09/09/2014 10:46AM

Jerardi: Michael Ritvo comes north in pursuit of live mounts

Coglianese Photos
Jockey Michael Ritvo has moved his tack to the Mid-Atlantic circuit.

Michael Ritvo, the top apprentice rider at Gulfstream Park, has come to the Mid-Atlantic looking to get mounts at the recently opened Laurel Park meet, Delaware Park, Parx, and Penn National.

“The big boys are returning to Gulfstream, and there is so much more opportunity up here to ride six or seven days and nights,” Ritvo said. “I am excited to show everyone what I got. The plan is to ride mostly at Delaware until the meet ends [Oct. 22] to get my name out there and then focus on Laurel.”

In 2013, Victor Carrasco became the 10th Maryland-based jockey to win the Eclipse Award as the outstanding apprentice rider. The Maryland run began with Chris McCarron (1974) and continued through Ronnie Franklin (1978), Alberto Delgado (1982), Allen Stacy (1986), Kent Desormeaux (1987), Mike Luzzi (1989), Mark Johnston (1990), Jeremy Rose (2001), and Ryan Fogelsonger (2002).

“You see all the high-caliber riders that have come out of here, and that excites me,” Ritvo said. “The trainers are very friendly to the bug, which gives young riders so many opportunities to succeed.”

Ritvo comes from a serious racing family. His father, Tim, a former jockey and trainer, is Gulfstream Park’s president, and his mother, Kathy, trained 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man.

“Everyone thinks this was something I always wanted to do my whole life, but it wasn’t,” Michael Ritvo said. “I liked different sports growing up and wasn’t fixed on being a rider. That changed during my junior year of high school, and then my senior year it was really something I wanted to do, so two days after graduating, I got on a plane to Philly to learn how to ride from my uncle [trainer Mike Petro]. Then I headed down to Ocala to break babies for a year.”

Ritvo has the bug until June 7.

Winningest horse in North America

Nearly 50,000 horses have run at least once in North America this year. Only one horse has won 11 times. That horse, Handsup Moneydown, based at Parx Racing with owner-trainer Ramon Preciado, is 11 for 14 in 2014, with earnings of almost $250,000. Just before the big stakes began on Labor Day at Parx, Handsup Moneydown won at, incredibly enough, 6-1 and earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure.

Handsup Moneydown was claimed last October for $7,500. He got two seconds and a win after the claim before getting on this incredible roll. This year, the horse has won at five, six, 6 1/2, and seven furlongs. He was second going a mile and 70 yards. He is even 1 for 2 in grass sprints. Pablo Fragoso has ridden the 5-year-old son of Sharp Humor all year.

Prior to the claim, Handsup Moneydown was 1 for 12, with a best Beyer of 66. Since then, he has gotten an 80 or better 10 times, including a 90 or higher three times.

Race for the Ribbon on Sept. 20

It will be a great day-night Mid-Atlantic doubleheader on Sept. 20, with the two $1 million races at Parx in the late afternoon and the Charles Town races starting in the late afternoon and running until late that night, with the Grade 3, $500,000 Charles Town Oaks scheduled to go off at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.

At Charles Town, Race for the Ribbon Day will commence with a 10:30 a.m. registration for the breast-cancer walk around the track, which begins at noon. A silent auction will start at 5 p.m. and end at 10 on the third floor of the Skyline Terrace Ballroom. The $100,000 Pink Ribbon is scheduled for 9:45 p.m.

The standings

With 100 days to go, Preciado (74) has a small lead over defending champ Pat Farro (71) in the Parx training race.

Daniel Centeno (45) and Alex Cintron (42) remain in a very close race in the Delaware Park jockeys’ standings.

Tim Kreiser (63) and Jeff Runco (93) ended the trainers’ races at Penn National and Charles Town, respectively, quite a long time ago. Dana Whitney (96) and J.D. Acosta (107) seem just about home in the respective jockeys’ races.