11/13/2009 12:00AM

Karlsson opts for change of scenery


STICKNEY, Ill. - Seven jockeys at the ongoing Hawthorne Race Course meet had won between 19 and 23 races through Thursday. But remove Inez Karlsson, who sits at 21 victories, from the leading-rider discussion.

Karlsson was to begin serving a three-day suspension Saturday, and after her brief ban ends, she will be back in action here Thursday and Friday. But that will probably be it for Karlsson and Hawthorne this season. Karlsson said that after Nov. 19 she will head to Tampa Bay Downs, where she'll be represented by Oscar Sanchez. Sanchez booked mounts at Arlington for Junior Alvarado, who was the leading rider at the 2009 meet there.

Karlsson, a native of Sweden and former amateur boxer, has ridden almost exclusively in Chicago since she began her career in 2007, though she spent time at Woodbine in Canada before settling here. In 2008, Karlsson was a finalist for an Eclipse award in the apprentice-jockey category, and she won the riding title at the Hawthorne fall-winter meet of 2008-2009. She said she plans to return to Chicago for the Arlington season in 2010, perhaps riding "a couple of weeks at Hawthorne" in April.

"I guess I wanted to try something different," Karlsson said of her move to Florida. "I think I should give it a shot right now."

As for the remaining Hawthorne riders, Ariel Smith continues to hold a narrow lead. Going into Friday's card, he had 23 wins to 22 for Eddie Perez. But Tim Thornton, leading rider here in the spring, is coming on. Thornton won the last three races on Thursday's card to bring his meet total to 21.

Injury keeps Yankee Injunuity out

Yankee Injunuity came within a couple days of shipping to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, for which he had been pre-entered. But in his final Hawthorne work for the race, Yankee Injunuity suffered a leg injury that forced him and trainer Jim McMullen to skip the trip.

"It looked like he strained his suspensory [ligament]," said McMullen, who also owns a piece of Yankee Injunuity, winner of the Arlington Sprint this summer. "I breezed him [Oct. 29]. He breezed pretty good, he was into it, but when he came back he was really tight and short all over. We let him cool out, looked him over, and he was pretty sensitive to palpating his suspensory."

Yankee Injunuity still is stabled with McMullen at Hawthorne, but he won't be racing for a while.

"When I head to [Tampa Bay Downs] next week, we'll probably drop him off in Ocala, give him a little break, and look at bringing him back next year," McMullen said.

Cumulonimble earns a break

Last season, at age 2, the Illinois-bred filly Cumulonimble showed promise but didn't really deliver on the racetrack. That all changed this year. Cumulonimble won five races in 2009, showing good form on Arlington Polytrack but running even better when trainer Steve Hobby switched her to turf this summer. But after a good-looking, 2 1/4-length turf-allowance victory Wednesday at Hawthorne, Cumulonimble is finished racing until 2010, Hobby said this week.

"We're going to take her to Kentucky and turn her out," Hobby said. "We'll bring her back at Oaklawn and get her ready for the summer."

After winning three in a row at Arlington, Cumulonimble went to Keeneland for the Grade 3 Valley View last month, finishing a fading sixth after jockey Jesus Castanon ducked to the rail for the stretch run, winding up on the worst part of a wet course.

"He just made a bad choice when he went to the rail," said Hobby. "I don't know that she would have won, but I think she would have been right there."

* The Sunday feature is a route race for 2-year-old fillies - but don't expect to see 2010 Kentucky Oaks hopefuls. The Sunday feature feels more like a conditioned claimer or an Illinois-bred race than a proving ground for future stakes horses. Perhaps the filly with the most promise is Heavenly Lass, who is route-bred but beat Illinois-bred sprinters in her career debut Oct. 30 at Hawthorne.

* Allan Monat has been appointed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to serve as a commissioner on the Illinois Racing Board. Monat, once a jockey in Chicago, replaces commissioner Dennis Bookshester.