Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Jul 11 2015, Page 64

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - July 11, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE C9 winnipegfreepress. com XYFOLIOXY WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY, JULY 11, 2015 C 9 winnipegfreepress. com SPORTS WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY, JULY 11, 2015 C 9 GET TICKETS NOW! GREYCUPTICKETS. CA 204- 784- 7448 © 2013 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. ( BRP). All rights reserved. ® , ™ and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates. Always ride safely and responsibly. WINNIPEG EAST 925 Lagimodiere Blvd., Winnipeg, MB 204- 233- 3667 OAK BLUFF McGillivray at Perimeter, 25 Highway 3 East. 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The race call didn’t sound like that, but the voices in the press box certainly did, as 24- year- old apprentice jockey Kayla Pizarro steadily narrowed the gap on the leaders in the sixth race on Canada Day aboard Sidygin Stable’s 19- 1 long shot Indian Ancestry — her first mount in an actual race. Sixth of seven early in the race, Indian Ancestry advanced inside on the turn to take fourth position, but was still six lengths back. Turning into the stretch however, Pizarro had moved her mount into third and was only 3 ½ lengths back. “ I just thought, ‘ Oh my gosh, I’m starting to catch up,’ ” the Winnipeg- born 24- yearold said. “ I got excited and started talking to the horse. ‘ Come on! Come on!’ Then, I heard the crowd cheering and thought I must be getting super close.” Indian Ancestry and Pizarro surged to the lead late on the outside and walked into the Winner’s Circle surrounded by family and a very appreciative crowd. And it wasn’t because Indian Ancestry paid $ 40 to win. This was something genuinely different. A special courtesy shown by Winnipeggers who were proud of the young woman. And as Pizarro walked back to the jocks’ room amidst the announcement she’d won her first race on her first mount, the crowd applauded her. We can’t remember the last time we heard people clapping for a jockey. And because it just doesn’t happen, everybody noticed it. Including jockey Jerry Pruitt and a few cohorts who coated Pizarro in ice and water before she got back in the room. It’s extremely rare for an apprentice jockey to win with their first mount. Paying your dues heavily with an assortment of mounts that include misfits, goofballs and horses that would rather be out in the field eating dandelions is generally what apprentices get to ride. “ She got on the horse every morning,” trainer Lyle Harris said in the Winner’s Circle after the race. “ She did a good job with the horse. So I thought I’d give her a shot. She earned it.” Credit is certainly due to Harris, who could have put a “ name” jockey on Indian Ancestry, but instead stuck with Pizarro. In the old days it seems, trainers kept to their word a little more, and gave mounts to jockeys that earned them in the mornings. That doesn’t happen as much now. Pizarro might just have the pedigree to be a jockey, too. She certainly has the work ethic. She shows up early every morning at trainer Murray Duncan’s barn, exercises up to 10 horses a morning in a few different stables, then heads off to her second job selling shoes in St. Vital. On the bus. Pizarro’s Argentinian father is jockey Jorge Pizarro, a former Fort Erie riding champion who also won races at Woodbine and Assiniboia Downs. Her brother, Tyler, was a hot apprentice when he started out in 2007, and he is currently riding and winning at Woodbine in Toronto. Her mother, Brigitte, groomed her Canada Day winner for trainer Harris. The 115- pound Pizarro was born in Winnipeg but moved to Fort Erie, Ont., when she was three years old. At 12, she was riding bareback in the paddocks on Tony Alderson’s farm in Fort Erie with his son, Jeffrey. While still in high school, her parents took her to the track on weekends and let her shedrow horses. At 17, she started exercising horses at Fort Erie. She returned to Winnipeg in 2013, and gradually started to apply her work ethic to the local oval. Two years later, she has her first winner. “ I just didn’t feel ready until now,” said Pizarro, adding everyone in the jocks’ room was really happy for her, gave her tips and helped her out before the race. The only downside was she wished injured jockey Alyssa Selman, the only other female in the jocks’ room, could have been there. “ She was going to help me in the jocks’ room,” said Pizarro. “ She wanted to be here. I really hope she can walk again. She’s tough. She’s always been tough.” “ I’m a person who believes in miracles. And she’s going to be one of them.” Community support buoys injured jockey JOCKEY Alyssa Selman remains in stable condition in Health Sciences Centre and was able to sit up with assistance for 15 minutes Thursday. She was also able to complete some very mild physiotherapy. While still unable to move her legs, her body was starting to function better internally — and her spirits have been buoyed by frequent visitors and news about all the people who are supporting her behind the scenes. Donations and prizes for Alyssa’s fundraising social July 19 at Assiniboia Downs have been pouring in. So much so that now, along with a silent auction, there will also be a live auction at the event. For more information, visit AssiniboiaDowns. com or call ( 204) 885- 3330. Two milestones in one race Apprentice jockey delights crowd, enters Winner’s Circle on first mount By George Williams BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Winnipeg- born Kayla Pizarro claimed her first win on Canada Day aboard long shot Indian Ancestry. CINCINNATI — Break out the boats. This All- Star Home Run Derby might make a splash. The annual long- ball celebration will have a favourable setting Monday. Great American Ball Park has been one of the major leagues’ most homer- friendly places since it opened in 2003, with its short distances and lift- producing humidity providing a cozy flight path to the seats. And maybe beyond. The Ohio River flows past the right field stands and could become a final resting place for homer- dented baseballs. Only one has ended up there during the park’s 13- year history. Anyone feel like some paddling? “ I’m assuming people will be in the river canoeing and waiting for some balls,” said Reds Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, who played at Great American for two seasons. “ I think they’re going to get peppered out there. There will be a lot of long, majestic home runs.” There’s just a lot of home runs at the park, period. Great American was built as a hitter’s park. The right field foul pole is only 325 feet away, a short distance chosen with Ken Griffey Jr. in mind. He was the Reds’ biggest star when it opened. An average of 2.53 homers have been hit there each game this season, which ranks fourth in the majors behind Yankee Stadium ( 2.8), Camden Yards ( 2.74) and Miller Park ( 2.68), according to STATS. Great American led the majors in homers in 2005 and ranked second from 2006- 08. The combination of close walls and muggy summer air — which helps the ball carry — is the recipe for a hitter’s delight. “ It’s the best home run park in the game,” said former Reds third baseman Aaron Boone, who played in Cincinnati during the park’s inaugural season. “ It’s going to be fun to see if some of these lefties can hit it into the river and over everything. I think there’s going to be lots of ‘ ooh- and- ah’ moments in the home run derby because of the smallness of the park.” Only one homer has landed in the river. Adam Dunn hit one off Jose Lima on Aug. 1, 2004, that cleared centre, bounced on the street outside the ballpark and was found among some driftwood in the river. The ball flew an estimated 535 feet before its first bounce. “ The distance was one thing, but the height — it just seemed like it was never going to come down,” Larkin said. Juan Francisco also hit one that ended up outside the park in 2011. It cleared the right- field stands, bounced onto the adjacent street and hit a car. That homer flew an estimate 502 feet before hitting concrete. It’s much tougher to hit one out of the park now. A riverboat- themed party deck has been added atop the batter’s eye. A videoboard was installed above the right field seats this season. Under a new format this year, the eight all- stars will be seeded in brackets and each of their rounds will be timed. Each hitter gets five minutes per round, with a chance for extra time if they hit some really far. — The Associated Press Great American great place for derby ‘ I’m assuming people will be in the river canoeing and waiting for some balls. I think they’re going to get peppered out there. There will be a lot of long, majestic home runs’ — Reds Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin By Joe Kay C_ 09_ Jul- 11- 15_ FP_ 01. indd C9 7/ 10/ 15 7: 48: 36 PM

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