HENRY MORENO HAS BEEN LIVING HIS LIFE'S DREAM FOR 35 YEARS
If it had been possible, Henry Moreno probably would have been born on horseback because it seems he's always been a horse. He was born and raised on a large ranch in what was then Prado, CA, next door to Corona.
"I've always been on a horse," Moreno said. "It's been my dream since I was a kid to be a Thoroughbred trainer." He started as a quarter horse trainer and made his first trip to Del Mar in 1950 to run the speedsters at the fair meet. "I had three horses and each one won for me here," he said. Moreno switched to Thoroughbreds in 1961.
In fact, the only time Moreno was off of a horse was when he served in the Army during the Korean War. If the horse cavalry had still been around at the time, he no doubt would have been in that branch, but instead he was in the infantry.
When Moreno was growing up on his family's ranch, it was home to quarter horses, beef and dairy cattle, a cheese factory and dairy. The trainer was born September 17, 1929, and recalls that the town of Prado had a populaton of about 200, "and most of them were my relatives," he said. There were 12 homes on the ranch, he remembers, and they housed relatives for the most part. Each of the relatives, he said, had a job on the ranch.
Moreno has had remarkable success with fillies and mares, so much so that he often is taken for a filly trainer. And that doesn't bother him one bit. "I've been lucky to have had a lot of decent mares," he said. Among them: Tizna, Jalousie II, Re Toss, Sangue, Lite Light, Goldspell, Miss L Attack and Timely Assertion. On the male side, Moreno has had Sam Who and Palton, who won the Del Mar Handicap in 1978.
Among Moreno's 12 major stakes victories at Del Mar, aside from the Del Mar Handicap, are the Ramona Handicap with Jalousie II, Tizna and Sangue in 1964, '74 and '83, respectively, the 1983 Chula Vista Handicap with Sangue, the 1987 Junior Miss Stakes with Sheesham and the 1990 Sorrento Stakes with Lite Light.
Sangue also won the 1983 Yellow Ribbon Handicap and the '83 Santa Maria Handicap; Tizna also won the Santa Margarita Handicap in both 1974 and '75 and the Santa Monica Handicap in the 1974; and Lite Light won the Las Virgenes Stakes and the Santa Anita Oaks, both in 1991, and the 1990 Oak Leaf Stakes.
DEL MAR DERBY SHAPES UP AS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE FIELD ON LABOR DAY
As many as 10 turf specialists could line up for Monday's 52nd edition of the Grade II, $300,000 Del Mar Derby, to be run at 1 1/8 miles over the seaside track's Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Already confirmed are these eight 3-year-olds, with riders: Ambivalent, Rene Douglas; Caribbean Pirate, Chris Antley; Mateo, Alex Solis; Matty G, Chris McCarron; Mystic Knight, Eddie Delahoussaye; Optic Nerve, Kent Desormeaux; Rainbow Blues, Corey Nakatani; and The Barking Shark, Patrick Valenzuela.
A list of provisional invitees will be issued Thursday. Ten is the limit for the turf race.
Ambivalent will be trying to sweep the 3-year-old grass series that begins with the opening-day feature, the Oceanside Stakes, and continues through the Grade III La Jolla Handicap to the Derby. Ambivalent, trained by Mike Orman, grabbed one division of the Oceanside by a half-length and the La Jolla by a neck.
Caribbean Pirate, The Barking Shark and Mateo all are coming back to try the third in the series, too. Caribbean Pirate, trained by Tom Bunn, won the other division of the Ocenside and finished third in the La Jolla. The Barking Shark, conditioned by Marcelo Polanco, finished second in the Caribbean Pirate division of Oceanside and second in the La Jolla. The Ian Jory-trained Mateo finished third in the Caribbean Pirate Oceanside and fourth in the La Jolla.
The new players are Matty G, a Ron McAnally-trained sharp winner in his first try on the Del Mar grass August 3; Optic Nerve, who will bring a turf record of two wins, three seconds and two thirds in seven starts from trainer Howard Tesher's barn at Saratoga Race Course; and European imports Mystic Knight and Rainbow Blues, the former with one American race behind him for trainer Jeremy Noseda and the latter yet to make a start in the United States for trainer Charlie Whittingham.
Trainer Darrell Vienna is hoping that his trainee, Mirabolant, might make the provisional list. Vienna said he's planning to enter the horse if an invitation comes.
VETERINARIAN ARAUJO'S TEAM WINS ITS FOURTH VOLLEYBALL TITLE
Doc's Bunch, captained by John Araujo, won its fourth horseman's volleyball tournament championship on Tuesday at Del Mar Beach. According to Anne Palmer, director of horsemen's relations, the "Bunch" breezed through the opposition.
It was the fifth annual volleyball bash for the horsemen.
Finishing second in the tourney was the team captained by Manuel Avila, who gallops horses and works as assistant to trainer Eduardo Inda. Trainer Mike Mitchell's team finished third and a team headed by Gus Headley, son of trainer Bruce Headley, was fourth.
First-place team members each received a Pacific Classic robe and second place players received Pacific Classic clocks.
NAKATANI'S TEAM CAPTURES FIRST PLACE IN CATTLE-PENNING EVENT
Jockey Corey Nakatani and his cohorts on horseback captured the title in Tuesday night's third annual All Star Jockey Team Penning Competition at the Horse Show Arena adjacent to Del Mar race track.
Nakatani, Kelli Cerin and Marla Zanelli penned up their three cows in the shortest period of time to win the event before a crowd estimated at about 300. An all-woman team headed by jockey Joy Scott finished second in the competition.
Proceeds from the event went to benefit the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund, which aids injured and disabled riders.
ODYLE'S COMEBACK RACE SHOWS HE COULD BE PROMISING TURF RUNNER
Odyle, a stakes-running veteran even before he broke his maiden this past winter, roared back from a five-month layoff to show he has promise on the grass with a sparkling victory in Monday's Relaunch Stakes at Del Mar at one mile on the seaside track's Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Just as pleasing to trainer Juan "Paco" Gonzalez is the fact the 3-year-old Alleged colt was feeling so full of himself on Wednesday that the trainer took him to the track for a jog. Most often Gonzalez's runners walk two or three days after a race before going to the track again. "He looks pretty good," Gonzalez said by telephone from his Hollywood Park barn. He's so good, I had to take him to the track today. He's high-spirited and if I didn't do that, he'd be trying to kick eveybody in his stall by tomorrow."
Gonzalez said the plan is for Odyle to start next in the Woodbine Million, formerly the Molson Million, on September 15 at Woodbine Race Track outside Toronto, Ont., Canada. The race is at nine furlongs on the main track. Woodbine will be host to the 1996 Breeders' Cup Championship Day on October 26.
SHORE LINES: Happy 54th birthday today for trainer Mike Orman .... Recent important works: 4 furlongs - Ambivalent, :48 1/5; Celtic Arms, :47 1/5; Roar, :49 1/5; Alamocitos, :47 2/5; Antespend, :47 2/5; Red, :47; 5 furlongs - Track Gal, 1:00 2/5; Argonnier, 1:00 2/5; Dare And Go, 1:01 3/5; Elmhurst, :59 4/5; 6 furlongs - Tricky Code, 1:14 3/5; 7 furlongs - Megan's Interco, 1:26 1/5; on the turf - Ianomami, 1:03 2/5; Draco, 1:05 2/5 for 5 furlongs; Petit Poucet, 1:27 3/5 for 7 furlongs.
The Running Horse (http://www.isd1.com)