09/12/2011 1:38PM

Fairplex: Rough riding triggers tempers of Pedroza, Santiago-Reyes


POMONA, Calif. – There was no hiding the acrimony between jockeys Martin Pedroza and Christian Santiago-Reyes, who ended opening week at Fairplex Park on Sunday tied in the standings at six wins each. Hostility between the riders was evident in an exchange following the $50,000 Jim Kostoff Stakes on Sunday when Pedroza accused Santiago-Reyes of careless riding into the first turn.

Santiago-Reyes’s mount, Road Ready, rushed three-wide into a tight spot inside Pedroza, riding odds-on C J Russell. Both horses were floated wide on the first turn when pacesetter Crown King drifted out. C J Russell took the worst of it. He was fanned at least five-wide, and finished second behind perfect-trip winner Luckarack.

“It cost me the race, without a doubt,” Pedroza said, referring to the incident on the first turn. “[Santiago-Reyes] is riding kamikaze because of the standings. I’m going to beat his ass, anyway.”

Pedroza has led the Fairplex standings 12 consecutive years, and is the track’s all-time leading rider with 659 wins.

Santiago-Reyes, who finished third in the Kostoff, told stewards afterward that Road Ready was difficult to control into the first turn. Reyes will meet with stewards this week to discuss the race.

Pedroza compiled his 6-for-28 mark opening week by riding 18 favorites, winning with three. Santiago-Reyes, 6 for 27 overall, rode three favorites and won with one. Daniel Vergara went 4 for 9 opening week, and is tied for third in the standings with Antonio Castanon, who went 4 for 15.

Flores facing possible suspension for Futurity ride

David Flores, whose mount Majestic City was disqualified from second to third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 7, is scheduled to meet with Fairplex Park stewards on Sunday to discuss his Futurity ride. The meeting was delayed because Flores left for a travelling vacation soon after the conclusion of the Del Mar meet.

Flores faces a possible suspension. In the Futurity, Majestic City drifted out through the lane while Flores continued to whip left-handed with little effort to keep his mount on a straight path. Majestic City drifted out and squeezed Creative Cause; winner Drill was bumped hard near the wire. Del Mar stewards disqualified Majestic City from second and placed him behind Creative Cause.

The three-team stewards’ lineup at Fairplex consists of four rotating stewards – Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, Vic Stauffer, and Tom Ward. The Sept. 9-11 team was Chaney-Stauffer-Ward; Sept. 14-18 is Sawyer-Stauffer-Ward; Sept. 21-25 is Chaney-Sawyer-Stauffer.

Experiment with twilight racing

A pick six carryover into Wednesday will spice up the first-ever twilight card at the Los Angeles County Fair race meet. First post Wednesday is 4 p.m. Pacific, the pick six on races 4-9 begins at approximately 5:40. The late portion of the card will be run under lights.

“We’re excited about twilight racing, it gives us an opportunity to try something,” equine manager Kim Lloyd said. “We’re rolling the dice, but feel we have little to lose and maybe something to gain. Wednesday is a slow day.”

Wednesday is the only day available for the twilight-racing experiment, due to Fair concerts held at the track Thursday through Sunday. Sunset on Wednesday is 6:59 p.m., soon after the $50,000 C. B. Afflerbaugh Stakes, race 8 on the nine-race card.