Acosta adds to winning total


September 07, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

If you're an exotic bettor and a J.D. Acosta follower, then Friday was your night to shine at Charles Town Races & Slots.

Acosta, one of the leading riders in the country in races won, captured all four legs of the Pick 4 at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval and increased his lead in Charles Town's 2008 jockey standings.

This year, he ranks third nationally in races won -- trailing only Russell Baze (286 wins) and Ramon Dominguez (237).

Through Friday, the rider showed 233 wins, 178 second-place finishes and 164 third-place finishes from 1,095 mounts.

A glance at Friday's effort:

Fourth race: Yankee Doodle ($6.20, $3.00, $2.20).

Fifth race: Flipped Over You ($14.20, $6.20, $5.80).

Sixth race: Spindini ($2.80, $2.20, $2.20).

Seventh race: Persipanny Road ($8.60, $5.00, $3.40).

The Pick 4 returned $282.60.


Acosta, who registered his 1,000th career win in December of 2007, is in his sixth full year of riding at Charles Town.

He was born in the Dominican Republic before moving at age 9 to Puerto Rico, where he attended a jockeys school and began riding horses at its premier racetrack.

"I was doing all right, but I got a call from a trainer at Delaware Park in the spring of 2002, and he wanted me to come to the U.S.," Acosta said. "I rode a little in Delaware, then I went to Maryland and then to Charles Town."

Acosta has won Charles Town titles in both 2006 and 2007 and it appears a "hat trick" is forthcoming in 2008.

Charles Town-based jockey Travis Dunkelberger journeyed to Delaware Park on Saturday and won the $100,000 Owners' Day Handicap aboard longshot P V Lightening.

The 4-year-old gelding, trained by Gary Capuano, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.98 and returned winning mutuels of $30.60, $7.40 and $3.40 while winning by five lengths.

Dunkelberger is second in the Charles Town standings, trailing only Acosta.

Pony tales

Live racing and training at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa., will be suspended following the racing program on Sept. 20 for the start of a resurfacing project of the entire racetrack cushion.

It is expected to last until the end of October.

"The project was originally being prepared as part of our 2009 capital planning process, but accelerating the work will assist our track maintenance staff in their efforts going into the fall and winter racing seasons," said director of racing Rob Marella.

n Live racing has returned to Laurel Park for the fall meeting.

The 17-week session will feature live racing on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons (with Columbus holiday exception) through Dec. 27.

Headlining the 65-day stand will be the 23rd running of the Maryland Million on Oct. 4.

The 12-race program for Maryland-sired horses, with purses of nearly $1.7 million, was founded by the late Jim McKay.

n Kip Deville, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Mile at Monmouth Park, is expected to be a heavy favorite in a field of eight for today's Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile at Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale, Ontario.

Trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., Kip Deville, the top-ranked turf miler in North America, is unbeaten in his last three outings -- including the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland in April and the Poker Handicap at Belmont Park in July.

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

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