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Jockey Dunkelberger approaching 3,000th win

At the Races

At the Races

November 26, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

Charles Town-based jockey Travis Dunkelberger is closing in on 3,000 career wins.

Entering today's action at Charles Town Races & Slots, the 30-year-old native of Lennox, S.D., has 2,999 victories. He has been riding thoroughbreds for 13 years - mostly at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval.

According to statistics from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Dunkelberger has accepted 463 mounts in 2007 and shows 90 wins, 71 second-place finishes and 79 third-place finishes. His horses have won 19 percent of the time and finished in the money 51 percent of the time.

Dunkelberger moved to within one victory of the 3,000 mark Friday afternoon at Laurel Park when he guided Hongkong Tour ($24.80) to an impressive score in the sixth race.

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Dunkelberger, who has a career winning percentage of more than 21 percent, hopes to regain the form that ranked him among the national leaders in races won in the early 2000s.

He enjoyed 352 wins in 2000 and 395 in 2001.

"Things are going good now," Dunkelberger said from the Charles Town jockeys' room. "I'm doing pretty much what I've done most of my career, riding here in the evenings and in Maryland during the day. I'm hoping to get 3,000 (wins) and move on to next year."

Dunkelberger started his race-riding career in Winnipeg and also spent some time in New York, Virginia and Delaware.

"I came to Charles Town for a while late in '94 and the beginning of '95, then I went to Aqueduct for the winter meeting," Dunkelberger said. "I came back to Charles Town in the spring of '95 and have stayed here for the most part."

Dunkelberger has gained some big wins over the years. The top money race: This year's $350,000 "Cavada West Virginia Breeders Classic" at Charles Town when he rode Carnival Chrome to victory for trainer David Walters.

Although he has been among the dominant jockeys at Charles Town over the years, Dunkelberger has also made a name for himself on the Maryland circuit.

He won the 2001 Grade II Barbara Fritchie Handicap when he guided 17-1 shot Prized Stamp to an upset victory for Dale Capuano.

Dunkelberger twice has ridden seven winners in one day - at Charles Town (March 30, 2000) and Timonium (Aug. 30, 2000).

His favorite horse over the years?

"I've ridden some nice ones, but Outcashem stands out in my mind," Dunkelberger said. "He runs on heart, he's always trying, always gives you a good effort."

Outcashem is trained by Scott Lake and owned by Robert Cole Jr.

"Ever since he came back to Charles Town in July, he's been on a roll," agent Billy Kennedy said. "He has been very competitive in Maryland. He won 9-of-24 at Timonium. I know he'll be happy to reach 3,000 wins and to start focusing on next year. He's an extremely gifted rider."

Laurel dates approved

According to Mike Gathagan, Vice President of Communications for the Maryland Jockey Club, the Maryland State Racing Commission has approved the 2008 Laurel Park winter stakes schedule.

The 15-week meet will feature 17 added money races worth a combined purse exceeding $1.75 million. Fourteen of the races include $20,000 from the Maryland-bred fund.

Headlining the schedule are a pair of Grade II $300,000 7-furlong sprints on President's Day weekend - the Grade II Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap for fillies and mares on Feb. 16 and the Grade II General George Breeders' Cup Handicap for colts and geldings two days later.

The 61-day meeting begins Jan. 1 and concludes April 12.

Racing will be conducted on a Wednesday-Saturday schedule with holiday exceptions.

Pony tales

Maryland-based jockey Abel Castellano is closing in on 1,000 career wins.

· At Laurel Park, the first post has shifted to 12:10 p.m. for the balance of the year.

· Today's $500,000 Hollywood Derby over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Hollywood Park drew 11 entrants, led by six-time stakes winner Nobiz Like Shobiz.

Medici Code, the winner of the Del Mar Derby, drew the outside post.

The race also includes Bold Hawk and Twilight Meteor, the first two finishers of the Grade III Hawthorne Derby on Oct. 13, and Daytona, winner of the Grade II Oak Tree Derby on Oct. 13 at Santa Anita.

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