Paco Lopez

Handle Up at Monmouth

Monmouth Park's 2021 season, which concluded Sunday, showed an increase in overall handle from 2020, with $173,511,161 wagered during the 55-day meet compared to $167,511,608 during last year's 44-day meet. On-track handle was $15,216,978 this year. Last season, which was hampered by attendance restrictions due to the pandemic, had on-track handle of $8,917,436. The simulcast handle was down slightly from $158,594,172 in 2020 to $158,294,183 this year. Jockey Paco Lopez took his eighth riding title at the Oceanport oval, while Wayne Potts was the leading trainer. Colts Neck Stables, with...

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Jersey Joe No More, Bravo to Ride Permanently in California

When Joe Bravo decided to leave New Jersey because of new regulations banning the use of the whip, his future was unclear. Bravo, 49, needed a place to ride, but leaving the comfortable confines of Monmouth Park might be difficult. He had been riding at the Jersey Shore track since the late eighties and has been leading rider there 13 times. But rather than struggling outside of the Garden State, Bravo is having a meet to remember at his new home, Del Mar. With a week to go in the...

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Monmouth Stewards Hold Hearing for Prat, Ruling Expected Sunday

Over a teleconference, the Monmouth Park stewards held a hearing with jockey Flavien Prat Thursday morning concerning his ride aboard Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) in the GI Haskell S. run July 17. The stewards called for a hearing after disqualifying Hot Rod Charlie from first place. In a tight finish, Hot Rod Charlie may have come over on Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow), who was in third at the time. Midnight Bourbon fell, tossing his jockey, Paco Lopez. Neither Lopez nor Midnight Bourbon was seriously injured. According to a Monmouth Park spokesman,...

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Doug O'Neill Talks 'Questionable' Haskell DQ, Whip Rules On Writers' Room

Trainer Doug O'Neill experienced the agony and ecstasy of racing early Saturday evening at Monmouth Park, all in the span of less than 10 minutes. First, his star 3-year-old Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) won a hard-fought stretch battle in the GI TVG.com Haskell S., which would have been the colt's first Grade I victory after a handful of near-misses. But quickly after the race, in which Hot Rod Charlie came in on Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow) and the latter soon stumbled and lost rider Paco Lopez, the red inquiry sign lit...

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NJ Commission Won't Commit to Request for Whip Rule Clarification

The accident and disqualification of the winner in last Saturday's GI TVG.com Haskell S. at Monmouth Park has rocketed to the top of racing's recent controversies, chiefly because of the polarizing role that New Jersey's newly implemented anti-whipping role may or may not have played in the stretch-run spill. Since the start of the 2021 meet at Monmouth, whipping a Thoroughbred has been strictly prohibited, except for the express purpose of ensuring the immediate safety of the horse or rider. As three horses battled for the lead in the stretch...

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Lopez to Join the Monmouth Riding Colony

Cory Moran, the agent for top Monmouth rider Paco Lopez, informed trainers Thursday by text that his client will begin riding at the meet June 5. Lopez's status had been up in the air as he was considering his options in the face of new rules instituted at Monmouth that ban whipping. Some riders have said they would not ride at Monmouth because they felt the whip ban created unsafe racing conditions. Lopez will not be riding at Monmouth this weekend, but that is because he has prior commitments to...

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For Second Day of Meet, Monmouth Will Have Plenty of Jockeys, Horses

The Monmouth Park racing office appeared to have no problem attracting horses and jockeys for Saturday's card when entries were taken Thursday. A 12-race card attracted 107 entries and there are 22 jockeys named to ride. There had been concerns that the track would fall short in both categories because some of the top riders have decided to sit out the opening weekend at Monmouth because they are concerned about new rules that prohibit whipping in the races, with the only exception being instances when there are safety concerns. "We...

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With Whip Ban in Place, Showdown Looms at Monmouth

With 10 days to go before opening day at Monmouth Park, preparations are being made to kick off the 53-day meet that begins May 28. Track officials are ready to go and so are the trainers and about 1,100 horses already stabled at the seaside track. But who will ride the horses? That question remained up in the air Tuesday. The New Jersey Racing Commission has passed regulations that will go into effect on opening day that will prevent jockeys from using their whips, except for cases when there are...

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Mike Stidham Talks Mystic Guide, Godolphin, Arlington On Writers' Room

With over 2,000 wins and dozens of graded stakes scores on his resume, Mike Stidham has well established himself as a top trainer in this business. But as of yet, his stable hasn't quite found its breakout star--one that can take him to Breeders' Cup glory and maybe even an Eclipse Award or two. That may have changed with the arrival of Mystic Guide (Ghostzapper) in Stidham's barn two years ago, as the Godolphin blueblood has steadily developed into a budding star, fresh off a jaw-dropping victory in the GIII...

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Lopez After Fight With Ortiz: 'I Don't Want Any Trouble Going Forward'

After scuffling Friday at Gulfstream Park with Irad Ortiz, Jr., which caused him to be put on probation for the remainder of the meet, Paco Lopez told the TDN Monday he is ready to move on. That there was a fight between Ortiz and Lopez was first reported by the Daily Racing Form's Mike Welsch. The fight was captured on a video that shows Ortiz landing at least three punches on Lopez following the fourth race Friday at Gulfstream. Lopez did not fight back. "For me, it's over. I don't...

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Into Mischief's Largent High-Steps It in Fort Lauderdale Upset

Sent off at odds of 16-1 as the lesser-fancied of a pair from trainer Todd Pletcher in Saturday's GII Ft. Lauderdale S., Largent (Into Mischief) settled in the latter half of the field and took advantage of a fast pace up ahead of him to cause the upset and likely earn a spot in the field for the $1-million GI Pegasus World Cup Turf next month. Largent landed behind midfield as Halladay (War Front) set a searching pace in advance of the fleet-footed Factor This (The Factor) with the equally...

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Breen, Lopez Earn Monmouth Park Titles

Kelly Breen, who capped the season with a pair of stakes wins on the closing-day card, was the leading trainer at the Monmouth Park meet which concluded Sunday. It was Breen's third training title at the New Jersey oval, but his first in 14 years. "It means a lot," said Breen. "To think back to when I last won the title 14 years ago to today, I lost both of my parents over that time and today would have been my mom's birthday. So it's special. I felt like I...

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