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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (3/20/11)

Contact: Ron Uchman
(708) 780-3700

BUGS: Patrick Canchari

According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 + 1828), BUG, n. In common language, the name of a vast multitude of insects, which infest houses and plants. In zoology, this word is applied to the insects arranged under the genus Cimex, of which several hundred species are described. Bugs belong to the order of hemipters. They are furnished with a rostrum or beak, with antennae longer than the thorax, and the winds are folded together crosswise. The back is flat, the throat margined, and the feet are formed for running. Some species have no wings. The house-bug, or bed-bug, is a troublesome and disgusting insect.

Of course, that isn’t the kind of bug we are talking about. In racing terms, a “bug” or “bug rider” is an apprentice rider. An apprentice jockey is also referred to as a "bug boy," because the asterisk that follows his or her name in the race program looks like a bug. When jockeys finish their apprenticeships, it is said that they "lose their bug."

Apprentice jockeys are given an initial 10-pound weight allowance, meaning their horses carry 10 pounds less than the others until the time they win their fifth race, at which point the weight allowance is lowered to a 7-pound allowance from the fifth-race win to a year beyond or 35 winners past (whichever comes first). When they win enough races, they lose their bug and receive no additional weight allowance. Exceptions to these rules are only made if an apprentice injures him or herself and is out of action.

For the spring of 2011, Hawthorne Race Course boasts a virtual cornucopia of bug riders; three that I know of and rumor suggests more on the way.

Minnesota native Patrick Canchari has yet to win a race (as of Saturday, February 26) but it is only a matter of time. Son of veteran reinsman Luis Canchari (affectionately known as Louie the Glove at Canterbury Downs in the 1980s), the 19-year-old Patrick Canchari, born March 26, still gets the advantage of the 10-pound weight allowance.

“I always liked watching races. I liked hanging around the track. I did some work for my father, grooming horses, galloping horses and such, but I never took it too seriously until I got out of high school. I was playing hockey in school and they wanted me to be bigger but it was hard for me to put on weight. So I was always hitting the weight room.

“After I graduated high school, I went to Peru for a couple of months. I was breezing horses down there. When I got back to Minnesota, I started breezing and galloping a lot of horses but decided that I wanted to come to Chicago.

When asked if he would be hanging around here or heading back to Minnesota when Canterbury opens for the summer, Canchari replied that though he had received a lot of interest from Minnesota trainers, he preferred to stay in Illinois.

“I like it here.”

‘Nuff said!

Hawthorne Race Course is in its 102nd year of racing under Carey family ownership. Hawthorne races Friday and Saturday in February, beginning February 11. In March and April, live racing will take place every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through the end of April. First post daily is 1:30 pm. For more information on racing at Hawthorne, visit our website at

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