Juan Carlos Guerrero, the trainer of Spun to Run, upset winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile over Pegasus favorite Omaha Beach had this to say about getting “spun” by jockey Irad Ortiz a week before the big race.
“Today (Spun to Run) trained super and I said to myself everything is perfect going into this race. Then I get the call from Irad telling me he was going to take off Spun to Run to ride Mucho Gusto instead. Needless to say it was both upsetting and surprising since I had the call and now I’m left without a rider a week before the race.”
Jockeys and their agents have been spinning trainers and taking off horses for what is perceived to be a better opportunity as far back as most of us can remember. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Jockeys and their agents are not always the best handicappers. Remember Bill Shoemaker chose to ride Hill Rise over Northern Dancer in the Kentucky Derby. Eddie Arcaro put it best when asked what he would have liked to do if he was not a jockey. Arcaro thought for a moment and said:
“I’d like to be the bookie in the jock’s room.”
Often the individual race is not the objective. Irad opted to ride for the powerful stable of Bob Baffert. Bob has arguably the best barn in the game and the chance for future mounts no doubt came into play here. That said Mucho Gusto is not exactly a hopeless entrant either.
This is a competitive game, and riders operate without contracts. They get taken off, and they take off. As in most areas of the world and business, loyalty is a rare commodity and at times can be more costly than many are willing to pay.
As of now Spun to Run remains open. Word is they are trying to get Luis Saez, who is committed to Mr. Freeze. If it were me, I’d have already called Ron Anderson and sent Umberto Rispoli a first class plane ticket.
Guerrero can go to the stewards and hold Irad to the call. Thus far there is no indication he is going that route.