04/20/2011 1:21PM

Guidry hopes to find spot as a steward


OPELOUSAS, La. – For the second time in four years, Mark Guidry finds himself at a career crossroads. In the fall of 2007, the native of Lafayette, La., hung up his tack for the final time as a jockey. In his remarkable 33-year riding career, Guidry racked up 5,043 victories and numerous riding titles while dominating the Chicago circuit. He also received the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2006.

“It was just time,” Guidry said of his retirement. “It was time to move on to the next step.”

The next step was a career as a trainer. Although he enjoyed some success, winning 30 races from 300 starters, Guidry says he is ready to move on once again.

“I just really didn’t have the stock I needed to,” Guidry. “I’ve won a few races but think my future lies elsewhere. I’ve thought about maybe being a jock’s agent but I think becoming a racing official is really what will be best for me.”

Those thoughts are not a recent development for Guidry, now 52. The former reinsman attended steward’s school immediately following his retirement from riding and passed the required tests to become accredited.

“That was when I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after riding,” Guidry said. “I thought it would be a good idea to become accredited just in case.”

Guidry went on to say that he thinks it is a good idea to have a former rider in the stewards stand.

“As an ex-rider, I feel that interpreting films is almost second nature to me as many as I’ve watched over the years. Others may be better, more familiar, with administrative or medication issues but with regard to trips, I feel I’m very qualified.”

Guidry’s career as a conditioner ended on a winning note when he sent out Daniel Bell’s Sotogenic in the Camellia Stakes for Alabama-breds at Evangeline on April 9.

“He’s a longtime friend of mine from Chicago,” Guidry said of Bell. “The plan was to get her through that statebred stake. I had already gotten rid of all my other stock.”

Guidry said he recently applied for a vacant steward position at Louisiana Downs, which begins its season on May 6.

◗ Former trainer Donald Lee Farmer passed away recently after coming down with pneumonia. He was 64.

Farmer trained both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds in south Louisiana after serving as Bubba Cascio’s assistant in the 1970’s. Farmer was also a nationally ranked arm wrestler in the 1960’s and 70’s.