11/20/2008 12:00AM

Wilson intends to take rare winter vacation


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson had a tough act to follow this year, and it was her own accomplishments that set the bar so high.

Beginning her career with a brief stint in the fall of 2004, Wilson won back-to-back Sovereign Awards as outstanding apprentice jockey in 2005 in 2006 while topping the Woodbine meeting in races won in both those years. She also was honored with an Eclipse Award in 2005.

Last year, she ended second in both races won and money won and experienced a career highlight when she rode Mike Fox to victory in the Queen's Plate.

This year, heading into the weekend Wilson was third in races won at the meet with 108, third in money won with $6.4 million, and fourth in stakes won with 10.

"It's hard to upstage your previous years when they've been pretty significant in success," said Wilson. "It just goes to speak to the high profile those past years have had."

Wilson, while operating relatively beneath the radar this year, still is more than pleased with her status as this meet grinds down to its Dec. 7 conclusion.

"It's been great," said Wilson, who turned 27 this past summer. "I'm sitting third in the standings, I'm winning stakes. I've had a lot of success with horses shipping up from out of town."

Among the horses she won stakes on are Secret Getaway, based at Arlington Park, who won the Victoria Park and Toronto Cup here, and Selva, who invaded from Chicago to capture last Saturday's Glorious Song.

Wilson noted that there is usually a loss of business when a jockey loses the apprentice allowance.

"Everybody talks about the downward slide after you lose your apprentice allowance," said Wilson, who is represented by agent Mike Luider. "It's not always instantaneous. Over a few years, it can take its toll.

"This is my second season as a full-fledged journeyman and I think we've established a groove. I think we've set the foundation for a long, long road of success."

That road may be close to home this winter, however. Unlike after the 2007 meet, when she rode at Fair Grounds in January and in Hong Kong in February and March, Wilson intends to take this winter off.

"It's been quite a few years, including the ones I've been galloping, that I've took a winter off," she said. "I started riding Thoroughbreds in 2001, and haven't stopped since.

"But if an opportunity arose, and it was something I wanted to do, I would do it."

Wilson will miss three more days

Wilson, who sat out a three-day suspension Wednesday through Friday, was slapped with another three-day ban after her mount, Crown Isle, finished first but was disqualified and placed eighth in a maiden race here last Saturday.

Wilson will defer two days from that second set in order to ride Just Rushing here in Saturday's $150,000 Kennedy Road and Tell It As It Is in next Thursday's Grade 2, $150,000 Falls City at Churchill Downs. The end result is that she will sit out the Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday cards here.

Pizzaro defers suspension

Tyler Pizarro has been granted an exemption to ride Pleasant Review in Sunday's $150,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Pizarro, 22, who was Canada's outstanding apprentice award winner last year, was slated to begin a three-day suspension on Sunday after withdrawing his appeal of an earlier ruling. Pizarro now will serve his days Wednesday through Friday.

Apprentice collects first victory

Justin Stein was the riding star here Wednesday night, with three consecutive winners.

But the jockey who undoubtedly will have the fondest memories of the cold and snowy evening is apprentice Beth Wyard, who recorded the first win of her career.

Wyard, 23, broke the ice in her 29th career start as Chatty Cat ($25), trained by Lyle Morden, captured the eighth and final race.

"The horse just carried me around," said Wyard. "It was pretty exciting, to get the monkey off my back. Hopefully, they'll be many more like that."

Wyard actually does not do herself justice as she maneuvered Chatty Cat over to the rail, which had been the place to be all evening, from his No. 8 post and launched the winning move at the head of the stretch.

A resident of nearby Cambridge, Wyard had been introduced to horses at a very early age and was active in show-jumping and cross-country riding. She was giving riding lessons when neighbor Peter Katsimbras, who then was running the jockeys' kitchen here at Woodbine, brought her to the racetrack about seven years ago.

"I loved the atmosphere, and I loved the people," said Wyard. "I wound up working here, hotwalking and galloping for Jimmy Day."

Wyard also galloped horses for former trainer Cliff Hopmans and trainer Mike Doyle, her current patron.

In mid-October Wyard took out her jockey's license and finished second with Rich Era, who is trained by Doyle, in her first appearance.

Following the conclusion of the meeting here Dec. 7, she plans to head to Florida and will be exercising horses for trainer Brian Lynch at Palm Meadows.

Owner of Mia d'Cougar plans another appeal

Owner Brenda Goodlet is taking the disqualification of Mia d'Cougar to the head offices of the Ontario Racing Commission after her appeal was turned down by the Ontario Racing Industry's Board of Appeal.

Mia d'Cougar had finished first in the 10th race here Sept. 20 but was disqualified and placed fifth by the stewards. Goodlet appealed that decision to the board, which ruled against her on Nov. 10.