07/19/2012 4:25PM

Louisiana Downs: Jockey Lovato begins comeback


Jockey Anthony Lovato, for years one of the top riders in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, has his first mount since 2010 in the second race Saturday at Louisiana Downs.

Lovato, 42, is named to ride Redhotrush in the about five-furlong turf sprint allowance that serves as the feature on a nine-race program. The pair will start from the rail in a race that is led by Texas shippers Wilby’s Ray and Col. Wright, as well as the promising 3-year-old Pure Tactics.
Lovato’s last mount on record came at the Downs at Albuquerque on Aug. 23, 2010. New Mexico was also the site of his first career win, in 1989. In between, Lovato has won 964 races from 7,206 mounts, and in 2000 he accounted for the riding title at Louisiana Downs. His most prestigious score came in 2002, when he took the Grade 3 Texas Mile on Unrullah Bull. Lovato also won several stakes with the high-profile sprinter Beau’s Town.

Wilby’s Ray could go favored Saturday after missing by a half-length in a four-furlong turf sprint at Lone Star Park on July 4. He finished fourth in the starter allowance that went in 43.60 seconds, one start after winning a five-furlong turf sprint at Lone Star. Richard Eramia has the mount for trainer Mike Burgess.

Pure Tactics is making his first start since March, when third in the $75,000 Black Gold at Fair Grounds. Hero of Order, who edged Pure Tactics for second in the race and was disqualified for interference, came back in his next start to win the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.