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Wednesday
September 19, 2018

Cabrera still riding Oaklawn momentum

By Staff Reports
This article was published September 12, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.

Jockey David Cabrera made a splash in his Oaklawn Park debut this year and the momentum he generated in Hot Springs has yet to slow.

Cabrera, 25, won four races Friday night at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, including the off-the-grass $70,000 Remington Park Turf Sprint, and has 15 wins overall to lead the standings. He was Oaklawn's second-leading rider with 43 victories, has already established a career high for overall purse earnings with $4,338,089 and is on track for a career high in victories.

The rider, who entered the Remington Park meeting off a runner-up finish to perennial champion Ramon Vazquez at Prairie Meadows in Iowa, ranks 16th nationally in victories this year with 155, according to Equibase, racing's official data gathering organization.

"We couldn't be more pleased about how the year has gone," said Cabrera's agent, Joe Santos. "Neither one of us truly knew what to expect going into this year. It was David's first go at Oaklawn and I had only had minimal success there. We were able to have a massive meet and have been fortunate enough to have it continue throughout the year."

Cabrera also ranked second in purse earnings at Oaklawn with $1,974,917. He won three stakes races -- the $125,000 American Beauty and $150,000 Carousel aboard Swing and Sway for trainer Ron Moquett, of Hot Springs, and the $125,000 King Cotton aboard Wilbo for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman.

Only perennial champion Ricardo Santana Jr. amassed more victories, stakes victories and purse money this year at Oaklawn.

Santos said he and Cabrera set three goals for 2018. They aimed for at least $5 million in purse earnings, at least 200 wins and a graded stakes victory.

Cabrera ranked 19th nationally in victories last year with 196, according to Equibase. He narrowly missed winning his first career graded stakes race at Oaklawn, finishing second on Wonder Gadot, beaten by a nose, to Sassy Siena in the Grade 3 $400,000 Fantasy Stakes on April 13 and second on Wilbo, beaten by three-quarters of a length, on April 14 in the Grade 3 $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, won by Whitmore and Santana.

"Hopefully, we can keep the ball rolling and finish out 2018 as strong as possible, keeping the 2019 Oaklawn meet on our mind and hoping for an even bigger year than we had at the 2018 meeting," Santos said.

A native of Mexico, Cabrera recorded his first career North American victory in 2013, according to Equibase. Cabrera has won riding titles at two Texas tracks -- Lone Star Park and Retama Park -- and previously wintered at Sam Houston Race Park before trying Oaklawn for the first time in 2018.

Oaklawn-raced Cautious Giant increased his career earnings to more than $575,000 with a head victory in the $75,000 Trinniberg Stakes Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

A 7-year-old Giant's Causeway gelding based in south Florida, Cautious Giant finished fourth in the Count Fleet in 2016. Cautious Giant was vanned to Oaklawn from Southern California -- a 25-hour, 1,650-mile trip -- after trainer Kristin Mulhall was unable to a secure a flight. Mulhall had claimed the gelding for $40,000 in September 2015 at Del Mar.

After Mulhall lost Cautious Giant through a $62,500 claim in March 2017 at Santa Anita, the gelding eventually wound up in south Florida, where he has finished no worse than third in his last 11 starts.

The odds-on favorite Saturday, Cautious Giant ($3.40) ran 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:11.08 under Emisael Jaramillo. Cautious Giant is now trained by Victor Barboza Jr.

Overall, he has a 9-8-8 record from 41 lifetime starts and earnings of $576,290.

Norman McKnight, among Oaklawn's top 10 trainers this year, has a meet-high 74 victories at Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario, Canada, where he led the standings for the first time last year. McKnight had a triple Friday at Woodbine to reach 600 career North American victories, according to Equibase.

Multiple Oaklawn winner Operation Stevie is the 5-2 second choice in the program for the $100,000 Brickyard Stakes today at Indiana Grand. Probable post time for the 6-furlong Brickyard, which goes as race 5, is 2:57 p.m.

Sports on 09/12/2018
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