04/20/2010 11:00PM

Newcomers out for run at riding title

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AUBURN, Wash. - This week's fan-poll question on the Emerald Downs website is, "Who will be the leading rider at EmD in 2010?" Believe it or not, there is more than one possible answer.

Ricky Frazier has all but owned Emerald's rider standings the past six years, winning the title each season except 2005, when he finished second behind Kevin Krigger, and 2008, when Seth Martinez staged a furious rally to edge him in the waning days of the meeting.

Last year, Frazier rode 155 winners during the 91-day stand, 41 more than runner-up Gallyn Mitchell and 57 more than his next-closest pursuer. So it practically goes without saying that Frazier is an overwhelming favorite to capture the 2010 title. But three newcomers - two journeymen and an apprentice, all from California - are poised to impact the standings, and one, Inoel Beato, might even have what it takes to overturn Frazier's applecart.

Beato, 23, sits second in the standings with six wins through the first six racing days. He has finished in the top three with 19 of his 33 starters. And thanks to his tireless work ethic and the efforts of agent Boone McCanna, Beato has made inroads into virtually every top barn at Emerald Downs. He has ridden for a Who's Who of trainers, including Doris Harwood, Tim McCanna, Jim Penney, Junior Coffey, Pat Mullens, Dan Markle, Vince Gibson, Neil Knapp, Frank Lucarelli, and Blaine Wright.

"He's got the top agent, and it helps when you come into a new place and you're riding fit horses that are ready to run," said Wright, who teamed with Beato for a victory with first-time starter Mobius ($16.60) last Saturday. "You have a good chance to start the meeting off with a bang."

But can Beato usurp Frazier? They share the same agent, and there are more than enough live horses to go around. Beato rode head to head against Joel Rosario in his native Dominican Republic, and while he failed to stick in Southern California this winter, horses have responded to him in his brief tenure at Emerald. He could be in it for the long run.

"He's young, he's talented, he doesn't say a whole lot," Wright said. "He's been showing up and working hard and it's paying off for him. Style-wise, he's won a few on the front end, but he's sure good sitting about two lengths off of them. I think he's going to be a big factor in this jockey colony."

A second newcomer, Francisco Duran, also could make some noise this summer. He has dabbled at Emerald Downs before, but never tried to make a serious go of it. Now 32 and looking to reenergize his career, the Stockton, Calif., native arrived at Emerald Downs last week and won with 2 or his first 4 mounts, on Blame the Jockey ($8) for Lucarelli and Denkenesh ($33) for Penney. Duran began riding in 2001 and scored his 1,000th career victory last month at Golden Gate.

"He has some good ties up here. He's a good guy, and he knows his way around," Wright said of Duran, whose agent, Vito Lucarelli, is Frank Lucarelli's brother. "He's a front-end rider, he likes to send his horses, and shoot, about 70 percent of the races here are won on or right near the lead. He should do pretty well."

The third prominent newcomer, apprentice Pedro Terrero, rode exclusively for Lucarelli during the first two weeks of the meeting and made the most of his limited opportunities, winning with 3 of his 5 starters. He was aboard Classielyte ($5.20) on opening night, won with Private Swing ($3.80) last Friday, and booted home Cee the Lady ($3.40) Sunday.

Terrero has ridden 18 winners since starting his career in 2009. He endured a 1-for-79 stretch at Golden Gate over the winter, but one of his rare victories was aboard the Lucarelli-trained longshot Scrimdetermination, who paid $97.60 in a maiden claimer Dec. 13. The veteran trainer was duly impressed.

"For a bug rider, I think he can do about anything," Lucarelli said. "That filly laid third, took the lead, and won, and I saw him come from eighth and win on the day he left Golden Gate. But here, I told him to get 'em rocking, and he's done that. He's versatile. He listens, and he puts 'em where you ask him to put 'em. Whether I run last or first, I've never been disappointed with where he's put me."

Wright figures Terrero will be a force to be reckoned with.

"If you watch him, he rides like a journeyman - he's a good little rider," Wright said. "If he can do the weight - most of our riders are at 119, 120 - and if you get the seven-pound allowance, he's going to take off. People want to use the bug. That kid will be all right."