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Dunkelberger has a day to remember

June 29, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

Charles Town-based jockey Travis Dunkelberger truly enjoyed the Sprint Fesitival held June 21 at Charles Town Races & Slots.

On the card, the 31-year-old veteran rider competed in seven races -- winning four, finishing in a dead-heat for second in another and capping the evening with two more third-place finishes.

Not a bad night of work!

"Things went well," Dunkelberger said in somewhat of an understatement. "I rode for different trainers, but I had ridden the horses before."

Here's a look at Dunkelberger's effort:

*Race one: Finished third aboard Flirtin Heart in a $28,000 Maiden Special Weight race for 2-year-old fillies.

*Race two: Won a $28,000 Maiden Special Weight race for 2-year-olds aboard Fast County.

*Race three: Won a $28,000 allowance race for 3-year-olds-and-upwards aboard Mr. Synfuel.

*Race four: Won the $50,000 Coin Collector Stakes for 3-year-olds aboard Henry the Lover.

*Race six: Finished third aboard Ghostly Thunder in the $100,000 Red Legend Stakes for 3-year-olds.

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*Race seven: Finished in a dead-heat for second aboard Hadavision in the $100,000 Lady Charles Town Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

*Race eight: Won the $200,000 Charles Town Dash Handicap for 3-year-olds and upwards aboard Joey P.

Dunkelberger, who recorded his 3,000th career win last November, is having an outstanding 2008 campaign.

Overall, he has competed in 323 races and shows 86 wins, 63 second-place finishes and 30 third-place finishes and his mounts have earned $1,749,918.

At Charles Town, he has competed in 167 races and shows 50 wins, 35 second-place finishes and 14 third-place finishes and his mounts have earned $1,028,95. He trails only J.D. Acosta in the jockeys' standings.

Dunkelbeger, a native of Lennox, S.D., has been riding thoroughbreds for 14 years -- mostly at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval. He has a career winning percentage of more than 20 percent and enjoyed his finest seasons in 2000 and 2001 when he won 352 and 395 races, respectively.

Dunkelberger started his race-riding career in Winnipeg, Canada, 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 twice has ridden seven winners in one day -- at Charles Town (March 30, 2000) and Timonium (Aug. 30, 2000).

And he's in demand these days.

An example: On Saturday morning, he worked four horses at Laurel Park, then rode four horses at Delaware Park in the afternoon and nine more at Charles Town in the evening.

Jockey Rose suspended

Jockey Jeremy Rose, perhaps best known as the regular rider of dual classic winner Afleet Alex, faces a long suspension after an alleged horse-abuse incident at Delaware Park last Monday.

The Delaware Thoroughbred Commission levied a six-month suspension against Rose for striking Appeal to the City in the face with his whip after losing a stretch duel. The 5-year-old mare battled with Robin des Tune in the stretch of the 5-furlong turf sprint before yielding to the eventual winner. Soon after, as Appeal to the City faded to third, Rose struck the mare's face with his whip.

John Wayne, executive director for the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, said Rose was sanctioned for misusing the whip and animal abuse. Besides the suspension, he will be required to attend anger-management classes and pay the injured mare's veterinary bills.

"We don't tolerate these types of things," Wayne said.

Rose said that hitting the mare in the face was an accident. The stewards required the suspension to begin immediately, calling the infraction "extreme misuse of the whip."

Rose plans to appeal the ruling at a July 22 hearing.

Appeal to the City, trained by Howard Wolfendale, suffered an eye injury in the incident and was sent to the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center for an examination.

Rose won the Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice jockey in 2001. In 2005, he guided Afleet Alex to victories in the Grade I Preakness Stakes and the Grade I Belmont Stakes.

This year, Rose ranked 15th among North American riders in earnings.

Pony tales

Churchill Downs is testing a new wager format with on-track customers that allows patrons to bundle win, exacta and trifecta plays at a lower price per bet.

Called the "Matrix," the unique format, which costs a minimum total of $9, enables bettors to name three horses on one ticket, which in turn provides them with 15 combinations featuring those three horses.

If any of them wins, two of them run 1-2, or all three of them run 1-2-3, the player collects an increasing payout for the number of correct selections.

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