for the GI Kentucky Derby is carrying Robin Smullen, trainer Barclay Tagg's longtime assistant and life partner. Once a week, when the colt has his timed workout, though, Heather Smullen, Robin's 38-year-old niece, has the assignment. It is a challenge, she acknowledges, to keep the four-time Grade I winner to the task while not getting in...

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