04/02/2013 3:24PM

Oaklawn Park: Jockeys Santana, Quinonez headed to Churchill Downs

Tom Keyser
Jockey Luis Quinonez will head to Churchill Downs when the Oaklawn Park meet ends April 13 instead of making his usual stop at Lone Star Park.

Ricardo Santana Jr., the leading rider at Oaklawn, and Luis Quinonez, the 2007 title winner in Hot Springs who also won five championships at Canterbury, will be based at Churchill Downs for the first time in their careers following the end of the Oaklawn meet April 13.

Santana, 19, had won 52 races at Oaklawn through Wednesday. Last year, he took the title at Delaware Park. The next stop will be the Churchill meet that opens April 27, said his agent, Ruben Munoz.

“We’ll give it a shot,” Munoz said. “With the meet like we had here, it makes sense to just try it. That’s what we’re thinking. We’ll go there, probably take a week off to go to Keeneland and meet people.”

Munoz said that last fall, Santana spent a week riding at Churchill. He was there for a stakes engagement and to ride a couple of horses for another client.

Quinonez, 46, has been a top-five rider in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas for years, but instead of heading to his usual stop at Lone Star Park after Oaklawn, he will branch out to Churchill.

“I’ve been riding a bunch for Donnie Von Hemel, and he’s going there,” Quinonez said of the Oaklawn-based trainer who is to have a division this year at Churchill.

Quinonez has been riding such horses for Von Hemel as Alternation, a multiple Grade 2 winner, and She’s All In, who just passed $800,000 in earnings. Other top horses he has ridden for the barn include near-millionaire Brownie Points.

“It’s a big move,” Quinonez said of heading to Churchill. “But we don’t have anything to lose, and maybe something to gain.”

Quinonez’s agent, Monty Penney, will represent the rider in Kentucky.