05/10/2011 4:56PM

Lone Star Park: Riders win first career races


There were two apprentice riders who won the first races of their careers Saturday at Lone Star Park. In the sixth race, Rodolfo De La Cruz Guerra guided The Real Story ($26.40) to victory in what was his first career mount. In the ninth race, Brayan Velazquez won for the first time with his fifth career mount, Come Slew Me ($3.40).

Velazquez, 18, is the older brother of Denny Velazquez, who was the leading apprentice at Fair Grounds this past winter with 11 wins. Denny, 17, is now riding in Indiana.

Brayan Velazquez launched his career at Lone Star in April. For the past two years, he has been galloping horses in Oklahoma. The brothers were introduced to racing by their father, former trainer Eleazer Velazquez.

“My dad taught me and my little brother,” said Brayan Velazquez.

Saturday was a good day to be named Velazquez, with John Velazquez winning his first Kentucky Derby.

“He won it, then 15 minutes later I won my first race,” said Brayan, who is not related to the New York-based John Velazquez.

Shawn Bergquist represents Brayan Velazquez.

Guerra, who goes by Rudy, is 20, said his agent, Toby Cathey. Guerra began galloping horses at 16 at a farm in California. He did the same at Santa Anita before his family moved to Texas and he spent time on a farm working with former jockey Jeremy Beasley. Cathey said he got word about Guerra from trainer Mindy Willis, for whom Guerra was galloping at Lone Star. The win Saturday was a pick-up mount, said Cathey.

Return to turf for The Mallard Man

The Mallard Man, who last month dominated the $50,000 Arkansas Breeders’ for statebreds at Oaklawn Park, will return to arguably his best surface, the turf, in the fourth race Thursday at Louisiana Downs. The $25,000 optional claimer with second-level allowance will be run at about a mile.

The Mallard Man put up his best Beyer Figure, an 80, when last seen on the grass, in a turf allowance at Louisiana Downs. Don Simington, who is tied atop the jockey standings, has the mount for Five Star Racing and trainer Al Cates.

◗ Apprentice jockey Ron Richard sustained a broken jaw in a Saturday spill, according to his agent, Don Pettinger. He has undergone surgery, and was in Dallas Methodist Hospital as of Tuesday morning. There were two other riders involved in the chain-reaction spill, with John Rochabrun and Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez both escaping serious injuries.