Big season could lead to Eclipse Award for Prado

October 10, 2004|by LARRY YANOS

What greater reward for a job well done in the horse racing industry than to win an Eclipse Award?

Thoroughbred horse racing's version of the "Oscar" is awarded annually and former Maryland-based jockey Edgar Prado is certainly a strong contender to capture 2004 honors in the jockey category.

In the latest statistics provided by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the 37-year-old Prado leads the nation's riders in money earned on his mounts with over $15.2 million.

He has won nine Grade I races in New York in 2004 (including Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes) and will have some attractive mounts in the upcoming Breeders Cup at the Lone Star Racetrack.


Prado has been to the starting gate 1,236 times in 2004 and has 238 wins, 215 places and 178 shows.

"It's everybody's dream, a reward for doing a good job," Prado said of the Eclipse Award during the closing weekend of the Saratoga meeting.

Prado, who rides primarily in New York in the spring and summer and Florida in the winter, has never won an Eclipse Award despite an outstanding career.

"It has been a good year. I've worked hard and I appreciate the owners and trainers giving me opportunities," Prado said. "I'm very lucky, very fortunate to ride for good people. If I don't win the Eclipse Award this year, it will only make me try harder."

Prado has been successful since leaving Chile for America in 1986. He posted his 5,000th win aboard Dot Comma in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 13, 2004.

Before joining the New York and Florida circuits, Prado was a dominant force in Maryland. He was the nation's leading rider in victories for three straight years while in Maryland: 536 in 1997, 470 in 1998 and 402 in 1999.

"I enjoyed my days in Maryland, still have many friends there," Prado said. "I always like riding there."

The Florida resident, whose family includes wife Lilliana, daughter Patricia and sons Edgar Jr. and Luis, was born and raised in Lima, Peru, where two brothers were jockeys and his father trained horses.

His first win in Peru was aboard Tatin in October 1983. In 1984, Prado was Peru's leading jockey. He came to the United States in 1986 to be a contract rider for trainer Manuel Azpurua and won his first race in the U.S. on June 1, 1986 at Calder Race Course aboard Single Love.

In 2003, Prado had his biggest year ever in purse earnings with over $14.1 million.

The West Virginia October Mixed Sale will be held at Charles Town Races & Slots on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m.

"The sale will be conducted in the paddock at the Charles Town thoroughbred racetrack and will include over 50 horses," sales manager Dick Minard said. "It's a mixed sale and weanlings, yearlings, two-year-olds in training, broodmares, horses of racing age, (3-, 4- and 5-year-olds) and hunter/jumper prospects will be available. The entry fee is $200 per horse plus 5 percent commission."

Minard said a sale was held in July, but this one should be more attractive.

"We have better stock this time. We've eliminated some of the $2,500 claimers," Minard said. "We have a ton of horses running at Charles Town and they're looking for new careers. A lot of them are useful horses. They just need the opportunity to get into a different discipline."

The sale will include four weanlings, 11 yearlings, five 2-year-olds in training, 19 broodmares, 11 horses of racing age and one stallion prospect.

For a consignment contract and entry form, call 1-304-725-8026 or e-mail

Churchill Downs Incorporated has named Randall Soth president and general manager of Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Soth will assume his new position as soon as CDI completes the purchase of Fair Grounds, which is scheduled to occur on or before Oct. 15.

Soth previously served as vice president and general manager of Calder Race Course. Before joining the Calder management team in 1996, Soth spent 20 years in a variety of racetrack management positions.

He served as general manager of Retama Park in San Antonio; as vice president of racing at Sam Houston Park, also in Texas; and as racing secretary for Monmouth Park, Atlantic City Racetrack, Garden State Park and The Meadowlands - all in New Jersey.

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