04/22/2008 11:00PM

Broussard still going strong

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STICKNEY, Ill. - If one has regularly watched horseracing in Chicago for, oh, say, the last 40 years, the name Joseph Broussard may well ring a bell. After all, Broussard, 67, has been training horses in these parts since 1970.

"First horse I ran in Chicago," Broussard said, "was at Washington Park, horse named Ivan Pine. Earlie Fires rode him and he won. I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but I can remember things like that."

Talk to Broussard, who goes by "Spanky," for more than two minutes, and you are likely to get a pithy piece of off-the-cuff humor. Broussard has shipped horses as well as trained them for a living, knows about everyone in the Midwest, and continues to run a good-sized operation that winters at Fair Grounds and summers here in Chicago. Two members of the stable will be in action in the six Illinois-bred stakes races on tap here at Hawthorne on Saturday - Magnetic Miss (Fires up) has a fighting chance in the $100,000 Governor's Lady, while Stonehouse is strictly the one to beat in the $100,000 Milwaukee Avenue.

The Milwaukee Avenue drew only seven entrants, making it one of the smaller stakes fields on the card. Stonehouse faced such foes as Grasshopper, Honest Man, and Magna Graduate over the winter in New Orleans. He will find the going much easier here on Saturday.

"The horses improve when they come out of New Orleans," Broussard said. "The track's so good down there."

Chicago was the first real home base for the young Broussard, who had struck out on his own in 1969, a year before coming here. That move followed 10 years working for such well-known horsemen as Marion Van Berg, Tennessee Wright, Dewey Smith, and J.R. Smith, the latter a longtime Chicago trainer.

"I was in Detroit, and I had to work 10 years for other trainers before anyone would think of giving me a horse to train," Broussard said. "These days, all you have to have is a cell phone and an address book - you get some owner's phone number and you call them."

Broussard has an equally strong position on another modern racing mainstay - bloodstock agents.

"Every time you got a horse that can run, you've got a bloodstock agent who wouldn't know a horse if it ran over him calling owners and trying to sell your horse," Broussard said.

Broussard says such things with a twinkle in his eye, not a chip on his shoulder. And he has so far managed to duck those bloodstock agents with Stonehouse, a nice 4-year-old colt who already is closing in on $200,000 in earnings.

Razo finally wins a riding title - out of town

It took 42-year-old Eddie Razo about forever to pick up and move his tack somewhere other than Chicago. He finally did so in the winter of 2007, going to Oaklawn Park, where he rode 37 winners and finished a solid seventh in the jockey standings. Razo returned to Arkansas this past winter, and kicked it up another notch, capturing the riding title, 49-47, over last year's champ, Luis Quinonez.

"I had to leave town to get a title," said Razo, who had been leading rider at a meet only once before in his long career.

Razo, one of the more down-to-earth members of the community of jockeys, said he went back to Oaklawn this year guardedly optimistic.

"I thought, you know, maybe I got lucky last year, but when I got down there this year, people were really eager to give me their horses," he said.

Razo, who has a 14-year-old son, said the racetrack consumed his life over the winter.

"Being away from home, it makes you really appreciate when you come home," he said. "When I was there, I told my agent [Lindy McDaniel], 'Don't give me any days off.' I mean, what else was I going to do? When they gave me the trophy, at first I was like, 'So what, I was leading rider,' but then when I thought about it, you know, I worked really hard, and I guess I deserved it."

Razo is riding a limited number of horses at Hawthorne, but will be back in full swing for the Arlington meet. However, on Kentucky Derby Day - the second day of the Arlington season - Razo will be at Churchill Downs to ride Miss Macy Sue in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff.

* There's no real feature on the Friday program at Hawthorne. The highest-class race is the fourth, an entry-level sprint allowance that drew a field of just six.