Cullum aims for Timonium riding title

September 06, 1993|By Pete Bielski

Apprentice jockey Walter Cullum needs to win at least two races to take the Timonium riding title, which concludes with today's 11-race card.

If he prevails, Cullum, 20, would become the second family member to gain notoriety in the racing industry, though Cullum hardly brags of it.

He is the nephew of former rider Ronnie Franklin, the one-time apprentice who rode Spectacular Bid to victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 1979. Of course, Franklin has had his troubles since and is no longer in the game. It is a fact that doesn't escape Cullum.

"It was Uncle Ron who first got me interested in racing," said Cullum. "I loved rooting for the 'Bid.' I always used to look up to him, but that was when I was young. Now that I'm older, I'm not so proud about what's happened to him."

Franklin was suspended from racing in Maryland in September, 1992, after testing positive for cocaine, and was suspended in 1986 after testing positive for marijuana.

Cullum has ridden 11 winners during the first nine days of the meeting, including one yesterday. He still has to catch Alberto Delgado, who has 12 winners, but who will not ride today at Timonium.

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