Behind every good agent is a good jockey, and vice-versa. That explains the success Joel Rosario and his agent, Ron Ebanks, have enjoyed since hooking up last April.

Rosario, who turns 26 on Jan. 14, finished with a flourish to capture the recent Hollywood Park riding title, outdistancing runner-up Rafael Bejarano, 47-35. The native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic also won riding crowns at Hollywood’s spring/summer meet and Del Mar. Not only is he poised to vie for the riding title at the 76-day Santa Anita winter/spring meet that starts Sunday, Rosario is emerging as a rider with world-class skills who has designs on global accomplishments.

“Last year, that was part of my plan,” Ebanks said. “I wanted to ride back on the East Coast for key races or key horses as much as we could. Blind Luck took us back there, and she got us off to a good start by winning the Alabama (Stakes). We won the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II with Harmonious at Keeneland in the spring and the Oklahoma Derby in October with Pleasant Prince. Joel won more than $2 million in purses at the Breeders’ Cup, capped by Dakota Phone’s win in the Dirt Mile.

“It’s important to get horsemen’s attention back there by winning big races, because people back East don’t watch many California races (on TV), just like we don’t watch many of their races. Winning live in front of them is what it takes to really make inroads, which we’ve done. We’re going to ride opening day at Gulfstream (Jan. 5), which is a Wednesday that we don’t race here. We’ll ride the full card including Final Mesa for Wesley Ward in the Old Hat Stakes. We’ll spend three days there working with New York outfits, looking for the (Kentucky) Derby horse, horses for Dubai and Breeders’ Cup horses.”

Through Dec. 21, Rosario ranked fourth nationally in purse earnings with $15,274,104. He has an excellent chance to add to that sum Sunday with contending mounts for defending training king John Sadler in the $100,000 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes (Contemplated); the Grade I, $250,000 La Brea Stakes (Switch); the Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (Sidney’s Candy); and the Grade I, $250,000 Malibu Stakes (Twirling Candy).

Rosario spurted late to win the Hollywood Park session that ended last Sunday. “We battled Bejarano throughout the meet, and got really lucky the last part,” Ebanks said. “A lot of conditions just fell together and Joel really got on a roll. Our business right now is as strong as we could ask. I couldn’t be happier with the reception we’re getting from horsemen.

“We’re fortunate in that we’re with several good outfits, and that’s really helped. We rode a lot of races for (Bob) Baffert, and we didn’t before. We had a good meet with Sadler, and that’s what it takes to be dominant in the standings.

“We’re also fortunate in that we’ve accumulated so many good horses right now. We had a huge Breeders’ Cup and we’re really excited about moving forward.”

In other Malibu news:

Twirling Candy worked four furlongs Thursday on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track in :48.20, breezing. Sidney’s Candy went the same distance at the Inglewood track in:48.40, breezing, for the Sir Beaufort, while Switch also breezed a half-mile there in :49.60 for the La Brea. “Twirling Candy galloped out in a minute flat with his ears pricked and full of run,” said Sadler assistant Larry Benevidez. “Sidney’s Candy galloped out in a minute and two-fifths. It was beautiful to watch.”

Caracortado galloped a mile and three-quarters at Santa Anita for Mike Machowsky, while Santa Anita-based Setsuko galloped a mile and a half for Richard Mandella. “Caracortado will school at the gate tomorrow morning,” Machowsky said.


Blue skies and sunshine were a welcome sight at Santa Anita Thursday morning after the track’s new natural dirt main track was inundated by record rainfall of 13 ½ inches since late last week. There were 23 recorded workouts, including a half-mile breeze in :50.40 (dogs up) by unbeaten Malibu contender Alcindor for Bob Baffert.

“I just gave him a light little stroll around there,” the Hall of Fame trainer said.

“Tomorrow we’ll be open to train rail to rail,” said Track Superintendent Richard Tedesco, who has made The Great Race Place his second home since the storms hit. “I live in Manhattan Beach, but I’ve been staying at a hotel here for over a week so I could be close to the track. When I get home tonight, my dog will probably attack me.”

HRTV'S HOLIDAY SHOWS INCLUDE HOY DEBATE, 2010 "REWIND" & 2011 PREVIEW OF 2011 HRTV will present holiday viewing on Christmas Eve, Friday, with original shows detailing the Horse of the Year debate, as well as a look back at the 2010 campaign and a preview of the upcoming 2011 season. All shows will re-air during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The network's "Pursuit of the Horse of the Year" show will air at 8 a.m. ET/5 a.m. PT, with experts dissecting a compelling Horse of the Year battle between Blame and Zenyatta. Laffit Pincay, III, Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, Jeff Siegel, Scott Hazelton and Richard Migliore will be joined by Blame's trainer, Al Stall, to chronicle achievements of both superstars.

Following that will be a Horse of the Year roundtable, dubbed "The Debate" (8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT). Pincay and Siegel will join Carolyn Conley, Joanne Jones and Aaron Vercruysse to analyze. There also will be two comprehensive 60-minute shows, "Rewind 2010" airing at 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. PT, and "2011 Preview Show" (10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT), which feature developing stories and stars, from not only Florida and California, but the New York, Louisiana, and Arkansas circuits as well.


HRTV will debut a new one-hour weekend show, "Westrock Coffee First Call," on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT. Hosted by Aaron Vercruysse and Jeff Siegel, the fast-paced 60-minute show will air Saturdays and Sundays from Santa Anita and offer pertinent interviews, commentary, news, instructional features, race replays and morning workouts.

On selected weekends, the show will originate live from remote locations, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Arkansas Derby.

For its title sponsorship, Westrock Coffee will receive program signage, two 30-second spots in each telecast, along with opening and closing audio/video billboards, as well as additional media components throughout HRTV's racing coverage. "We are pleased to have partners like HRTV," said Scott Ford, CEO of Westrock Capital Partners. "The chance to be a coupled entry in the new weekend morning show, 'First Call,' with Aaron and Jeff was too good to pass up."

HALL OF FAMER RANDY ROMERO FEATURED ON ‘INSIDE INFORMATION’ SUNDAY An indomitable spirit, and relentless dose of perseverance, earned former jockey Randy Romero a well-deserved spot in Thoroughbred racing's National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame this past August.

On HRTV's monthly ‘Inside Information’ newsmagazine show this Sunday, (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), the network will offer an in-depth look at the remarkable journey that contained some horrific lows, and the ultimate honor, induction into the pantheon of Thoroughbred racing.

Romero, 53, retired in July, 1999, after amassing 4,285 wins, including three Breeders' Cup events, and a host of Grade I races in a career which spanned more than two decades. He was the regular rider of the undefeated Personal Ensign.

Romero endured countless surgeries from racing-related falls, including the fatal spill of Go For Wand in the Breeders' Cup. Additionally, Romero battled back from a serious accident in which he suffered severe burns from a sauna.

Born in Louisiana, Romero's unrelenting spirit continues today, despite serious health issues from the rigors the rugged profession demands. Years of bulimia from striving to maintain riding weight has robbed him of nearly all his kidney function, and his liver is severely compromised.

HRTV's interviews with Romero were conducted from his Louisiana home.

FINISH LINES: Felipe Valdez, injured when unseated by Score for Fun at Hollywood Park earlier this month, is expected to be sidelined six to nine months, according to his agent, Alex Crowley. “He has two broken vertebrae in his back and is recuperating now at Brotman Medical Center in Culver City,” Crowley said . . . Martin Pedroza’s business is expected to increase significantly this meet since he’ll be given calls from three-time Santa Anita training champ Doug O’Neill. “We did well with Doug at Fairplex Park and it’s paid off,” said Pedroza’s agent, Richie Silverstein.