10/30/2007 11:00PM

O'Riain increases Vazquez stakes tally

EmailWhen O'Riain crossed the finish line first in the $50,000 Ohio Freshman at Beulah Park on Breeders' Cup Day, it was the 10th lifetime stakes win for trainer Ivan Vazquez. All of his stakes victories have come in Ohio, with six at Beulah Park, three at River Downs, and one at Thistledown.

Vazquez, 56, was assistant to the late Albert Palacios for 23 years, until Palacios's death nearly two years ago. Vazquez, a native of Puerto Rico, has kept most of the same owners that helped Palacios become a legend in Ohio racing.

"Albert and I really got along well, worked well with each other," Vazquez said. "He was 'old school' when it came to training."

After Palacios died in an auto accident in September 2005, Vazquez took over the stable.

"All of the owners backed me, and that is what makes horse racing fun and makes it worthwhile - great owners," Vazquez said. "And I have some of the best you could possibly want; they are very good to me."

Two of his charges will be up for divisional honors this winter. Beside O'Riain, winner of both the Best of Ohio Juvenile and the Freshman, Vazquez also trains Catlaunch, who sports a 5-3-1 record in 9 starts this year, including victories in the Governors Buckeye Handicap and Michael Rowland Memorial at Thistledown.

"O'Riain has the right attitude to be a nice horse," Vazquez said of the William Ryan-owned 2-year-old. "When Mr. Ryan sent him to me, he said all of the people at Ocala that broke him thought a lot of him.

"A good horse can make you look like you know what you are doing," he said, chuckling.