04/29/2010 11:00PM

Newcomers making names for themselves


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It didn't take long for jockeys Isaias Cardenas and Amadeo Perez to make their presence known at Hastings. In just his second mount of the meet, Cardenas guided Epic Melody to a win in the second race of the meet, which opened last Saturday. Perez closed out the weekend with a win aboard $66.60 longshot Rainbow Dash for trainer Frank Barroby. Barroby was recently inducted into the local horse racing hall of fame for both his record as a jockey and a trainer. He has also had a hand in developing some of the leading riders at Hastings.

Cardenas, 33, arrived at Hastings roughly a week before the meet opened with a solid reputation, and it didn't take long to see why. He was reportedly one of the top riders at Hipodromo de las Americas in Mexico City since he began riding there in 1992.

He finished fourth aboard 53-1 longshot Amy Oh My in the first race he rode here, and his ride caught the eye of Barroby.

"Everyone is impressed when a rider wins a race, but I watched him in the first race, and I could tell he can ride," said Barroby. "He came out of the gate just fine, and after letting him drift a little on the turn he came back down, which is something you have to do here. I told Pedro that he reminded me a lot of him."

Barroby was referring to Pedro Alvarado, who was the leading rider here three years in a row beginning in 2002.

One of the reasons Cardenas landed at Hastings was the difference in the purses here compared with Mexico City.

"They are 10 times more here," he said. "Plus I heard that this was a nice place to live and ride. I would also like to learn more about riding from some of the riders here."

Cardenas and Perez are also going to be learning a new language as both speak very little English. Jockey Ismael Mosqueira acted as the interpreter. They have both started taking English lessons at the learning center located above the kitchen in the Hastings backstretch.

Perez, 26, took a little longer to get his first win here, but he did it with style, coming from well off to pace to score the upset.

"He gave my horse a perfect ride," said Barroby. "He saved ground when he could and then wheeled him out when it was time to make the move. Both of them can really finish on a horse, and everyone I've talked to seems to be very happy to have them here."

Perez has been riding since 2002 and like Cardenas, he is hoping to grow as a rider.

"I wanted to try a new track, and I also heard they had pretty good riders here," he said. "Hopefully I can learn something new from them."

Also riding here for the first time, and also from Mexico City, is Jose Gustavio Tapia. Tapia, 29, started out riding in match races in small towns in Mexico in 1993. He began riding full time at the Hipodromo de las Americas in 2000. He worked as a groom at Hastings last year and he has been exercising and working horses here all spring. He went winless in his first four mounts at the meet,

Harold Barroby, Frank's brother and the all-time leading trainer at Hastings, is glad to see the new faces.

"They can all ride and it makes a big difference to the smaller barns, who have a hard time getting the top riders," he said. "It will make for a much more competitive meet."

Concert Music scores in return

Concert Music stamped herself as the horse to beat in the $50,000 Brighouse Belles May 9 with an impressive win in a classified allowance race last Sunday. Concert Music went into the race as a bit of an unknown commodity. She had won her first two starts as a 3-year-old last spring but then missed the rest of the year when she came down with a virus.

She was facing proven stakes winners in her comeback race, and she couldn't have been more impressive with her 3 3/4-length win over her stablemate Blue Sky Holiday. Sprint stakes winner Wind Storm finished third as the 6-5 favorite.

"She came out of the race bouncing," said Concert Music's trainer, John Snow. "I wasn't sure if she could beat a good horse like Wind Storm, but, I have to say she was pretty impressive."

Snow was also pleased with the way Blue Sky Holiday ran.

"She really wants more distance but she really made a strong move around the turn," he said. "I'll probably run them both back in the Brighouse Belles."

Concert Music received a Beyer Speed Figure of 89.

* Almost Time was given the same figure for his win in a similar race on Saturday. According to his trainer, Dino Condilenios, Almost Time will likely make his next start in the George Royal next Saturday. Condilenios also said that Teide, the local horse of the year in 2009, would be making his seasonal debut in the George Royal.