| Contact: Graham Ross
Saturday, July 22, 2000
EDUARDO 'SHORTY' PEREZ GROWING TALLER IN THE SADDLE
A riding triple - the first one of his career at Arlington International - moved jockey Eduardo Perez within nine wins of the 1,000-mark by the end of Friday's late afternoon program.
By the time darkness fell, Perez was celebrating in "The Yellow House" - a tavern across from Hawthorne Race Course that Perez bought last fall and has aptly renamed "After The Races."
"I wanted a business opportunity and one came along and we bought it," said Perez of the new venture he undertook with his fiancee Iris Cotto last November.
"He doesn't do anything," said Perez' friend and fellow jockey Eddie Razo Jr. of the Southside racetrackers' tavern. "He just collects the money." Even Perez admits that Ms. Cotto does most of the work at their joint venture, but Perez' main business is riding horses. Friday's "hat trick" of wins aboard Wexler Stables, Inc.'s Barkenlor Cat; Moises R. Yanez & Marion Varney's M And M Machine; and James Schultz, Jack Keenan and Harry P. Schultz' Fire And Icy was his most productive numerically at Arlington during his career.
A 33-year-old native of Taluca, Mexico, Perez was discovered by trainer Moises Yanez at La Hacienda restaurant in Chicago, where Perez was working as a busboy. Although he rode his first winner at Balmoral in 1988, his career didn't begin in earnest until the early 1990s. That was after several years of schooling by Yanez as Perez sat astride bales of hay and learned how to use the whip.
"He cost me a fortune in hay," Yanez said later.
"I'd practice every day for 30 minutes," Perez said. "Before they made the little exercise horses - they (haybales) were my horses."
The years of practice are beginning to payoff. The 1,000-career win mark should be coming up shortly at Arlington for Perez, who downplayed its significance. "I'll just keep riding," he said, "hopefully, for many more years. I'll just keep trying, and, hopefully, one day I'll find that 'very good' horse."
Would there be any special celebration of the upcoming occasion at "The Yellow House" - "After The Races?"
"We'll give a little party," Perez said.
"I don't know about that," he said. "Maybe one free drink for the first one hundred people that show up."
WELD WITH ANOTHER CHANCE TO 'DANCE'
Five Star Stable's Pine Dance, a contestant in Sunday's Grade 2 American Derby, middle jewel of Arlington's Mid-America Triple, will "probably" stay for the final leg of the series - the Grade 1 Secretariat August 19 - if he runs to expectations, Irish trainer Dermot Weld said. Although Pine Dance finished seventh at The Curragh July 1 in a handicap at last asking, Weld is looking forward to running Pine Dance over the Arlington turf course. Three years ago, Weld saddled Dance Design for a third-place finish in the 1997 Beverly D., and later in the afternoon put the tack on Casey Tibbs to finish second in the 1997 Secretariat.
"I'm happy to be back at Arlington," said Wells. "I've had great success here."
Irish jockey Eddie Ahern will ride Pine Dance, a Kentucky-bred son of 1992 Preakness winner Pine Bluff.
COUNTDOWN TO 4,000
Arlington jockey Tim Doocy was winless Friday, and remains one win away from the 4,000-win milestone. The count through Friday:
Tim Doocy - 3,999 career wins, Arlington Total: 24# # #
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