04/22/2010 11:00PM

Gomez, Nakatani, Solis will stick around


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Three of the most dominant jockeys on the rugged Southern California circuit in the last two decades not only are riding at Churchill Downs through Kentucky Derby week but also will be here for varying lengths of a spring meet that runs through July 4.

Garrett Gomez, Corey Nakatani, and Alex Solis all will hold over as part of a Churchill jockey colony that already includes Kentucky regulars Robby Albarado, Calvin Borel, Shaun Bridgmohan, and Julien Leparoux.

Gomez will ride here for "a couple of weeks," according to agent Ron Anderson, before leaving in time for the May 22 start of the new boutique meet at Monmouth Park. The New Jersey track plans to average about $1 million in purses per day through Labor Day.

Nakatani, who recently moved to Kentucky with his family, is trying to decide whether to ride at Monmouth or Belmont Park this summer, although remaining through the end of the Churchill meet "is one of the options he's definitely considering," said agent Bob Frieze. "He's going to make a decision here in the very near future."

Solis "is definitely staying to the end of Churchill," said agent Brian Beach.

Between them, the three jockeys have accounted for 11,450 wins and mount earnings of more than $573 million.

Pletcher trainee falls but is unhurt

Trainers with Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses on the racetrack following the renovation break here Friday got a bit of a scare when the warning siren briefly sounded midway through the special session indicating some sort of trouble had occurred on the track.

The incident took place near the five-furlong pole when Colizeo slipped and fell while pulling up after completing a five-furlong work in company with her stablemate, Kentucky Oaks starter Ailalea, from trainer Todd Pletcher's barn. Fortunately, Colizeo was quickly able to regain her feet and neither horse nor rider were injured.

"I really didn't see it happen," said Pletcher who had nearly a dozen horses out on the racetrack at the time. "Once I realized what had happened, I could tell it was Colizeo and not either of my Oaks fillies because we had just three pink towels out there and I knew exactly where the other two were."

Pletcher was referring to both Ailalea and Devil May Care, who was galloping at the time of the mishap.

"Everybody came back fine," said Pletcher.

Trainer Nick Zito said he became concerned when hearing the horn blare as his Derby hopeful, Florida Derby winner Ice Box, was pulling up in the same vicinity after completing his half-mile work.

"I became a little anxious when I heard the siren sound, but then I was able to see both my riders and I knew our two horses were okay," said Zito.

Sassy Image may miss Oaks

The combination of wet weather and a slight training setback may keep Sassy Image from running in next Friday's Kentucky Oaks, trainer Dale Romans said Friday morning at Churchill Downs.

Her defection could impact the Oaks field. A maximum of 14 fillies can run in the Oaks, and if more than that enter, graded earnings is the tie-breaker, much like with the Kentucky Derby. Champagne d'Oro, currently first on the bubble, would get in if Sassy Image comes out.

"If she doesn't work in the next couple of days, she's not going to run," Romans said.

It rained heavily at Churchill Downs on Friday, turning the track into a sea of slop. Romans decided not to work Sassy Image because she is getting over "a little bit of a curb," he said, referring to a minor injury to a hock.

Romans did work his other Oaks filly, Quiet Temper, and she breezed five furlongs in 1:03.60 with Albarado aboard.

Several other Oaks fillies worked on Friday morning, including Santa Anita Oaks winner Crisp, who went six furlongs in 1:14.60 in company with Mona de Momma for trainer John Sadler.

Jody Slew worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds for trainer Bret Calhoun.

Woolley a Derby visitor

The black hat looked familiar, but where were the crutches?

"I've been off them for a while now," said Chip Woolley, who trained Mine That Bird, last year's Kentucky Derby winner. Woolley was visiting Churchill Downs on Friday morning. "This is the first time I've walked the backside here without them. It feels good."

Woolley's visit comes amid speculation that Mine That Bird could be transferred to another trainer, perhaps D. Wayne Lukas. Co-owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach, contacted separately this week, both said, "Right now, there's been no change," but did not deny the rumors.

Woolley, who spent most of last year on crutches following a motorcycle accident, said Mine That Bird was currently training at Allen's ranch in New Mexico.

"He's been jogging," Woolley said. "He's gained a lot of weight. By the time of the Breeders' Cup, the year had taken a toll. He was drawn and used."

Mine That Bird, a gelding, has not run since the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Borislow buys into Homeboykris

Daniel Borislow, who campaigned the multiple Grade 1-winning 2-year-old Toccet in 2002, said Thursday that he has bought a minority interest in the Kentucky Derby hopeful Homeboykris.

Borislow is the inventor of magicJack, a device that allows you to plug your home phone into a computer to make and receive calls for a minimal annual fee. Borislow joins an ownership group that includes Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, New York restaurateur Louis Lazzinnaro, Brenda Tabraue, Nick Sallusto, Joseph Bulger, and Jack Mandato. The gelding is trained by Richard Dutrow Jr.

"I've always done real well with Rick," Borislow said. "A number of the guys are investors in my company magicJack. They asked me to come in and so I did."

Homeboykris, a son of Roman Ruler, has won two races from six starts, including the Grade 1 Champagne as a 2-year-old. Homeboykris will go into the Derby having not run since February, but Borislow noted that Dutrow won the 2005 Queen's Plate for him with Wild Desert off a long layoff.

"I've seen him do it before, hopefully he can do it again," Borislow said. "Hopefully, the horse will run well. His best shot is with Rick Dutrow."

Borislow said he has a few horses in training in the Mid-Atlantic region with trainer John Scanlon, but his new telephone business venture has been taking up most of his time.

"I've been so busy it's hard to keep up with the horses," Borislow said. "But I go to the Derby every year, and this should be some fun."

Court magnanimous regarding lost mount

Jon Court won the $1 million Arkansas Derby after getting the mount on longshot Line of David on short notice from owners Ike and Dawn Thrash and trainer John Sadler. He is understandably disappointed that he is being replaced for the Kentucky Derby by Rafael Bejarano. The move denies Court, 49, what would have been his first Kentucky Derby mount.

"I've been in the game long enough to understand how things work," said Court. "I thank John and the Thrashes for the opportunity they gave me and wish them luck in the Derby."

* The smattering of horseplayers who backed Nowhere to Hide at 45-1 in the 2009 Kentucky Derby can take another shot with him trying for his second career victory when the colt runs Sunday in the eighth race at Churchill, a first-level turf allowance.

Nowhere to Hide has lost eight straight races since finishing 17th in the Derby and is now 1 for 17 in his career.

w Churchill Downs Inc. executives William Mudd and Phil Milliner helped mark the opening of Derby week with a ceremonial ringing of the opening bell Friday morning at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York.

- additional reporting by David Grening, Jay Privman, and Mike Welsch