08/10/2011 12:29PM

River Downs: Contreras among candidates to succeed Tamburello as top apprentice


Amanda Tamburello lost her apprentice allowance after the races last weekend but there are plenty of apprentice riders to take her place at River Downs.

Tamburello has won 106 races lifetime, 101 of them in the last year. Apprentice riders have one year after their fifth win to maintain their status as an apprentice. For Tamburello, that day came last Saturday. Tamburello is second in the River Downs jockey standings with 46 wins coming into Wednesday's card, one ahead of Gabriel Lagunes and two in front of Yuri Yaranga. Perry Ouzts leads the standings with 100 wins.

Alejandro Contreras began riding last week and is looking for his first win. A native of Mexico City, Contreras,26, has been a gallop boy in Florida and Kentucky for the past 10 years and decided to try race riding at River Downs.

“I think it will be a good spot to learn, a lot of good riders have started here,” he said. “I think I can get some good experience.”

The two most notable riders to have begun their careers at River Downs are Steve Cauthen and Rafael Bejarano.

Thus far, Contreras has looked good on the limited number of starters he has ridden. His recent hiring of long-time agent Tom Clark should improve the number of mounts he receives.

“I have heard he is a good agent so I think we can do well together.” Contreras said.

Should Contreras get the experience he needs, he hopes to go to either Fair Grounds or Turfway Park this winter.

Two apprentice riders have moved their tack to Ellis Park already this summer, Crystal Carmen and Cory Orm. That still leaves Contreras, Adam Bowman, and Natalie Turner as apprentice riders getting a five- pound weight allowance at River Downs. Both Bowman and Turner attended Chris McCarron’s riding school in Lexington, Ky.