Mexican brother act hits the Downs


I made a midnight run to coach Tim Rycroft’s barn Wednesday night after the races to fulfill up with two tall, slim jockeys from Mexico Metropolis. They have been well mannered fellows, a far cry from the hard-partying riders that generally led the jockey standings right here many years in the past.

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Horsebackin’ brothers Rafael Zenteno Jr., 27, and his youthful brother Edgar, 21,are having fun with their first season at Assiniboia Downs after using in Alberta final yr. Each began out as grooms and went to jockey faculty in Mexico earlier than starting their using careers. Rafael first ventured to Canada together with his father of the identical title in 2012. The elder Zenteno gained the Canadian Derby-G3 aboard Freedoms Traveller in 2011 and thought it is likely to be a very good place for his son to start using in Canada.

He was proper.

Rafael completed within the high 5 and second amongst apprentices in his first yr in Alberta, misplaced his bug in 2014 and went on to win 17 races at Woodbine and in 2017 and 2018 earlier than returning to Alberta and now Manitoba. There’s a motive he’s tied for the highest spot with former main rider Antonio Whitehall within the native jockey standings proper now with 11 wins. He offers each horse he rides an opportunity to win, at all times the mark of a high jockey. The youthful Edgar Zenteno, who remains to be an apprentice, can also be off to a very good begin with three wins, together with a stakes rating aboard Mr. Dazzle for owner-trainer Shelley Brown within the Iwoodificould Stakes.

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“It was a blessing to get these two guys,” mentioned their agent Dave Brockhill, who was additionally at Rycroft’s barn on the darkish hour looking by way of stud muffin cookies to feed to the horses. “I owe it to Tim and Riley (Rycroft). The COVID pandemic stopped coach (Robertino) Diodoro from coming with a jockey I used to be purported to have, however Tim and Riley hooked me up with these guys. They’ll each trip, they’re good staff, they usually come to the barn day by day with a smile on their faces. Individuals like them.”

Smiles are contagious, and the brothers are beginning to catch on with a variety of title trainers together with Jerry Gourneau, Shelley Brown, Tom Gardipy, Jr. and Ryan Desjarlais, amongst others.

“We’ve been handled very well by everybody right here,” mentioned Rafael, who alongside together with his brother has been getting on 9 or 10 horses each morning. Each plan to trip for a very long time.

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“I like the velocity,” mentioned Rafael. “The adrenalin. The sensation of going from zero to 40 (miles per hour) in seconds if you come out of the gate. And I just like the lengthy stretch right here.”

Groom Marillee Dube, 61, was within the barn together with the brothers and Brockhill, taking care of Striders Ring, who had gained the final race on Wednesday evening, and Broadway Bonnie, who had completed second within the La Verendrye Stakes earlier within the night. Within the previous days when there have been eight to 10 races and the final race went at 10:30 p.m. you may typically discover grooms within the barns taking care of their horses till 1:30 a.m.

It takes not less than an hour to chill a horse out after a race and somewhat longer earlier than you may give them their feed. It was good to see each horses so effectively cared for after their massive efforts, and Striders Ring was Rycroft’s sixth winner of the assembly, good for second place within the standings behind Jerry Gourneau, who has eight wins.

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Coach Murray Duncan gained the La Verendrye, his second stakes in a row right here with Miss Imperial, for himself and the property of his good friend Garylle B. Stewart, and is off to a wonderful begin but once more with three wins from six begins. Additionally on Wednesday, trainers Larry Cizik, Tiffany Husbands and Brent Hrymak bought their first wins of the assembly and newcomer George Scott stored proving he is aware of what he’s doing together with his third win from 11 begins. The Jackpot Decide-5 carryover additionally grew to $256,413 on Wednesday, however as is true with every part else on this world, numbers by no means inform the a part of the story we actually wish to hear.

It was particularly gratifying to look at Manitoba-bred mare J F Moneygirl win the primary race of her profession on Wednesday night for coach Tiffany Husbands and owner-breeder Jarvis Swereda’s Starfield Steady. Foaled on Might 9, 2015, we had the good pleasure of watching her as a contented younger filly romping and taking part in along with her mom that spring, courtesy of Jarvis, who took me and Assiniboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn out to his farm to see his solely foal that yr.

Jarvis’s spouse Florence, his rock and spirited soulmate for 55 years, died final spring on Might 6. It was a devastating blow for Jarvis, and his horses have stored him going by way of a really powerful time. When J F Moneygirl walked into the winner’s circle, you may see Swereda’s face gentle up like a proud dad, and tearful, loving husband.

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