Chicago Barn to Wire


Sportsman's Park Daily Notebook

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2002
9 Days Until Opening Day


What started out as a trip to the Sportsman’s Park backstretch to help his daughter sell Girl Scout cookies turned into a new beginning for jockey Abner Sorrows Jr., seriously injured in a spill at Hawthorne Race Course more than two years ago.

“I told my daughter Keely we could sell a lot of cookies out there,” said the likeable Sorrows, who despite going through three operations and numerous hours of therapy in the last 29 months, always has a smile on his face. “She ended up selling 125 boxes and was the top seller in her Brownie troop.”

However, something more important happened to Sorrows that morning some three weeks ago. At the urging of his many friends on the backstretch, he began to give serious thought to becoming a jockey’s agent.

“A lot of people were saying that I ought to try to hustle book,” said Sorrows, already using agent vernacular. “As it turned out Tommy Molina needed an agent. I was talking to him one morning in the (track) kitchen and asked him what he was going to do for an agent at this meet, not really trying get his book at that time. He said that he was thinking of just handling his own business. I told him that I tried that one meet and that I found I didn’t have time to both line up business and get on horses.”

Because of that conversation, Sorrows and Molina decided to team up for the upcoming 46-day meet at Sportsman’s Park that begins Friday, March 1 and runs through Kentucky Derby day, Saturday, May 4.

“He’s got a pretty good seat on a horse,” Sorrows said of his new rider. “I knew that from watching him on the replay shows last year.”

Sorrows began his new role as jockey’s agent late last week and he is getting around quite well despite having his leg operated on as recent as last November.

“I’m walking pretty good right now though I still have a ‘hitchup in my getup’,” said the 46-year-old Sorrows with his distinctive Arkansas drawl. “They took two screws out in November and scraped away a lot of the scar tissue. I was in therapy from the time of the accident until January 1 when my insurance stopped paying for it. My doctor told me I need to walk as much as possible. Being an agent is perfect for that.

“I never realized how much walking there is as part of the job,” he continued. “Besides just walking from one end of the barn area to the other (about a half a mile), there’s all that walking inside the shedrows. I was sore the first couple of mornings but I’m doing good now.”

Less than a week into his new gig, Sorrows is excited about the meet and can hardly wait to get out of bed each morning.

“I’ve been waking up about an hour or an hour and a half before my alarm goes off,” he said. “Just like when I was riding, I’m scared to death to miss a day.

“One thing about myself that I am going have to change,” he continued, “is that I can’t spend 10-15 minutes talking to everyone I run into. I’ll have to keep it shorter. I hope everybody will understand.”

Even though he has taken on this new assignment, Sorrows hasn’t completely ruled out a return to race riding.

“I’d like to try,” he admitted. “The willpower is there but will my leg let me (ride)? I will not do it unless I can comeback 100 percent because that would be cheating me, cheating the trainers and cheating the fans. If I don’t get strong enough, then I just won’t do it.”




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