04/23/2007 11:00PM

Rosario becomes a magnet for live mounts


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Talented young jockey Joel Rosario will be on full display during Thursday's card at Golden Gate Fields.

Rosario, 22, a native of the Dominican Republic, has mounts in all eight races, and each one seems live, from Sail on Sunshine for trainer Gary Mandella in the first to Jorja's Straight for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in the eighth race.

Since arriving in Northern California last fall, Rosario has clearly established himself as No. 2 in the local jockey colony behind Hall of Famer Russell Baze, who broke Laffit Pincay Jr.'s career record for victories last December.

Rosario finished second to Baze during the Golden Gate winter meet, his first full meeting in the United States, with 30 wins to Baze's 44. He was also second in the just-concluded Bay Meadows meet with 54 wins. Baze won his 38th career title at Bay Meadows with 81 victories.

And when Baze went to Oaklawn Park on April 14 to ride in the Arkansas Derby, Rosario won five races locally, including the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Oaks for Hollendorfer aboard Round Trip Flight.

According to Rosario, he won four titles and finished second once at V Centenario, a racetrack in Santo Domingo.

Tom Doutrich, who is also the Bay Meadows racing secretary when that track is running, is Rosario's agent. Doutrich took over for Vic Stauffer, who returned to Southern California to resume duties as Hollywood Park's track announcer this week.

Doutrich said he has received criticism for taking Rosario's book because of a perceived conflict of interest. But Doutrich, who has booked mounts for Ron Warren and Francisco Duran, said he got the approval of Bay Meadows management and the stewards before accepting the job.

On Thursday, Rosario has two Southern California-based mounts, Sail on Sunshine and El Gato Famoso, who is trained by Jeff Mullins. He rides Tara's Caper and Star of the Bar for Art Sherman. Rosario has won 16 of 39 starts for Sherman, who will use him aboard Zoning In and Gallant Charmer on Sunday at Hollywood Park on Gold Rush Day.

"He always seems to finish strong," said Steve Sherman, who runs his father's Northern California string. "Sometimes he puts horses in places you don't expect, but he always gets them to finish."

Rosario also rides Just the Gold for Aggie Ordonez (2 for 8 together), Screening Calls for Ed Moger Jr. (14 for 74), Trojan Victory for Armando Lage (7 for 35), and Jorja's Straight for Hollendorfer (3 for 14).

Becrux, Charmo top Mile nominees

Seventeen runners, all based in Southern California, were nominated for Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 San Francisco Mile.

Becrux, winner of the Grade 1, $1omillion Woodbine Mile last September, tops the nominees, along with defending champ Charmo.

Milk It Mick, winner of the Gradeo1 Kilroe last year, and Get Funky, winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, were also nominated, as was comebacker Chinese Dragon, a stakes winner here. Dealer Choice from Bobby Frankel's barn comes off a victory in the Luck of the Irish at Bay Meadows in his first start of 2007. El Roblar, who lost by a head, and Willow O Wisp, a Grade 3 winner on turf, were second and third in the Grade 2 Arcadia at Santa Anita in their last start.

Thirteen sprinters were nominated to Sunday's $50,000 Oakland Handicap, including stakes winners Tricky Trevor, Vaderator, Court's in Session, Stone Rain, Areyoutalkin-tome, Sailors Sunset, and Smudgeledo, as well as Britt's Jules, runner-up to Vaderator and Smokey Stover in his past two starts.