Comebacking Mychel Sanchez points Cinnabunny to score
Betting on horses got jockey Mychel Sanchez in trouble. Riding them will, he hopes, keep him on track.
Sanchez, the journeyman jockey suspended earlier this year for betting against his mounts, earned his second stakes win of the week – and second of the year Saturday when he piloted Cinnabunny to a hard-fought score in the $100,000 Dashing Beauty Stakes at Delaware Park.
- Fasig-Tipton mixed sale set for TuesdayNearly 300 horses, including 94 in the horses of racing age supplement, are in the catalog to sell December 6 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic mixed sale.
“It feels awesome,” Sanchez said afterwards. “Awesome. Spectacular.”
On a rainy Saturday that belied late Delaware racing analyst Rich Glazier’s favorite aphorism – “It never rains on Saturday at Delaware Park” – Sanchez got Cinnabunny out of the gate and to the front. The five-year-old Golden Lad mare did the rest from there, turning aside the mid-race bid of Street Lute and holding off the late run of Cilla.
Cinnabunny now has eight wins from 17 career starts, and the winner’s share pushed her past $360,000 in earnings. The Dashing Beauty was her third in stakes company.
Sanchez had a stunning fall from grace earlier this year. The rider, long among the leaders at Parx and considered an up-and-coming jockey in the Mid-Atlantic, received a 60-day suspension January 20 from Pennsylvania state stewards “for placing wagers on horses at Parx Racing other than the horse he was riding.”
Other jurisdictions immediately followed suit, and 1/ST Racing, owners of Laurel Park and Pimlico, ruled him off all 1/ST properties. That denied him access to the Maryland tracks he had begun to make home.
In addition to the suspension, Sanchez was required to complete a program to combat gambling addiction. He was not given the all-clear to resume riding until June 13 and didn’t ride a race until June 22.
“For sure [I thought I would get all the way back],” he said. “You know, I worked through everything, everything. Everybody helped me, and I got support from everybody.”
He’s been having a productive return to racing thus far, having entered today with five wins in 24 starts at Delaware, his main base of operations.
This week, it seems like things have really picked up. Sanchez won twice Wednesday, including the first stakes win of his return, aboard Malibu Beauty in the $50,000 Peach Blossom for Delaware certified fillies and mares.
Saturday’s win brought another milestone, the biggest win of his return.
You might imagine that owners would be hesitant to use a rider so recently accused of betting against his own mounts. But trainer Cal Lynch said there had been no pushback “at all.”
“They trust me. They know I know Michael for a long time,” Lynch said. “I trust him. He made a mistake, and we all do that. Thank God people are willing to give a guy a second chance in this game sometimes. And some guys deserve it.”
Are the issues behind him?
“Oh, yeah, for sure,” Sanchez said.
“They better be,” Lynch intoned.
Sanchez says he’s aware of the preciousness of the opportunity he has.
“Those chances don’t come too often, so we’ve got to make the best of them,” the rider said.