Posted by: Administrator ::: on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 - 12:00 AM ::: 2352 Reads
By CHRIS FITZ GERALD
The Pink Sheet
SARATOGA SPRINGS - When asked when he began riding at the venerable Spa, Jean-Luc Samyn had to pause for a moment.
At the age of 52, Samyn is senior statesman of active jockeys at Saratoga Race Course, having ridden here over the course of four decades.
"I’m very lucky, at my age, to be able to do what I’m doing," said Samyn, a native of Bailleul, France, just outside of Paris. "It’s my 32nd year at Saratoga, but I started (riding) very young."
Samyn arrived on the Saratoga scene in 1977, when future Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero was early in his career and would later be honored as the King of Saratoga.
"There was great competition and there still is - it’s very tough," Samyn said of the strength of the Spa’s jockey colony through the decades. "It’s been like that for years and it will continue like that for years."
Cordero would lead the way by winning 13 Saratoga rider championships, including 11 consecutive crowns (1976-1986).
"He was a tough rider, he was tough and he was sharp," Samyn said. "Every year is a different scenario, but every year we have the best of racing - the best horses, the best trainers, the best owners and of course, the best jockeys. I love the competition."
In those years, the Spa meet was only four weeks in length, but just as packed with excitement.
"Those were some times, they were exciting," said Samyn, who was given a chance to ride by legendary Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkins. "But the game is still exciting, and I’m happy to still be a part of it."
"The experience is great, but the greatest part of racing is winning," Samyn added, "which we’d like to do more often. But when it happens, it makes you forget about the low times, and there’s plenty of those, but they’re part of the game."
While each would like their respective business to pick up and ride winners, they’re happy with the chance to ride at Saratoga again.
"We always look forward to Saratoga," Samyn said. "It’s always the best racing the East Coast and the world has to offer. It is such a great town - it has great restaurants and it’s a good family time as well.
"Everything is just perfect here."
A constant on the turf racing scene, which is commonplace in his native France, Samyn has won his share of stakes races on the grass.
"I did not want to follow in my father’s footsteps and work indoors as a pastry chef," said Samyn, who won his first race in 1975 in France. "I wanted to work outdoors with animals."
These turf triumphs at Saratoga have included the Diana, Sword Dancer, Ballerina, Bernard Baruch, Saratoga Breeders’ Cup and Saranac - all on two occasions.
"Riding John’s Call in 2000 was great and there were many other ones," said Samyn, who rode John’s Call to victory in the 2000 Sword Dancer. "I also won the Ballerina in 2001 for Mr. Jerkens on a filly named Shine Again. It was funny because she was the longest shot on the board and we won the same race in 2002 with the same filly. That was special."
Samyn would have ridden Shine Again in the Ballerina a third straight year, but the jockey suffered a broken leg just days before the race. After winning the Sanford aboard Kelly Kip in 1996, Samyn and Kelly Kip teamed up to win the six-furlong Bold Ruler at Aqueduct two years later in a track-record time of 1:07 3/5.
"Those were exciting times. I’m lucky to have ridden some very good horses through the years," Samyn said.
Samyn went on to win second Sword Dancer Invitational aboard Whitmore’s Conn in 2003. Although business has been slow for Samyn through this opening week at Saratoga, with only a handful of starts, the seasoned rider again strives to keep a positive attitude while taking in another summer at the Spa.
"I keep myself very active," Samyn said. "The competition keeps you sharp and everyone in top shape ... We’ve had some good times and we’re not done yet."
Posted by: Administrator ::: on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 11:47 AM ::: 2686 Reads
Naughty New Yorker scored a repeat victory Sunday in the $83,375 Alex M. Robb Handicap for New York breds at Aqueduct - with a late rally under Jean-Luc Samyn
The margin was much closer this time. Naughty New Yorker beat Shuffling Maddnes by only three quarters of a length after prevailing by 2 3/4 lengths last year. The time was 1:44.32 for the 1 1-16 miles on the good track.
The 5-year-old trained by Pat Kelly earned his 11th win in 40 starts and third in the last five races.
Naugthy New Yorker paid $7.60, $3.90 and $3. Shuffling Maddnes returned $7.50 and $5.20. Run Red Run paid $4.60 to show.
Posted by: Administrator ::: on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 12:00 AM ::: 2574 Reads
CHICAGO TRIBUNE SPORTS SECTION 3 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2007
By Neil Milbert
Tribune staff reporter
A late-blooming 3-year-old won the Chicago circuit’s last major race of the year Saturday on the grass at Hawthorne Race Course when Bold Hawk had a fine stretch run for a photo-finish victory in the Grade III $250,000 Hawthorne Derby.
Ridden by Jean-Luc Samyn, who is regarded as one of America’s best turf jockeys, Bold Hawk stayed on the rail until he hit the stretch. Then Samyn took the gelding to the outside and charged between horses to catch 9-5 favorite Twilight Meteor and win by a head.
“I walked the course this morning, and the outside was extremely chopped up,” Samyn said. “It looked like the best place was on the rail.”
Sent off as the 4-1 third betting choice, Bold Hawk recorded the third triumph of a five-race career that began June24 when he was an unimpressive seventh. Making his stakes racing debut, he ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute 47 4/5 seconds.
“It took him a while to get things figured out,” said Dana Antonczak, the assistant to Jim Toner, Bold Hawk’s New York trainer. “Each race he has improved dramatically. Jimmy felt it was time for him to step up.”
Posted by: Administrator ::: on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 12:00 AM ::: 2644 Reads
Bold Hawk, a well bred gelded son of the great race mare Tribulation, got a nice ground saving trip under veteran jockey Jean Luc Samyn, split horses in mid-stretch and just prevailed over a game Twilight Meteor in the 43rd running of the Grade 3, Hawthorne Derby at Hawthorne Race Course.
The mile and one eighth race for three year olds, run on the turf course, offered a guaranteed purse of $250,000.
The pace was quick as the 11 horse field made its way to the quarter in 22.41. Voy Por Uno Mas led the way as they reached the half in 46.44. As the sophomores made their way around the far turn, Twilight Meteor, Summer Doldrums and the eventual winner, all seemed to be getting perfect setups, but Twilight Meteor might have hesitated just a split second under jockey Chris DeCarlo, while Bold Hawk found a seam between horses.
The two battled right down to the wire with Bold Hawk just getting a head up, stopping the clock in 1:47.55. It was only the third lifetime win for the James Toner trained Bold Hawk and pushed his earnings to $213,376.
It was 1 ¾ lengths back to the third place finisher Western Prize. Voy Por Uno Mas held well for fourth, while the second wagering choice Summer Doldroms, made a bold move at the top of the stretch, but flattened out late to be a disappointing sixth.
Bold Hawk returned $10.00 $4.80 and $3.40. Twilight Meteor paid $3.20 and $2.80. Western Prize returned $8.00 to show.
Quotes from the Hawthorne Derby:
Samyn attributed some early planning as a valid reason for Bold Hawk’s success: “I walked the course this morning and I knew what spot I wanted to be in. I knew that the inside appeared to be the best place,” the New York based jockey offered. “Plus I didn’t want to move too early so he would get the lead and loaf around.”
DeCarlo had this to say about his colt’s second place finish: “They split, but once I got in there they came together. I had to…not steady him…but it slowed his momentum down. The winner had a clear trip. He was laboring a little bit down the lane. He struggled a little with the going.”
Samyn on what this race meant to him: “Today was the day the Queen Elizabeth was run. I won the Queen Elizabeth with Tribulation so that makes this win with her son, even more special”
Samyn on the possible return of Bold Hawk as a four year old: “He should definitely be back as a four year old. He’s a gelding. Just look at him; he’s a big horse, really immature. He sure looks like he has only one way to go…up!”
Posted by: Administrator ::: on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 12:00 AM ::: 2459 Reads
STICKNEY, Ill. -- New York-based trainer Jimmy Toner knows a turf stakes horse when he sees one, and Bold Hawk did not come to Hawthorne for his stakes debut on Saturday just to take in the Stickney sights. A sharp move about three-sixteenths of a mile from the finish put Bold Hawk on the front in the Grade 3, $250,000 Hawthorne Derby, and he won by a head over favored Twilight Meteor despite loafing a bit the final half-furlong.
The race was marred by the catastrophic breakdown of third-place finisher Western Prize, who crossed the wire without incident, but went down while galloping out.
The rail was the place to be on Saturday, according to winning rider Jean-Luc Samyn, who kept Bold Hawk glued to the fence before swinging out for room.
"I walked the turf course, and it looked like the best place to be was the rail," Samyn said. "It's a chance you take staying inside."
Bold Hawk, a gigantic 3-year-old Silver Hawk gelding, didn't make his career debut until June 24. He won his maiden in his second start, and captured a Belmont entry-level allowance by two lengths on Sept. 23.
"Each race he's gotten better and better," said Toner's traveling assistant, Dana Antonczak. "Jimmy thought it was time to step up."
Voy Por Uno Mas, who held on for fourth, set a fast pace, going to the half-mile in 46.44 seconds while tracked by a host of pursuers. Twilight Meteor moved into striking position on the far turn, got slightly bottled up at the top of the stretch, but ran well for second.
"He was struggling with the going," said jockey Chris DeCarlo.
Bold Hawk paid $10 to win, and was timed in 1:47.45 for 1 1/8 miles on turf labeled firm.