06/15/2011 4:06PM

Thistledown: Michigan transplants lead the standings

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There has been an influx of Michigan trainers and riders to Thistledown this year following the closing of Pinnacle Race Course. Four of the former Michigan trainers are in the top 10 in the standings, including leader Robert Gorham who has 10 wins. Michigan regulars Ronald Allen Sr. and Richard Rettele each have 4 wins and Laura Jackson has 3.

In the jockeys’ race, Michigan rider Federico Mata leads the pace with 19 winners from 73 mounts. Perennial local riding leader Luis Gonzalez is second with 12 wins from 47 rides.

Gorham won the training title at Pinnacle the last two years. In 2010 he saddled 67 winners from 298 starters and in 2009 he sent out 83 winners while starting 377 horses.

Gorham has won 916 career races from 5,409 starters.

Mata was the runner-up the last two seasons at Pinnacle. He started riding in 1988 and to date he has won 2,588 races.

The trainer-rider duo of Gorham and Mata have a 50 percent win average when they team up.

* Thistledown’s version of happy hour, Finish Line Friday, will feature live music from 4 to 8 p.m. A bottle of beer is $2 and hot dogs are $1.
Thistledown’s new clubhouse policy Belmont Day was a success. For the past decade on Triple Crown days, there had been a $35 charge in the clubhouse for a seat and a buffet. This year the track’s new owner Caesars Entertainment added a Las Vegas touch and dropped the tab to $19 and the room was jammed and extra tables were needed to accommodate the crowd.