08/12/2011 11:57AM

Woodbine: Jockey entering new phase


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – For jockey Ryan Pacheco, life without the “bug” is about to begin.

Pacheco, a 28-year-old native of Toronto, was scheduled to ride without his apprentice allowance for the first time in Friday’s ninth race and his agent, Trapper Barroby, had lined up three mounts for Saturday and four for Sunday.

“It just feels like I’ve graduated from university,” said Pacheco on the backstretch here Friday morning.

“Now I can say I’m a man.”

Pacheco moves into the journeyman phase of his career as the leading apprentice rider in Ontario, with 19 wins at Woodbine at another six at Fort Erie.

A graduate of Chris McCarron’s North American Riding Academy, Pacheco had recorded single wins at Hoosier Park, Mountaineer Park, and Ellis Park in 2009 before launching his career in earnest here the following spring.

But, after winning three races, Pacheco decided to move his tack to Hastings Park in mid-season.

“I was finding it tough to get the mounts I wanted to get here,” said Pacheco. “I thought I needed to get on more horses, consecutively, each day.

“There were too many apprentices here, and nobody was looking to make a move, so I took the initiative.

“I looked at several tracks and decided that Hastings was the best place to go. There were only two apprentices there, and I thought I could make a name for myself. It ended up going very well.”

Pacheco hooked up with Barroby at Hastings and rode 34 winners, good for seventh in the standings.

He then returned to Woodbine, with Barroby in tow, and added nine more wins in the last six weeks of the meeting.

“I had fully intended to go back to Vancouver this year, but my agent and I talked, and thought we could make another run at Woodbine,” said Pacheco.

After staying home most of the winter in Toronto with family before spending a month in Florida renewing acquaintances with local horsemen, Pacheco started back here this spring.

“Early on, I had a few wins here and there, but I wasn’t really catching fire yet,” said Pacheco. “As soon as my apprentice status started to dwindle, I started doing my best.”

Pacheco won four races here in his final full week with his weight allowance, and has 15 wins in total since the beginning of July.

“We’ve got the momentum,” said Pacheco. “We’ll just have to try to build on it.”

Barroby has new young client

Barroby has taken over as the agent for apprentice Alexander Marti, a 19-year-old native of Argentina who moved his tack here this spring.

Marti was credited with four wins in his native country, and had his apprentice allowance cut from 10 to five pounds after winning with Believe the Fox via a disqualification here July 1.

Trainer Ross Armata, who sent out first-place finisher Dubai Calling, appealed that disqualification, and the case has yet to be heard by the Ontario Racing Commission.

Two breeze on turf for stakes

Stormy Lord and Poof Too both breezed five furlongs on the turf training track here Friday morning in preparation for upcoming stakes engagements.

Regular rider Jim McAleney was aboard Stormy Lord, who was clocked in 1:01.80 on a course rated good with the dogs well out.

Stormy Lord, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Ian Black, won the restricted Ontario Jockey Club over seven furlongs on turf in his most recent start here July 13.

His next target is the Aug. 28 Play the King, a seven-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and upward which offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $200,000.

The nominations for the Play the King were released on Friday and a total of 26 horses are eligible.

Poof Too was timed in 1:02.40 and is scheduled to make her next appearance in the Grade 3, $150,000 Ontario Colleen over one mile on turf here Aug. 27.

Trained by Mark Frostad, Poof Two won her debut over 6 1/2 furlongs on turf here last September but then finished a distant third on the main track in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Mazarine.

“She injured herself in the Mazarine, and had a long convalescence,” said Frostad, noting that Poof Two had been at Palm Meadows before returning to Woodbine this spring.

“Since we got her back, she’s been going well.”

Poof Two has started once at the meeting, winning a first-level allowance for fillies and mares over 6 1/2 furlongs on turf here July 16 with her regular rider, Patrick Husbands, in the irons.

“We entered her in the [Ontario Colleen] prep, but it didn’t go,” said Frostad.

The Ontario Colleen, an open race for 3-year-old fillies, also attracted 26 nominees.

Moonshine Mullin ‘50-50’ for Travers

Moonshine Mullin, a candidate for Saratoga’s Aug. 27 Travers, breezed five furlongs on the dirt training track in 1:03.20 here Friday morning.

“He breezed good,” said Reade Baker, who gave Moonshine Mullin’s regular rider, Emma-Jayne Wilson, a leg up for the drill.

“He’ll come back next week, and if he goes quicker and acts good, we’ll think about the Travers.

“We’re still 50-50.”

Moonshine Mullin, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old, is coming off a second-place finish as the longest shot in the board in Saratoga’s 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy on July 31.

◗ Fatal Bullet and Grand Adventure both breezed five furlongs on the training track in preparation for the Play the King. Baker trains Fatal Bullet, who was clocked in 1:01.40. Grand Adventure, trained by Frostad, was the fastest of 14 workers at the distance with a time of :58.80.

◗ With Luis Contreras slated to be at Saratoga next Saturday to ride Inglorious in the Grade 1 Alabama, Wilson has picked up the mount on Bear It’s Time for the $125,000 Eternal Search here at Woodbine. Bear It’s Time, trained by Baker, won the 1 1/16-mile Bison City for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies and will be the probable favorite when she returns to that distance in the Eternal Search, which is restricted to Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.