12/13/2011 3:21PM

Channing Hill plans to ride at Oaklawn this winter

Email
Tom Keyser
Channing Hill will ride at Oaklawn Park for the first time this winter.

Jockey Channing Hill will be wintering outside of New York for the first time since 2005 this season when he moves to Arkansas for the Oaklawn Park meet that opens Jan. 13. Hill, who will be riding at the Hot Springs, Ark., track for the first time, said he plans to travel to Oaklawn following a riding commitment in Pennsylvania on Dec. 20.

“This is a big move,” he said. “It was a very tough decision, up and leaving home, but I’m really excited about it. I’ve been in New York about the last eight years now, right after the beginning of 2005. I’ve ridden mostly in New York and Monmouth Park.”

Hill, 24, said a couple of different factors went into the decision to winter at Oaklawn.

“Right now, my business isn’t that strong in New York,” he said. “I want to get back on track, get back to my winning ways. I want to try to get back in the groove.”

Hill said moving halfway across the country was made easier by the fact that he will be represented by Jay Fedor, a top Midwest agent who two years ago had Corey Nakatani’s book at Oaklawn. Fedor, who also represents Israel Ocampo, said he has been getting good feedback on Channing’s upcoming move to Arkansas.

“He’s a great little rider, and I’ve got a lot of support from everybody that I’ve contacted,” said Fedor, who has had conversations with such trainers as Steve Asmussen, Cody Autrey, Grant Forster, Steve Hobby, Wayne Lukas, Randy Morse, Dan Peitz, Mac Robertson, and Kelly Von Hemel.

“I feel like I’ll have a little more opportunity to ride more horses,” Hill said.

Hill has had a quiet year, in part because he was sidelined for three months due to a broken ankle suffered Sept. 5. He has since resumed riding at Aqueduct. But with 54 wins from 500 mounts so far this year, his business has been lagging behind years like 2008, when he won 129 races from 1,176 mounts, and 2010, when he went 80 for 780.

Hill, a native of Columbus, Neb., won his first career race at Prairie Meadows in June 2004. He was the leading apprentice in New York in 2005. His biggest career wins came in 2008, with First Defence in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga and Sweet Vendetta in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.

Springboard winner eyes Lecomte

Ted’s Folly, who won his sixth straight race in the $300,000 Springboard Mile last Saturday at Remington Park, is a candidate for the Grade 3, $175,000 Lecomte at Fair Grounds on Jan. 21, trainer Wilson Brown said. The race is the first prep on the road to the Louisiana Derby.

Ted’s Folly put in a significant rally to close from last and win the Springboard Mile by 1 1/4 lengths. The race was his first beyond six furlongs, and for the effort he earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 75.

“We all know that he can run a mile, and it looks like he can run further than a mile,” Brown said. “He just looked like he was going on.

“What impressed me was him beating some horses who had been two turns already.”

Brown said he is trying to make arrangements to stable Ted’s Folly at Fair Grounds, and if things go through, the horse will target the Lecomte.

“We want to send him down there,” said Brown, who trains Ted’s Folly for Steve Martin.

Ted’s Folly is the latest in good 2-year-olds developed by Brown. The list includes It’sallinthechase, who won the Springboard Mile back in 2001 when it was called the MEC Mile. The horse went on to run third in both the Lecomte and Louisiana Derby for Brown.

Mister Deville was another good young horse for the barn, winning the Indiana Derby in 2000. Brown also developed Aspen Gal into a multiple stakes winner before the horse was sold privately to Edmund Gann.

Remington closed Saturday, and Brown said he would be moving the bulk of his stable to Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Okla.

Quarter Horses to try turf at Evangeline

Evangeline Downs will run a Quarter Horse race on turf Friday night when a field of eight goes to post in the $35,000 Au Revoir. The overnight stakes for 3-year-olds and up is to be held at 870 yards and will be the first Quarter Horse turf race ever run in Louisiana.

Evangeline offered the race at the request of several horsemen, according to a release issued by the track. The Au Revoir field is led by recent 870-yard stakes winner Slinkys Fortune.

Evangeline will close out its meet Saturday night with the $75,000 EVD Futurity. Jess Tee Off, a Grade 2 winner undefeated in four starts, is the one to beat for trainer Judd Kearl.

◗ Ruby Be Mine, a 9-year-old stakes-producing mare by Rubiano, brought $35,000 to top the Fasig-Tipton Texas mixed sale Monday at Lone Star Park. The average at the auction featuring breeding stock was $4,553, up 12 percent from 2010. Moon Lake Equine Center purchased Ruby Be Mine from agent 4M Ranch.