Juarez re­sumes rid­ing, will move tack to Florida

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Jim Dun­leavy

Nik Juarez, who had not been al­lowed to ride since Jan. 15, re­sumed his ca­reer Fri­day when he rode a horse for his father, trainer Cal­ixto Juarez, at Lau­rel Park. He has a mount for trainer Mar­cus Vi­tali in the 10th race at Gulf­stream Park on Sun­day.

Juarez, 22, will be re­lo­cat­ing from Mary­land to Florida, where he will be rep­re­sented by Jay Rush­ing Jr., who was his agent for the fi­nal part of the Monmouth Park meet last sum­mer. Juarez fin­ished third in the Monmouth stand­ings.

Juarez was sus­pended by the Lau­rel Park stew­ards on the morn­ing of Jan. 16 for not pro­vid­ing a urine sam­ple the pre­vi­ous day. Mary­land Rac­ing Com­mis­sion of­fi­cials ran­domly drug tested all of the rid­ers in the se­cond race at Lau­rel Park on Jan. 15. When asked to sub­mit a sam­ple, Juarez ex­plained he had been re­duc­ing to make weight in a later race and was given un­til the end of the day to com­ply.

Juarez said that when he was fin­ished rid­ing for the day, he was un­able to lo­cate an of­fi­cial to test him and left the track, re­sult­ing in his sus­pen­sion.

“I made a big mis­take and am very sorry for my ac­tions,” Juarez said.

On Jan. 16, Juarez was ad­vised to go to a pri­vate facil- ity and be tested. He did so at the UNI Ur­gent Care Cen­ter in Fred­er­ick, Md., and the re­sults were neg­a­tive. The next week, he was tested by com­mis­sion of­fi­cials, and those re­sults were neg­a­tive. He was fined $500 and his li­cense was re­in­stated.

Of­fi­cials for The Stronach Group, which owns the Mary­land Jockey Club tracks of Lau­rel and Pim­lico, in ad­di­tion to Gulf­stream Park, were not sat­is­fied, how­ever, and would not al­low Juarez to ride at their tracks.

“We didn’t like that he got tested at an out­side fa­cil­ity, and we wanted him to test for us,” said Tim Ritvo, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of The Stronach Group. “He tested un­der the su­per­vi­sion of our se­cu­rity team and the re­sults were neg­a­tive.”

Juarez has signed an agree­ment with The Stronach Group that will al­low track of­fi­cials to test him at their dis­cre­tion.

“I have agreed to test any time I am asked,” Juarez con­firmed. “The Stronach Group takes this very se­ri­ously.”

Juarez, a na­tive of West­min­ster, Md., has rid­den the win­ners of 166 races. He com­pleted his ap­pren­tice­ship last Au­gust. He rode six win­ners at Lau­rel on Jan. 11.

Juarez is head­ing to Florida be­cause he be­lieves “Monmouth Park will be an im­por­tant part” of his fu­ture and he wants to re-es­tab­lish re­la­tion­ships with train­ers rac­ing there, many of whom spend the win­ter in Florida.

Jay Rush­ing Sr. dies at age 58

Jay Rush­ing Sr., a long­time agent in Mary­land and New Eng­land, died last week at age 58 of a heart at­tack, ac­cord­ing to his son Jay Rush­ing Jr.

Among the rid­ers Jay Rush­ing Sr. booked mounts for was Cal­ixto Juarez, the father of Nik Juarez. Jay Rush­ing Sr.’s brother is Steve Rush­ing, who is the agent for Irad Or­tiz Jr. and who rep­re­sented the nowre­tired Ra­mon Dominguez.

In ad­di­tion to Nik Juarez, Jay Rush­ing Jr. has worked for Or­lando Bo­cachica and Matthew Ris­poli.

Two nice races on card

The Sun­day pro­gram at Lau­rel Park is an­chored by two in­ter­est­ing op­tional-claim­ing races, one for 3-year-olds and the other for 4-year-olds and up.

Race 7, a six-fur­long sprint with a $42,000 purse, has at­tracted nine 3-year-olds. Afleet Willy, a promis­ing claim by trainer Clau­dio Gon­za­lez, is the likely fa­vorite.

Gon­za­lez claimed Afleet Willy for $25,000 out of a fron­trun­ning 6 3/4-length maid­en­claim­ing win on Dec. 27. Afleet Willy came back to win a $25,000 op­tional-starter race by 6 1/4 lengths and now moves up in class in this first-level race, which has a $50,000 claim­ing op­tion.

Tale of E Dubai also fig­ures here. He earned a 72 Beyer Speed Fig­ure – which ties Afleet Willy’s most re­cent fig­ure as the high­est in the field – by win­ning a $40,000 maiden-claim­ing race at Lau­rel for trainer John Salz­man Jr. in his se­cond start.

He has since fin­ished fourth in the Mary­lan­der Stakes. The win­ner of that race, Vor­tic­ity, came back to fin­ish se­cond in the Grade 3 Jerome and was sched­uled to run in Satur­day’s Grade 3 With­ers. The run­ner-up, Never Gone South, re­turned to score an easy win in the Frank White­ley Jr. on Jan. 16 at Lau­rel.

Tale of E Dubai has since fin­ished se­cond in a Penn Na­tional al­lowance race for state­breds.

In race 8, the up-and-com­ing Kai­tan will face Strong Stip­u­la­tion at a mile in a se­cond-level race.

Kai­tan, 5, has made only five starts but en­ters off two stylish scores for trainer Katharine Voss. He earned an 86 Beyer win­ning a first-level al­lowance last time out.

Strong Stip­u­la­tion, trained by Gra­ham Mo­tion, has made four of his last five starts in New York. He fin­ished se­cond to Page McKen­ney at Lau­rel two starts back in the Richard W. Small Stakes.

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