AGOS Horses to Watch – August 7, 2017

Saratoga

7/22/17

Race #7 – AOC $62,500 – 5 1/2f on the turf – #10 – Vici

Vici = Irad Ortiz for Ben Colebrook as they brought a son of War Front to post. He made a flying move going 6f on the sod getting beat at the wire. They dropped him back to 5 1/2f on the weeds and he was 3/3 ITM going this distance. He came into the race with a bullet work at Keeneland and tipped off going four wide to get rolling. The four wide trip became 7 wide and was beaten by a head in a photo by his ultra talented brother Jose. This wasn’t the first Ortiz brother exacta, and it surely won’t be the last. But this guy will come guns blazing next out at the Spa.

Race #9 – The G3 Sanford – 6f on the main – #4 – Free Drop Billy

Free Drop Billy = Robby Albarado in the saddle for Dale Romans. This son of Union Rags was (15-1) on the morning line and was sent off (3-1). – He was an impressive winner at first asking at CD and had a blistering work over the deep Louisville track two works back in 1:00.03 1/32 for the day and distance. The public hammered him at the windows and so did Admiral Jimmy leaving the starting gate. Once he got rolling he went 4 wide chasing down the leader only to settle for the place spot. – Kentucky runners are doing well at Saratoga and you can’t keep Romans off your ticket if you want to cash it right after the race.

7/23/17

Race #7 – Claiming – 6f on the main – #6 – Nisha

Nisha = Irad Ortiz in the irons and was shooting for three-in-a-row. He stumbled badly at the start and recovered his action only to slam into Courtmewithcarats. After that little smash-up, he was pinched back and made a stout five wide move to be third. He’ll come back nicely and probably it will be on the Saratoga lawn.

Race #11 – Mdn Claiming – 1 mile on the turf – #11 – Prognostication

Prognostication = Jose Ortiz for Chad Brown and is a good stalker. Ortiz sensed average fractions and made a quick move and jumped into 2nd keeping an eye on the leader. He was a beaten chalk last out and was sent off the odds-on choice today as well. – He couldn’t have looked any better with the talented Ortiz aboard but got leg weary down the lane getting the show dough. Next out he’ll be a major player.

 

Belterra Park

7/23/17

Race #8 – Claiming – 6f on the main – #4 – Super Franchise

Super Franchise = Gabriel Lagunes for Webster Rosello (28%). He was dropping down from condition $10,000 to condition $7,500. – He hopped at the start and was off poorly. Lagunes had him in high gear and put together a late rally that really caught my eye as he finished a solid third.

7/29/17

Race #3 – Mdn Sp Wt – 1 1/16 on the turf – #6 – Grey Queen

#6 – Grey Queen = Shipping in from Indiana Grand for the Calumet Farm connections. Edgar Paucar was the rider and trainer Jose Fernandez is winning (20%) on the year. – This daughter of More Than Ready was blocked, shuffled back and still came flying very quickly to be a bridesmaid this day. – She gets her picture taken next out with a cleaner trip.

Race #4 – Starter Alw – 1 3/16 on the main – #4 – National Defense

#4 – National Defense = Solid gelding shooting for three-in-a-row. He was 6/8 ITM over the track and made a perfect stalking move under Euclyn Prentice Jr. – He made a ground saving move against the rail and tried to tip off for clear sailing. He was impeded and blocked and was forced to settle for 3rd until a DQ placed him 2nd. I spoke with the riders after he had a meeting with the stewards over this incident and the rider felt he had the best horse by far and lost much of his momentum after being forced to check up off heels. – He’ll be a tough guy next time to the races.

 

The Case for Perry Ouzts

Why this Legendary Midwest Rider should be in the Hall of Fame

by Ed Meyer

How many things have you done 48,413 times in your lifetime?  Toss out sleeping, eating, blinking and smiling and count again. Perry Wayne Ouzts’ name is being tossed around for the 2017 Hall of Fame.   To date he has 6,628 wins, 6,283 place finishes, and 5,973 show finishes. That has him 18,883 times in the money (top 3), and with over $41,816,149 in purses to his credit and a career win percentage of 14% and 39% (ITM), he is currently the 11th all-time leading rider for wins. It’s hard to imagine doing something so many times with such success. In Perry’s words from the “Ironman” documentary: “I’m gonna’ ride this train until they throw me off.”

On July 7, 1954, Perry Wayne Ouzts was born in Lepanto, Arkansas.  He was primarily raised in Rivervale with his cousins Earlie and Jackie Fires.   Earlie is in the Hall of Fame, and Jackie’s career was cut short as his body was crushed during a race, leaving him paralyzed.   Perry took his tack to Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio where his storied career began with his first winner aboard Rablu in 1973.   There’s been many miles since that day in March, but the man has remained pretty much the same. He’s mainly ridden on the smaller circuits of Beulah, Latonia (now Turfway Park), River Downs (now Belterra Park), and occasional ventures to Mountaineer and Thistledown in Cleveland.

The smaller circuits don’t draw the attention as the marquee ovals and you’ll be hard pressed to set money winning records.  Perry rode pretty much in his own backyard as he raised his family with his wife Toni who also works in the industry for trainer Bill Connelly.  In his own words: ” I just love to win races.”   The jockey starts his day at 5:30 a.m. and you’ll know he’s there when he pulls up on his motorcycle dressed in his black leather chaps and helmet. They call him “the man in black” on the backside.   He is a competitor with fire in his blood who still works horses in the morning like the all-time greats of yester-year.   “You get such a rush when you win a horse race. It doesn’t matter if it’s the cheapest of the day or $200,000; you get that same rush.”  Not bad for a 17-year-old kid who left home for the first time seven days after graduating high school.   Back then, Perry set out for Chicago to learn how to start breaking horses and work in the mornings.  He was in awe of the sport and it gripped him immediately. He knew he would ride horses someday, but couldn’t believe they were going to pay him to ride race horses.

Perry Outz John Engelhardt photo Perry has won a total of 30 riding titles in his 42 years of competition. But don’t etch that figure in stone as he currently leads the jockey standings at Belterra Park, and the meet doesn’t end until October 12, 2016.   “The first two or three years I was winning races left and right but I didn’t know what I was doing,” explained Ouzts. “I didn’t really catch on until my third year.”

According to many trainers, he could have ridden anywhere in the country and competed with anyone. But he chose the smaller circuits close to where he called home in Hebron, Kentucky.  He still works eight or more horses in the morning and rides in the afternoon. Perry feels many of the younger riders don’t understand that’s the way you get your mounts. Work in the morning, ride in the afternoon.  After that he goes back and helps his wife muck stalls and feed. After 30-plus years of marriage, something must be working.   “It ain’t always in life you can find someone you can get along with that well. I’m going to keep her and do everything I can to try and help her.”

Perry Ouzts is a man of few words. He lets his riding do the talking and, with that being the case, he’s said a great deal.   His enthusiasm to get up every morning and give his all is not a common effort found in racing anymore. He’s healthy, he’s happy, and can be a real motivation for the younger riders in the room.  Perry chose to stay close to the people who were loyal to him and he’s loyal to them. That has been a recipe for success he won’t regret.

I watched ride him ride in on his Harley one morning and he greeted me.  I extended my hand and he reached over and gave me a big squeeze with the biggest smile. He asked if I would mind taking a picture of him in front of his motorcycle with his phone.   “Take another one, I’ll send that one to my wife.”  On the way out that day I ran into Perry in the same place. He had two wins that day, and I congratulated him on his victories.  “Ed, I thought I had the third one rounding the turn, but he got a little tired down the lane.”  That’s the stuff that makes him special. He’s appreciated by fans, owners, and trainers, and would rather try twice as hard next time than make an excuse today.  Baseball had Lou Gehrig, the NFL relished the sweetness of Walter Payton, and racing has Perry Ouzts. He isn’t planning on hanging it up anytime soon. In his own words: ” I’m gonna ride this train until they throw me off.”

 

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“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Oct. 8, 2015

BELTERRA PARK

Tally Jax (Belterra Park – 10/4/15 – Race #5 – #9 – One mile on the dirt.) – John McKee in the saddle for Eduardo Caramori who has been every effective on the Ohio circuit. He stalked perfectly, and put together a solid bid. He made some late gain, but the track was a sticky goo that ranged between muddy and gummy. It just didn’t fit his liking, and with a surface with a little more grab. I think we’ll have a trip to the winner’s circle coming soon.

BELMONT PARK

Luminary Flight (Belmont Park – 10/3/15 – Race #1 – #1 – 6 1/2f on the dirt.) – John Velasquez was aboard for an eventful trip as his mount broke in the air and brushed the starting gate doors. After attempting to settle out for a shot at redemption, he entered the far turn three wide and bumped late in the lane.

Red Vine (Belmont Park – 10/3/15 – Race #5 – #5 – one mile on the dirt.) – Joel Rosario teamed up with Christophe Clement. He stumbled at the start and was immediately sandwiched between runner son both sides. After being pin-balled around, he regained composure to put together a top notch run. I think a cleaner trip makes him an appointment for the winner’s circle.

KEENELAND

Judy the Beauty (Keeneland – 10/3/15 – Race #6 – #3 – 6f on the dirt.) – Jockey Mike Smith was in town to ride for Wesley Ward,  and this top shelf gal is always worth the trip. That is, until Saturday. – “Judy” was pocketed up most of the race and the patient Smith waited for the seam to open. She was begging out for room and denied down the lane. Once freed up along the rail it was a little two late as the outer two had momentum and did not allow her time to fire up her jets.  – Give her just half a bad trip and she’ll make em’ pay down the lane.

Exaggerator (Keeneland – 10/3/15 – Race #8 – #7 – 1 1/16 on the dirt.) – Kent Desormeaux aboard for his brother had a eerie feel of last year’s juvenile run. He did everything right for most of the trip and spilt horses down the lane to offer up a razor sharp challenge. He did get a little lost nearing the top of the lane and Kent D. got his mind right back on business and he responded quickly. – Each passing race has him maturing, and I think next trip out will be his coming out party.

Conquest Tiz One (Keeneland – 10/4/15 – Race #7 – #4 – 6f on the dirt.) –  Javier Castellano aboard for Mark Casse who comes loaded for bear this meet. Jumped out to fight for the lead, settled in with solid pace and looked like a player as they turned for home. She did everything right but win. Maybe it was the fractions, the track condition, or just a bad luck turn. But she’ll get more from this race and be much the better next up.