Jockey Alan Garcia Heading To Oaklawn Park; Donnie Richardson To Handle Book

Jockey Alan Garcia, a mainstay at Woodbine in Toronto the last three years, will be wintering at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., for the first time. Donnie Richardson, the longtime Churchill Downs racing executive who left the Louisville, Ky., track in 2012, will handle his book. Richardson and Garcia worked together previously in 2014 until Garcia accepted an opportunity to ride in Saudi Arabia.

“We’ll both get (to Hot Springs) on Jan. 2, before the first set of entries are taken,” said Richardson, whose lifelong career in racing includes several stints as an agent.

Among the jockeys Richardson handled over the years were Hall of Famers Don Brumfield, Earlie Fires and Chris McCarron, along with Jim McKnight, Darrell Haire, Mike McDowell, Patrick Husbands and Jermaine Bridgmohan.

“I had Jim McKnight and Darrel Haire at Oaklawn back in 1971 or 72,” he said. “I was a racing official at Oaklawn for a while, too.”

Richardson, who said he was “born to the track,” got his first job selling programs at Churchill Downs at the age of 14. Over the years he’s worked in racing offices and as racing official in various tracks in the Midwest and South. He was assistant racing secretary at Churchill Downs from 1973-78, then left in 1979 to work as an agent for 11 years.

Richardson returned to Churchill Downs to be stakes coordinator in 1990, eventually becoming senior vice president of racing overseeing racing operations at Churchill Downs-owned tracks in four states.

Garcia, 32, is a native of Lima, Peru, who was that country’s leading apprentice in 2002-03. The son and grandson of jockeys, he came to the U.S. in 2003 and has since won 1,664 races from 10,915 mounts, his horses earning nearly $87.7 million. Garcia’s best year came in 2008 when he ranked seventh nationally by money won with $14.5 million. He won 232 races from 1,282 starts, his biggest victory coming in the Belmont Stakes aboard Da’ Tara for trainer Nick Zito.

Garcia’s other Grade 1 winners include Lahudood in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, Bribon and Divine Park in the Metropolitan Handicap, Real Solution in the Arlington Million, Stately Victory in the Blue Grass Stakes and Girolamo in the Vosburgh.

At the recently concluded Woodbine meeting, Garcia wound up ninth in the jockey standings, with 45 wins from 342 mounts.

“There are some guys shipping from Canada to Oaklawn, including Norm McKnight, who Alan’s ridden for,” Richardson said. “There’s a couple of others from Canada, too. I’d say 90 percent of the horsemen who will be at Oaklawn are people I’ve known for 25 years or more.

“I’ve always done well with any riders I’ve had,” Richardson added. “It’s just getting there and getting some wins the first few weeks.”

Oaklawn Park opens Jan. 12 and runs through April 14.

The post Jockey Alan Garcia Heading To Oaklawn Park; Donnie Richardson To Handle Book appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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