Prado ponders Kimmel's Saratoga offer

Top Md. jockey wants word that he won't be `spectator'

July 24, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Edgar Prado, Maryland's dominant jockey of the 1990s, is considering a move next week to Saratoga to ride for the leading New York trainer, John Kimmel.

Prado said last night that he needed to talk to Kimmel again before making up his mind. Prado rides Kimmel's Unbridled Hope tomorrow in the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.

"I'd love to go and try," Prado said. "But I don't want to go and be a spectator. I don't want to sit on the bench while everybody else is riding."

Prado said he wants Kimmel's assurance that he would be the trainer's first-call rider, meaning that he would ride all the horses in Kimmel's barn.

"I know it could be a great opportunity," Prado said. "He's a great trainer. But I don't want to take a vacation. I love to ride."

Kimmel needs a replacement for his regular jockey, Richard Migliore, who broke his right arm in a spill last weekend. Migliore will be out at least three months.

"He's a good rider," Kimmel said yesterday of Prado. "I'll give him a shot, and we'll see how things transpire."

Prado said he won't go unless he can take his longtime agent, Steve Rushing, with him. An agent books a jockey's mounts. Kimmel initially said he wanted Prado to use Migliore's agent, Prado said.

"My relationship with my agent is more important than any horses I could ride," Prado said. "He's been with me a long time. He stuck with me when I was a nobody."

Saratoga will begin its prestigious 36-day meet Wednesday. If Prado and Kimmel strike a deal, Prado would probably ride there opening day. Where he would go after Saratoga closes in early September is the intriguing question.

It seems that Prado has accomplished everything possible in Maryland. He is consistently the state's winningest rider. More important, he has won the most races the past two years of any jockey in North America.

Prado is the leading rider by wins again this year. After capturing three races Wednesday, one Thursday and three yesterday, Prado has 266 victories in 1999, about 50 more than the northern California rider Russell Baze.

Prado rides today and tomorrow at Delaware Park. If he goes to Saratoga and succeeds against the country's top jockeys, yesterday could turn out to be his last day as a local rider.

If so, Maryland racing fans would do well to remember that Prado, in the final race, drove Shahrahere across the wire three-quarters of a length in front of anyone else.

NOTES: As the dog days of summer heat up, so do the stakes opportunities for Maryland horses. Three Maryland-based 3-year-olds were entered in the $300,000 Ohio Derby today at Thistledown: Stellar Brush, Millions and Pettit's Quest. In an unusually competitive 13-horse field, Ecton Park is the tepid 7-2 early favorite, followed by Stellar Brush at 9-2, Grits'n Hard Toast at 5-1, Red Sky's at 6-1 and Valhol at 8-1.

Delaware Park's premier weekend of racing will take place today and tomorrow -- 10 stakes worth $1.55 million -- headed today by the $250,000 Delaware Oaks and tomorrow by the $500,000 Delaware Handicap.

Pub Date: 7/24/99

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