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Bocachica gets nod in national voting

January 28, 2008

For the second straight year, a person connected with Charles Town Races & Slots has received an Eclipse Award vote.

Charles Town-based jockey Arnaldo Bocachica received a first-place vote in the Apprentice Jockey category at Monday's Eclipse Award banquet in California.

Last year, trainer George Yetsook picked up a first-place tally.

Final voting for the 2007 Eclipse Awards was announced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. The awards are voted on and presented by the NTRA/Equibase, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers Association.

California-based rider Joe Talamo was easily won Outstanding Apprentice Jockey with 254 first-place votes, followed by Carol Cedeno (2) and Bocachica (1).

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"It's a nice honor for him to be recognized," Bocachia's agent, Gersom Rodriguez, said Saturday. "He was actually second to Talamo in races won in 2007 and won more races than Carol. (Voters) always look at earnings rather than wins."

Bocachica, a native of Puerto Rico, was the leading rider at Charles Town in 2007 (210 wins, 172 second-place finishes and 151 thirds).

"Arnaldo is an excellent jockey," Rodriguez said of the 19-year-old rider. "He is very good at getting a horse out of the gate, so he prefers the sprint races over the longer races."

Bocachica came to Charles Town in June 2006 after graduating from jockey's school in Puerto Rico and won his first race in July of that year at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval.

Other Eclipse Award winners include:

· Two-Year-Old Male: War Pass

· Two-Year-Old Filly: Indian Blessing

· Three-Year-Old Male: Curlin

· Three-Year-Old Female: Rags to Riches

· Older Male: Lawyer Ron

· Older Female: Ginger Punch

· Male Sprinter: Midnight Lute

· Female Sprinter: Maryfield (155)

· Male Turf Horse: English Channel

· Female Turf Horse: Lahudood (188)

· Horse of the Year: Curlin (249)

· Outstanding Trainer: Todd Pletcher

· Outstanding Jockey: Garrett Gomez

Claiming Crown

Over the years, horses have been shipped from the Charles Town Races & Slots to compete in the Claiming Crown.

Racing's unique day for claiming horses will return to Minnesota on Aug. 2, when Canterbury Park hosts the $600,000 event for the eighth time in 10 years.

Eligibility restrictions on prospective Claiming Crown horses have been relaxed for 2008. To be eligible for any of the seven Claiming Crown races, which will have purse values from $50,000 to $150,000, a horse must have started for or below the specified claiming price in 2007 or 2008.

Pony tales

Wednesday will mark one year since Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, was euthanized at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., due to complications from laminitis.

Barbaro had developed laminitis while recovering from an injury to his right hind leg suffered during the 2006 Preakness Stakes.

Larry Yanos covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at larryy@herald-mail.com

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