12/30/2005 12:00AM

Lumpkins back in Kentucky to stay

Email

Jason Lumpkins, a former leading rider at Turfway Park, has rejoined the Turfway jockey colony after spending much of the past year riding in California and Delaware. He has mounts in all 10 races on Sunday after being named aboard two horses Saturday, his first day back riding this winter.

His return comes at an opportune time, with jockey Jesus Castanon shifting his tack to Tampa Bay Downs following the holiday meet at Turfway, which ends Saturday. Castanon led the holiday meet jockey standings through Thursday.

Lumpkins, 35, who won the Turfway Park winter-spring riding title in 2003, said that he intends to keep Kentucky his base after switching circuits regularly over the years.

"I'm going to make it work here in Kentucky," he said.

He believes he has moved around the country too often, always in search of what he felt was a better career opportunity. But he said he has longed to be home with his wife, Dawn, and three children, all of whom reside in Kentucky.

Lumpkins last rode in late October at Delaware Park, where he finished seventh in the standings despite missing the last two weeks of the meet. Wrist surgery followed, stemming from an old riding injury, and for the past two months Lumpkins has been recuperating and spending time with his family at his farm in Campbellsburg, Ky. Aside from trying to shake a winter cold, he said, "I feel good."

Quarantine may be partially lifted

The 44 horses quarantined in a barn that showed evidence of the contagious equine herpes virus may soon be allowed to return to segregated training, track and state officials said Friday.

Dr. Robert Stout, state veterinarian for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said test results on the quarantined horses indicated that the virus had cleared their systems. A prior round of blood and nasal swab testing had shown that approximately 10 horses within the barn had evidence of the virus, he said.

Stout said Friday afternoon that he still needed to meet with other agriculture officials and track management to determine when the quarantined horses could train separately from the general horse population. Turfway Park president Bob Elliston said that could happen early next week.

There have been no reported cases of the virus extending beyond the quarantined barn, Stout said.

On the Border is under the radar

Facing a pair of recent winners in Chief Commander and Spruce Hero in Sunday's ninth race at Turfway, an optional claiming race at a mile, On the Border will be likely viewed by the public as somewhat of an outsider. That can only be considered a good thing, considering how well trainer Doug Danner's horses have performed at prices this winter at Turfway.

Besides On the Border's runner-up finish at 20-1 odds in the Prairie Bayou Stakes on Dec. 17, Danner had at least two other horses outperform their odds during the holiday meet at Turfway. Power and Achase won a $5,000 claimer at 9-2 odds Dec. 23, and Bobby Jack lit the board in taking a maiden $15,000 claiming race Dec. 27, paying $245.20.

On the Border won't be near that price, likely at around 5-1 as the expected third or fourth betting choice in a seven-horse field. Even at that price, he appears to offer value.

A $15,000 claimer at one point over the summer, On the Border has blossomed over the Polytrack surface at Turfway. He ran third in a starter allowance for high-priced claimers in the fall at Turfway, and this meet he has a win against $25,000 stock to go along with his runner-up finish in the Prairie Bayou. Dean Sarvis, who has been up for two of the horse's three victories in 2005, has the mount.

Spruce Hero, a 4 1/4-length winner vs. similar opposition Dec. 17, is the probable favorite in a race that is essentially a three-other-than allowance with a $29,000 purse. He races for a $50,000 tag under the optional claiming conditions. Rafael Mojica rides for trainer Dallas Stewart.