Annise’s Anecdotes August 24

Denny Velazquez

Denny Velazquez

Denny Velazquez Injury

An unfortunate occurrence in race 8 on Saturday evening resulted in injury for jockey Denny Velazquez. The 20-year-old rider spent the night at Hennepin County Medical Center for observation. According to his agent, Charles Davis Jr., Velazquez may have damage to his spleen that will require him to be sidelined from riding in order to heal. The internal injury could become more serious if he were to continue riding at this time according to preliminary reports. Thus, Velazquez may not return to work for several weeks. Denny will remain hospitalized at HCMC for further observation for an additional 24 to 48 hours.

Festival Day Contender?

Lil’ Apollo just may be rocketing into Festival Day after a strong win in a $12,500 claiming race on August 24. The 4-year-old bay gelding was the winner of last year’s Minnesota Derby when he went four wide and drew clear of the field to triumph by 3 and ¾ lengths. Owned by Alice Theisen and trained by Randy Pfeifer, Lil’ Apollo dropped back during Sunday’s race to save ground, driving into the stretch to win by a length and a quarter. He paid $39.20 to win and finished the mile and 70 yards in a time of 1:44.64. Might the connections bring this horse back in a week to run on Festival of Champions Day?

Could two locals run in Mystic Lake Derby?

The road to the Mystic Lake Derby on September 13 is heating up after locals Chairman Crooks and Speed Is Life took first and second, respectively, in a $35,000 turf allowance Saturday night. Speed Is Life saved ground before charging into the stretch, attempting to close on Chairman Crooks but proved to be no match. Chairman Crooks won handily in a time of 1:30.91. Minnesota bred Speed is Life would have been a contender on Festival Day, but his connections instead decided to try their luck on turf to see if the Mystic Lake Derby could be a possibility. Owned by Ez-Az Thoroughbreds and trained by Doug Oliver, Speed Is Life was the winner of the $75,000 Minnesota Derby on August 9. Chairman Crooks, a Kentucky bred owned by Curtis Sampson and trained by Tony Rengstorf demonstrated a high level of class in yesterday’s allowance race. Perhaps the Mystic Lake Derby will be a rematch for these two.

Jockey Standings

Jockey Ry Eickleberry rose to the top of the jockey standings after two victories on Sunday’s race card. He now leads with 53 wins. Alex Canchari follows closely with 52 as he rides out a week-long suspension for careless riding. Dean Butler also piloted a winner on Sunday, bringing his total to 48.

by Annise Montplaisir

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