10/25/2012 4:58PM

Santa Anita: Eswan Flores completes suspension for cocaine positive

Michael Amoruso
Fans who show up early at Santa Anita on Saturday will get to see Shackleford up close in his barn.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockey Eswan Flores resumed working horses at Santa Anita on Thursday, days after completing a 60-day suspension for a cocaine positive at Del Mar.

Flores said that he hopes to return to riding during the first week of the Betfair Hollywood Park autumn meeting, which begins on Nov. 8.

The 19-year-old jockey was the leading apprentice on this circuit earlier this year, finishing fourth in the standings at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting. He later finished seventh at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting and had just eight wins at Del Mar when he was taken off his mounts on Aug. 24.

Flores later tested positive for metabolites of cocaine, according to a California Horse Racing Board ruling issued in September. Flores vehemently denies that he took cocaine.

“We’re trying to figure it out,” Flores said. “We have no clue” how it happened.

The suspension was retroactive to Aug. 25 and ended on Tuesday. During the suspension, his term as an apprentice jockey expired.

Wednesday, Flores signed a testing agreement with the racing board, allowing for him to undergo random drug testing for the duration of his career, according to Santa Anita steward Kim Sawyer. As part of his reinstatement, Flores is required to undergo counseling with the Winner’s Foundation, which aids people in horse racing with substance abuse problems.

Flores is eligible to resume riding at any time, but he said on Thursday that he plans to spend the next two weeks exercising horses and regaining full fitness.

The winner of 109 Thoroughbred races, Flores began his career riding Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos, and shifted to the Thoroughbred circuit on a full-time basis in 2011.

Thursday, Flores said he is striving to have no more interruptions to his career, and took part of his down time to learn more about nutrition.

“I got a nutritionist and we’re working on a strategy,” he said. “I’ve got to be disciplined. Hopefully we can come back strong.”

Fans get close look at Shackleford

Shackleford, the winner of the 2011 Preakness Stakes and a top contender for the BC Dirt Mile here on Nov. 3, will be on display on Saturday.

Shackleford is scheduled to have a workout at Santa Anita at approximately 8 a.m.

From 11 a.m. to noon, Shackleford’s fans will be able to see the 4-year-old colt at trainer Dale Romans’s stable. Romans will take part in a question-and-answer session, and Shackleford will be presented for photographs.

To take part in the stable tour, fans are asked to gather at Clocker’s Corner, the popular vantage point at the top of the Santa Anita stretch, for a tram ride to the stable.

Shackleford is the likely favorite for the Dirt Mile, which will be his first start in California. Owned by Michael Lauffer, Bill Cubbedge, and Phillips Racing Partnership, Shackleford has won 5 of 18 starts and $2,824,047.

Earlier this year, he won the Churchill Downs Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard and the Grade 1 Metropolitan Mile at Belmont Park.

◗ My Best Brother, the winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 2, worked five furlongs on turf in 1:00.60 on Thursday. Trained by Julio Canani for owners Al Eisman and Bill Currin, My Best Brother is a top contender for the $150,000 Twilight Derby over 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-olds on Nov. 2. The Twilight Derby is on the undercard of the first day of the Breeders’ Cup races.