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Hawthorne Racecourse (4/17/06)

Contact: DAK Productions
(708) 222-4540

Familiar Faces Return to Hawthorne

Marquez and Torres Enter the Jockey’s Quarters

Jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. is slated to rejoin the Chicago colony today. He is named to pilot Shim’s Pride for trainer Ron Goodridge in the day’s second event, and agent Jim Farmer will handle his engagements. Marquez tied for 13th at the recently concluded Oaklawn meet, with 16 wins from 141 mounts (11.3 percent).

Another familiar named that has popped up on the overnight following a much longer absence is that of jockey Francisco Torres, a regular on this circuit during the 90s.

Widely regarded as a potential star much of his career, Torres was banned from Churchill Downs and all tracks under the organization’s umbrella in November of 2000 after he refused to take a Breathalyzer test. He left for Saudi Arabia shortly thereafter, where he spent four years riding under contract to Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

Torres returned to the States last fall, and rode a handful of horses at Louisiana Downs. In late January at Oaklawn he was tossed from his mount while on a clear lead in the stretch run of a race, suffering a fracture in his C-6 vertebra. He returned from the injury this past weekend at Oaklawn, and is named to ride Flashdance Star for Christine Janks in Friday’s fifth race at Hawthorne. Bobby Kelly will handle his engagements.

“He’s 35 years-old and hungry,” Kelly said. “He’s a very skilled rider, and has come a long way in terms of his maturity. We have a call in both stakes this weekend (For Gillian for Christine Janks in the Sixty Sails and Three Hour Nap for Hugh Robertson in the NJC), and I’m getting a good vibe about our potential business.”

According to Kelly, Torres has been cleared to ride locally by the Illinois Racing Board, but some question remains as to his status this summer at Arlington Park, a Churchill Downs track.

“Arlington management doesn’t foresee any problems, but we’re just going to take it day by day,” Kelly said.

In his North American career, Torres owns 1,857 wins and has banked over $32 million in purses. He estimates that he won another 500 races during his time in Saudi Arabia.

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs February 24 through May 4 with live racing five days per week: Friday through Tuesday. Post time is 1:10 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday and 3 p.m. on Friday. Hawthorne is dark Wednesdays and Thursdays and Easter Sunday April 16, but full card simulcasting from racetracks across the country is offered every day.

Hawthorne’s summer 2006 Standardbred meet runs May 6 through June 17 with live racing six days per week: Tuesday through Sunday. Post time will be 7:20 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Hawthorne’s fall 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs September 15 through December 31 with live racing five days per week: Wednesday through Sunday. Post time will be 1:10 p.m.

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