11/18/2008 1:00AM

Da Silva rides out his breakthrough season


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The year 2008 has been a watershed year in the career of jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva.

Da Silva, 33, began his career in his native Brazil and then rode in Macao for five years before moving his tack to Woodbine in 2004.

Da Silva caught on quickly here, and last year he won 83 races, including six stakes, and had mount earnings of more than $3.6 million.

This year, heading into the final three weeks of the meeting, Da Silva ranked in a tie for fifth in races won with 89, was fourth in money won with almost $5.3 million, and was second in stakes races won with 13.

But, those statistics tell only a small part of the tale of Da Silva's season.

During the year he became the regular rider of three leading Sovereign Award candidates - sprinter Fatal Bullet, older main-track female Bear Now, and turf female Callwood Dancer.

Da Silva also rode in the United States for the first time, winning stakes with Fatal Bullet at Presque Isle Downs and with both Fatal Bullet and Bear Now for trainer Reade Baker on Turfway Park's Kentucky Cup program.

"I was happy to ride there and meet some of the American jockeys," said Da Silva. "It was a good experience.

"But when you're riding horses like Fatal Bullet, you can ride anywhere with anybody. They can make you look good."

Despite his numerous stakes wins, Da Silva does not hesitate in singling out his Breeders' Cup weekend as the highlight of his season.

Da Silva led early on Bear Now but they wound up last of eight in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic

Fatal Bullet - who had been undefeated in three races under Da Silva, including Woodbine's Bold Venture, Presque Isle's Tom Ridge, and Turfway's Kentucky Cup Sprint - followed with a huge effort to finish second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

"Every jockey wants to be at the Breeders' Cup; I was very blessed," said Da Silva. "It was the best experience I had in my whole life. I was grateful for Reade Baker to bring me there, to have that confidence in me."

Da Silva certainly did not take his Breeders' Cup duties lightly. He flew to California for a day just to work Bear Now and Fatal Bullet on Oct. 12. He then returned on the weekend prior to the Breeders' Cup to work both horses again, and stayed on to gallop them through Breeders' Cup week.

Da Silva's agent, Don Parente, said he didn't regret missing out on some local mounts while at Santa Anita.

"It's always going to hurt you for mounts, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything," he said. "It was a great experience."

Da Silva, who never seems to lack energy, has spent six weeks riding in Singapore during the past two off-seasons and will be riding there again this winter.

"I'll ride there Dec. 19 through March 15," he said. "They just put a Polytrack in, but the races are more on the grass. The purses are very good."

In the meantime, Da Silva fans will be hoping to hear more of the jockey's now-signature tagline for his winning post-race interviews.

"Good luck for everybody," has been Da Silva's parting wish since he won the very first race of the Woodbine meeting, aboard Haveubeentoldtoday back in April.

Ramirez to ride in Macao

Martin Ramirez, who has spent the past seven winters riding at Tampa Bay Downs, also will be heading to the Far East, and will ride in Macao for the first this off-season.

"Some of the guys here had been there and were talking about it," said Ramirez. "I made an application to Macao and got a license to ride there. I'm just waiting for word on when I can start."

Ramirez, 44, began riding in Mexico, but has been based in Ontario since 1990, gaining most of his success at Fort Erie.

Although he shifted his base of operations to Woodbine in 2005, Ramirez has continued to race at Fort Erie on a fairly regular basis.

This year, Ramirez has won with 13 of 173 mounts at Woodbine. He won with 14 of his 40 starters at Fort Erie this year.

Through his career, not counting Mexico, Ramirez has won 1,141 races from 8,420 mounts for purses of more than $15 million.

London Snow preps for Bessarabian

London Snow breezed four furlongs in 48 seconds here Tuesday morning and is scheduled to make her next start in Sunday's $150,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Owned by Kirk Bradden Stables and trained by John Charalambous, London Snow began her season with back-to-back victories, including the six-furlong Ballade for Ontario-sired fillies and mares. London Snow then finished fourth in a strong inaugural running of the Scotzanna, which was won by graded stakes winner Sugar Swirl.

But after watching her finish 10th in the Victoriana, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares here Aug. 17, Charalambous elected to give London Snow a break.

"Unfortunately, all the races for Ontario-sired and Ontario-foaled fillies and mares are tied up in about three months," said Charalambous. "You can only run in so many, and maybe she didn't run in the right races. It looked like she didn't want to run long any more, so we just got her ready for the fall."

London Snow returned to action on Nov. 2 in the six-furlong Ontario Fashion, where she finished seventh, beaten 4 1/2 lengths.

In three starts over seven furlongs on the main track, London Snow has won the Lady Angela and finished second in both the Jammed Lovely and Muskoka.