With Engineering Degree A Possibility, Calleja Starts Jockey Career

October 18, 2021

Plans To Be Determined For Top Two Buffalo Trace Franklin County Runners

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Andres Calleja felt like a winner after guiding Bryan Waldridge’s War Eagle’s Love to a fourth-place finish for trainer Anthony Stephen in Friday’s second race. The experience fulfilled the 22-year-old’s dream of being a jockey and set him on a career course. 

“It is indescribable,” Calleja said about the experience while he accepted well wishes from colleagues in the crowd. “There is just so much happening (in the race) with so many moving parts. Trying to focus is definitely something I have to keep practicing. I got as fit and as prepared as I possibly could.” 

A graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, Calleja is planning a second career while he concentrates on riding racehorses. He has been taking classes at the University of Kentucky with a long-range plan of earning an engineering degree. For now, winning races is his first priority. 

“I definitely will be taking some more classes,” he said. “I really like the mathematics. I am not in any rush. That is a future goal. That is something to lean back on, but being a jockey is my dream.” 

Calleja learned about racing from his father, Gustavo, who has held various positions in the industry including riding horses at unofficial tracks in Mexico. The younger Calleja had no previous 

experience in the saddle until he climbed aboard an inexperienced Thoroughbred filly owned by his father. He eventually started riding other people’s racehorses while doing barn chores. He met Anthony Stephen at The Thoroughbred Center in north Lexington. 

Stephen, a former jockey, recognized Calleja’s enthusiasm and dedication and decided to give the youngster his first afternoon mount. Calleja is scheduled to ride again for Stephen in Sunday’s fourth race where he is named aboard Americain Joey. 

“He works really hard seven days a week,” Stephen said. “He always wants to do more. He knows (War Eagle’s Love) really well. He rides her every morning. He gets along with her and that is the main thing – not every jockey fits every horse. He deserved the chance. He did great.” 

Change of Control with Colby Hernandez up wins the Buffalo Trace Franklin County for trainer Michelle Lovell and owner Perry Harrison, 2021 Keeneland Fall Meet

Buffalo Trace Franklin County top finishers Change of Control (#12 burgundy cap) and Ambassador Luna (#2 pink cap). (Keeneland)  

Plans To Be Determined For Top Two Buffalo Trace Franklin County Runners 

Perry Harrison’s Change of Control returned to Churchill Downs Friday night at 9:15 following her 11⁄2-length victory in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) over a yielding turf course for her second graded stakes victory and second Keeneland stakes victory. 

Trainer Michelle Lovell reported the 5-year-old mare was doing well Saturday morning with plans for a next start to be determined. 

Trainer Ben Colebrook had a similar report on Voodoomon Racing’s Ambassador Luna, who set the pace in the 51⁄2-furlong sprint through the rain as a 62-1 longshot. 

“There are no definite plans yet,” Colebrook said of Ambassador Luna, who won an off-the-turf stakes at Churchill Downs in 2020 in what was her first dirt start. “We have options.” 

Galloping Out 

Flying P Stable and R.A. Hill Stable’s Lone Rock, winner of the Brooklyn (G2) and two other stakes going 11⁄2 miles or more, worked an easy half-mile in :52.80 over a muddy main track Saturday morning for trainer Robertino Diodoro. 

It was the first work for Lone Rock since finishing second in the 1 5/8-mile Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational (L) at Belmont Park on Sept. 18. Lone Rock is being pointed to the $250,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes (G2) at Del Mar on Nov. 6 going 1 5/8 miles. 

“He will have two more works here and leave Nov. 2 for Del Mar,” said Diodoro, who claimed Lone Rock for $40,000 last November at Churchill Downs. Lone Rock has five victories and two seconds in his seven starts for Diodoro. 

Diodoro also said that Cypress Creek Equine and Arnold Bennewith’s Dream Lith, who finished in a dead heat for fifth in the Darley Alcibiades (G1) on Oct. 8, is being pointed to the $400,000 Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27. 

Upcoming Potential Keeneland Stakes Fields 

$150,000 Sycamore (G3), Friday, Oct. 22 – Bama Breeze (trainer Rusty Arnold), Breakpoint (CHI) (Steve Asmussen), Ry’s the Guy (Ian Wilkes), Sole Volante (Patrick Biancone), Spooky Channel (Jason Barkley), Two Emmys (McLean Robertson), Yamato (Murat Sancal). Possible: Another Mystery (Chris Block), Hierarchy (Joe Sharp). 

$250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2), Saturday, Oct. 23 – Caramel Swirl (Bill Mott), Joy’s Rocket (Steve Asmussen), Miss Speedy (Mark Casse), Souper Sensational (Casse). Possible: Cilla (Brett Brinkman), Obligatory (Bill Mott). 

$150,000 Perryville, Saturday, Oct. 23 – Boca Boy (Cheryl Winebaugh), Emerald Forest (Shane Wilson), He’smyhoneybadger (Brad Cox), Irish Unity (Steve Asmussen), Soup and Sandwich (Mark Casse). 

$150,000 Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3), Sunday, Oct. 24 – Eesha My Flower (Ian Wilkes), English Affair (Rusty Arnold), Kelsey’s Cross (Patrick Biancone), La Lune (GB) (Edward Vaughan), Summer in Saratoga (Joe Sharp). Possible: Adventuring (Brad Cox), Dalika (GER) (Al Stall Jr.). 

Fall Meet Leaders
Through Oct. 15 (6 days of 17-day season) 

Fall Meet Special Events 

All year 

Official Keeneland Tours. A variety of guided walking tours showcase Keeneland’s Thoroughbred racing and sales operations. Click here for more information.

Every race day 

The new Keeneland Turf Pick 3 wager is offered on the final three turf races each race day. The minimum wager is $3 and will follow the same rules as the traditional Pick 3. The new wager has a 15 percent takeout, the same low takeout as Keeneland’s popular Pick 5 wager. 

Keeneland Select Handicapping Challenge. Sport of Kings, the free horse racing contest website, has this new free online handicapping contest for casual fans and serious horseplayers. Participants make mythical selections on two Keeneland races for each day of the meet. Two seats to the 2022 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship will be awarded. To sign up, click here.

For info on the Best Breeders’ Cup Seminar click HERE.

Keeneland Barn Notes

Photo: Dunbar High School graduate Andres Calleja made his riding debut Friday (Keeneland photo)

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