06/07/2013 4:11PM

Lone Star Park notes: Arguello making fresh start


Jockey Fabio Arguello Jr., on Friday was traveling from his home in Louisville, Ky., to Texas to make something of a fresh career start. In a major circuit move, he plans to ride the remainder of the Lone Star Park meet that runs into July and continue to remain in the region for the Remington Park meet in Oklahoma City and the Oaklawn Park season in Arkansas.

Arguello, 40, reached a riding pinnacle in 1992, when he won the Kentucky Oaks with Luv Me Luv Me Not. That same spring season he finished first in the Churchill Downs jockey standings, in a tie with Pat Day. Arguello, who has had just eight mounts in 2013, recently returned from a four-month stay in his native Colombia. During that time, he visited with family. Upon his return home, he decided he wanted to branch out to a new market and ran the idea by a friend, Chicago-based agent Penny Fitch-Heyes.

“I came back from Colombia and I wanted to make a change,” Arguello said. “I wanted to ride somewhere else. I asked Penny if she knew anybody who was looking for a rider.”

Arguello said Fitch-Heyes put him in contact with Monty Penney, agent for Luis Quinonez, a leading rider in this region. Quinonez and Penney had intended to base at Churchill Downs this spring, but Quinonez was sidelined by injury and is not expected to return to riding until August.

Arguello’s career has had some stops and starts in recent years, as he himself has had to rebound from injuries. Arguello also has spent time tending to family matters in Colombia, and said he was hit particularly hard when his father died. He sees the move to Lone Star as a fresh start, signaling a recommitment to his riding career, one in which he has compiled 1,195 wins and $22 million in mount earnings since his first victory in 1990.

“It’s totally new, a big change,” Arguello said. “I’m really happy about it and I’m real excited about it. I’m looking forward to riding at Lone Star. At the end of the meet, I plan to go to Oklahoma, and when that’s done, I may go to Arkansas. I rode at Oaklawn before, in the mid-1990s.”

During that same era, Arguello participated in an international jockey challenge, representing the United States with Edgar Prado. Arguello also won riding titles at Ellis Park and Turfway. The year he captured the Churchill title he won 83 races, which is the fourth-highest win count in the track’s spring-meet history, according to Churchill official Darren Rogers. Other top career mounts for Arguello have included Hollywood Wildcat, with whom he won the Grade 3 Sorority at Monmouth in 1992, and Classic Seven, his Grade 2 Michigan Mile winner, also in 1992.

Drunk Dial vs. Canigotoo

Drunk Dial, who has won his last five starts, will return from a layoff of nearly one year Sunday in the fourth race at Lone Star. Awaiting him is Canigotoo, a speedster who two seasons ago won a local 2-year-old maiden race with a Beyer Speed Figure of 93. The pair will meet at 5 1/2 furlongs, in a $15,000 optional claimer that carries first-level allowance conditions and is restricted to 3-year-olds and up bred in Texas.

Drunk Dial last raced July 4, 2012, and won a $5,000 starter allowance at four furlongs on the turf at Lone Star. Roman Chapa has the mount for Tom Durant and trainer Jack Bruner.

Canigotoo, who is now 4, is returning to dirt following an off-the-board finish in a turf sprint. The last time he ran on the main track he was third in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas at Sam Houston on Jan. 19. Cliff Berry has the mount for the partnership of Jerry Durant and Bill Jordan. Canigotoo is trained by Danny Pish.