Daily Racing Form
Illinois Racing Board
Hawthorne Gold Cup
Hawthorne Race Course
|Hawthorne Racecourse (1/2/10)
Contact: Ron Uchman
MY RIDERS TO WATCH
We’ve always had a talented and competitive rider colony at Hawthorne. Most of the local veterans will be returning in the spring and it’s great to have such a solid foundation. However, there are a number of newer riders that have made an impact and that is a daunting task considering how entrenched many of the riders are with the local barns.
Tanner Riggs and Tim Thornton aren’t new but they have taken their skill to a whole new level this meet. Not only are they in a duel for the top rider honors, they have left the rest of the field far behind.
Tanner Riggs isn’t your prototypical jockey. This mild-mannered young man is often the tallest person standing in the winner’s circle. But, in his own quiet way, he gets everything a horse has to give. Horses just seem to want to run for him. That’s something that can’t be taught. If he can maintain his weight despite his height, he’s going to be a top rider for a long time.
Tim Thornton isn’t a “new” rider. In fact, he’s already been the top jock at a couple of Hawthorne meets. However, he’s not only riding with more confidence but he has been finishing with more authority and he always seems to end his meets with big finishes. At the time this was written (Sunday afternoon), he trailed Tanner Riggs by four wins. But, he had been seven behind at the start of Saturday’s card and he took full advantage after Riggs was stuck out of town. Thornton won three races, including a pick-up mount on a horse that Tanner was scheduled to ride. The race for top rider is far from over.
Angel Ortega Stanley is new on this scene, though he has been riding for about 16 years, 10 of them in the United States. Angel got here almost midway in the meet but he wasted little time making an impression. Angel loves what he does and it shows. He’s well aware that those he rides for are dependant on the money that their runners earn and he rides as hard to get a fifth-place check as he does to get the win. That is a precious commodity and one that will make him a valuable member of this colony. And, he plans on staying on this circuit. Good news.
I wrote a brief note when Francisco Giles scored the first win of his career here a couple of months ago. At that time, with only one to his credit, it was impossible to determine what kind of rider he would be, especially since he had so little previous experience. However, he looks like a “natural.” He’s been improving by leaps and bounds. He had 11 wins as of Sunday afternoon and it’s conceivable that he’ll win a few more before the meet comes to an end.
This list is far from complete and we’ve had a number of other riders including Ariel Smith, Inosencio Diego, Raphael Manuel Hernandez, and Diego Sanchez that deserve serious consideration but space limitations prevent me from writing about them today. Next time.
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