09/08/2004 12:00AM

Thistledown track report


It's Faulkner time at Thistledown. With 108 days of the 187-day racing season completed, the father-son trainers are first and third in the standings, with son Rodney Faulkner leading with 52 winners from 244 starts and father Joe Faulkner third with 42 winners from 244 starters. Jerry Hollendorfer is second with 45 of 116.

The Faulkners came here in 2001, and a third member of the family, Randy, also trained here for two seasons. Another son, Ricky, is a blacksmith on the Texas circuit.

Joe Faulkner began training Quarter Horses in Texas. After years of racing at mixed meets in Texas, Joe and his sons switched to Thoroughbreds.

The Faulkners own just about every horse they train, and are one-two in the owner standings for the season. Rodney has a one-winner advantage over his father, 32-31. Third in that category is Mark Yagour with 25, and next is Hollendorfer with 23.

At the current Randall meeting, third of the four meets that make up the season, Joe and Rodney are in a dead heat in the trainer standings with 18 wins each.

Rodney began began his career riding match races when he was 8; he started training at 16 and won his first race at Bandera Downs in Texas in 1983. He has a wife, Peggy, and two stepsons. One is Frankie Pennington, who began his riding career here last year and is now a top apprentice on the Pennsylvania circuit.

The rider standings for the season also show a dead heat, between Luis Antonio Gonzalez and Huber Villa-Gomez. Both have 87 winners from 444 mounts. There is also a tie for third between Weldon Cloninger Jr. and Scott Spieth, with 74.