LARC NEWS Posted: 5/22/2021 1:25:07 AM


          What started with the $10,000 Pick Six Promo last Sunday night at Los Alamitos led to the highest nighttime Pick Six payout at the Orange County in over 17 years, as the lone $2 winning ticket on Friday night returned a whopping $94,217.

          The winning payout was the highest here at night in the Pick Six since $108,631 was paid on February 15, 2004. On that evening, the key winners of the sequence included My Son Jeremy returning $11.80, the Arabian runner Move Over lighting up the tote board to the tune of $30.80, Agusta Effort following it with $19.00 for the win, and Keats closing out the sequence with a $21.80 payout.

          Friday’s key moments included the first career victory by 30-year-old apprentice rider Rolando Munoz (left), as he piloted the Thoroughbred Stay Legendary to a $33.80 winning return in the opening leg of the Pick Six sequence, plus upset wins by Quarter Horses True Freshman ($22.60) and Val Kiria ($24.60). The finishing touch for the magical Pick Six ticket came courtesy of Arturo Williams’ Bold Roman, who got the job done at 4-1 odds, with veteran rider Wayne Barnett aboard.

          As for the buildup for this big payout, Los Alamitos seeded the Pick 6 pool with the now customary $10,000 figure last Sunday night since there was no carryover going into the racing program. At the end of the night, there were no tickets with six out of the six resulting in a nice carryover of $32,143.

          With a juicy one-night carryover up for grabs on Friday, horse players responded with $114,987 of new money to take the total pool in the Pick Six to $147,130. The opportunity for a great score was there and Stay Legendary’s half-length victory at 14-1 odds was the precursor for a night of big payouts in the Pick Six. And for Munoz, it was a race that he will never forget.

          “I’m so happy to get my first win after trying many times to get one,” Munoz said. “Thankfully, it was our turn to win and I’m very grateful to trainer Jesus Mendoza for giving me this opportunity. I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully continue to move forward. The horse responded at the end and got the job done.”

          Munoz, a native of Zacatecas, Mexico, has spent the four years galloping horses at Los Alamitos. He made his professional riding debut on November 1, 2020 aboard the James Glenn Jr. trainee Runaway One.

          “I’ve been here a long time working with horses in the morning,” Munoz said. “It’s a dream come true to win one at night.”

          Munoz was one of three jockeys on Friday night to visit the winner’s circle at Los Alamitos for the first-time. Ricardo Ramirez also got the celebrate a win for the first time in his career, albeit his victory came prior to the start of the Pick Six sequence. The third jockey to get his first snapshot at Los Al on Friday night was Wayne Barnett, but he’s no stranger to wins having picked up 992 of them since 1982. Riding at old Hazel Park and throughout Maryland and West Virginia, Barnett was the third leading jockey in the country with 290 victories in 1993. He even rode in the 1985 Preakness won by Tank’s Prospect.

          “I started in ’82 in Michigan at Hazel Park,” Barnett (left) began. “I had an agent take me to New York and I rode the New Jersey and New York circuit for about three years. I did well there. A guy named Hank Allen, a retired baseball player (and the older brother of seven-time All Star Dick Allen, the 1972 American League MVP), asked me to come to Maryland and ride for him. He had horses nominated to the derby. I basically rode for him in Laurel and Pimlico. I rode the Preakness for him. We won a lot of nice stakes race. I started riding Charles Town at night and Maryland during the day and I was third leading rider. I did that night and day.”

          Barnett stepped away from riding from 1997 until 2009, riding only sparingly upon his brief return. He took another break from 2010 to 2015, before coming back in strong form to enjoy a streak of wins at Hazel Park. After a quiet 2020, the opportunity came to travel to California and Barnett decided he was ready to experience racing on the West Coast.   

          “I’m starting over, but I’ll get there” Barnett admitted. “I love it here. I love the sunshine. I’m looking to move up the ladder. I’m working hard, trying to ride for anybody that want to win races…just give me some time.”    

          His first win at Los Alamitos with Bold Roman was a high-profile one, as it clinched the record Pick Six payout for the meet.

          Not in the Pick Six sequence but a noteworthy victory as well came in the second race on Friday when 22-year-old apprentice jockey Ricardo Ramirez (right) won aboard Naomi Fraley in wire-to-wire fashion. This was Ramirez’s eighth career mount.

          “It’s a thrilling moment for me,” Ramirez said. “It’s emotional for me and it’s something that’s not easy to explain. I am thankful for all the trainers and connections who have helped me. I’ll keep giving it my all.”

          Ramirez is also from Zacatecas and has been working at Los Alamitos towards this moment since early last year.

          Friday was a night of nice winning moments for a couple of new members in the Los Alamitos jockey colony, and of course it was the night of a huge Pick Six payout for a horse player. All in all, it was another exciting evening of racing at the racetrack on Katella Avenue.



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