Chicago Barn to Wire


Sportsman's Park Daily Notebook

Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310

Tuesday, February 19, 2002
10 Days Until Opening Day


Longtime racing official Keith Kelley is plying a new trade this season at Sportsman’s Park. Kelley has taken the “book” of jockey Eduardo Perez and will handle engagements for the Taluca, Mexico native.

“I’ve jumped over the counter,” joked Kelley, who had served as stakes coordinator here since the mid-1990s and was an official at Canterbury Park, Ellis Park, Hoosier Park and Hawthorne. “I’ve done just about everything in the racing office. I’ve been stakes coordinator, paddock judge, placing judge and assistant racing secretary. I’m looking forward to having a good meet with ‘Shorty.’”

Kelley joked that he was going to have T-shirts printed that say “Get Shorty” to let people know he’s now booking mounts for Perez. “Get Shorty”, of course, is the name of a popular 1995 movie starring John Travolta.

In recent seasons, Kelley traveled to Ellis Park for the summer months but said he plans to remain in Chicago all year. This is not the first time Kelley has been an agent. He previously booked mounts at Canterbury for Derek Bell when he was an apprentice rider a few years back.

Perez, who owns the “After The Races” bar located across the street from Sportsman’s Park, is hoping to improve upon a 2001 meeting that found the rider finish just outside the top 10 with 19 victories.


Jockey Carlos Silva has a new agent for the Sportsman’s Park meet. The veteran reinsman has secured the services of Jodie Sinclair, who also books mounts for Jesse Campbell. Sinclair takes over from Keary Sibille who has opted to remain in Florida.

“Carlos should have a lot of business here,” Sinclair said Monday morning in the track kitchen. “I expect Jesse to have a big meet as well. We went into Hawthorne last fall with very little business going in and still finished in the top 10 there. I expect him to be in the top five here. Jesse’s been out there working hard for three weeks already. He’s been getting on nine or 10 every morning.”

Silva, who enters the 2002 meet at Sportsman’s with 2,948 victories, finished in a tie for fourth-place in last year’s standings with 28 wins. His 868 career scores over 22 seasons at Sportsman’s places him fourth on the track’s all-time leader board.

Campbell, who set a then single-season apprentice record here with 22 wins with “the bug” in 1996, won nine races here last year, good for a 15th-place tie in the standings. Campbell’s apprentice record fell last season when Zoe Cadman piloted 23 winners.

Last year Sinclair had the book of apprentice rider Roberto Villafan, who is taking advantage of his time with “the bug” to ride in New York at Aqueduct.


Congratulations to owner Rick Englander, who received the Eclipse Award Monday night as Thoroughbred racing’s outstanding owner in 2001. Englander, whose colors can be seen at tracks nationwide, won six races at Sportsman’s Park last year to finish in a tie for fourth in the owner standings.




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