DEL MAR : Nakatani Alters Schedule to Join European Circuit


Corey Nakatani, battling Chris McCarron and Alex Solis for the jockey title here, has changed his post-Del Mar plans.

Originally scheduled to go to Belmont Park after the Del Mar meeting ends Wednesday, to ride until Oct. 4, when the Oak Tree meeting begins at Santa Anita, Nakatani will now go to Europe to ride for Juddmonte Farms for a couple of weeks.

Before he goes overseas, Nakatani, the nation’s leading rider in money earned in 1995, will ride Lit De Justice in the Vosburgh Handicap on Sept. 16 at Belmont Park, then will ride Petionville the next day in the Molson Export Million at Woodbine in Toronto.


“An opportunity like this is one you don’t pass up,” said Nakatani. “I can always go to New York, but to have a chance to ride in Europe for people like Juddmonte is a special opportunity.”

Nakatani will return to the United States to ride Dazzling Falls in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 30.


Danny Velasquez will try for his second consecutive victory in the Rocking Chair Derby when he rides Moscow Mensch in the 5 1/2-furlong race, which will be run as a no-betting exhibition between the fifth and sixth race on Saturday’s card.

Brought back in 1994 after a 16-year-absence, the Rocking Chair Derby brings together eight retired jockeys, who will be riding older $32,000 maiden claimers.

Besides Velasquez, who is now a trainer, the other participants are Frank Olivares, Don Pierce, Jack Leonard, Ray York, Rudy Campas, Alex Maese and Bill Harmatz.

On form, Pierce looks to have the horse to beat in Quietly Defiant, who finished second by a length in his last start.



The most significant race left to be run here is the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on closing day.

A winner in two of his three starts, including an impressive triumph in last month’s Balboa Stakes, Cobra King is certain to be heavily favored in the seven-furlong futurity.

The other 2-year-olds considered likely to start are Cavonnier, Defleet, Desert Native, Exetera, Future Quest and Othello.

Horse Racing Notes

After a two-day carry-over in the Pick Six, there was only one perfect ticket Thursday and it was worth a Del Mar record $1,039,259.20. . . . Jockey Omar Berrio, who was disqualified and penalized from third to ninth on Movin Molly in Wednesday’s sixth race, was given a five-day suspension, beginning Sunday. . . . Jockeys Fernando Valenzuela and Chris Antley were each fined $500 for failing to appear before the stewards, and David Flores was fined $300 for failing to fulfill a jockey agreement. . . . Alex Solis won three times Thursday and is tied with Corey Nakatani for the lead in the jockey standings. Each has 43 victories, one more than Chris McCarron.