Updated on 09/16/2011 7:43AM

Lumpkins returns to California


ALBANY, Calif. - The return of jockey Jason Lumpkins spices up Sunday's nine-race card at Golden Gate Fields.

Lumpkins, 32, gave perennial leading rider Russell Baze one of his toughest races before Baze won his 25th title at Bay Meadows last spring. Lumpkins led Baze, 52-44, after 34 days of the 56-day spring meeting before Baze rallied to retain his crown, 95-89.

Lumpkins moved his tack to Mountaineer Park in West Virginia in July because of legal reasons he would not disclose. He said at the time that he planned to return to California this year.

Lumpkins is listed on six mounts for his return: Miss Punch in the first, Way to the Top in the third, Lady Victoriate in the fourth, Group Meeting in the sixth, Fun Meeting You in the eighth, and Listen to Blues in the ninth.

"He absolutely cannot wait to get back," said Dennis Patterson, who will be Lumpkins's agent again. "He flies in Saturday night and will ride Sunday. On Tuesday, he will take a six-day vacation with his wife and kids and will begin riding full-time on Feb. 6."

While Lumpkins is returning, Dennis Carr, who finished second to Baze at 10 different meetings between 1997 and 2000, is planning to leave northern California.

Carr, 33, who has sold his northern California home, said he planned to take a break and will resume riding this summer in his native New York.

"I want to take some time off to be fresh and ready to go," said Carr, who will ride locally for another week or two.

"It's not that I'm disappointed in how things are going, although you always want them to go better," he said. "Getting some time off will be the biggest thing."

Carr said he considered returning to New York last summer but rode the northern California fair circuit instead.

Carr said that after the Saratoga meeting ends, he will make a decision where he wants to ride in the fall. He indicated he might return to northern California at that time.

Carr rode in New York after getting his license in 1986. He came to California in 1995, although injuries prevented him from riding regularly until 1996.

"Being older, I'm a little more mature about things now. I have a lot more confidence in my riding now," Carr said, trying to compare himself as a rider now to when he left New York. "I got some business going and got myself in a groove."

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