FAIRPLEX STORY: FAIRPLEX CHAMP CERIN SEES PROS AND CONS OF RACING'S FUTURE
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ed Golden
Vladmir Cerin knows his way around Fairplex Park. He won consecutive training
titles at Pomona in 1994-95, was on hand Friday to saddle Miss Santa Ana to
an uneventful finish in the Pio Pico Stakes, and on Thursday was in good
spirits after claiming the winning 4-year-old filly Thatswhatshesaid from the
fourth race for the Dantes, Charles, Mike and Thomas for $8,000.
A native of Zagreb, in the former Yugoslavia, Cerin has a graduate degree
from UCLA in kinesiology, the study of movement.
While Fairplex is on record as committed to future racing at the Los Angeles
County Fair, there has been backstretch scuttlebutt to the contrary, so who
better to ask about the possible movement of the track's future racing dates
to another venue?
"I don't know if that would be bad, or good," said Cerin, who will be 48 on
Nov. 26. "Those dates are really valuable as Breeders' Cup preparation dates,
but it doesn't seem like that many people are running here. I don't know if
they would be running anywhere else. If they changed venues, I think it would
help the better horses, but the racing office would have to write races and
set up a whole group of stakes races as Breeders' Cup preps. On the other
hand, I think moving the dates would definitely have an adverse effect on
smaller stables. But a 20 percent drop in the handle (as occurred through the
first five days at Fairplex, although the sixth day began an upsurge which is
ongoing) is having an adverse effect on everyone."
Cerin plans to race at Fairplex throughout the meet which ends Sept. 29. He
is headquartered at Santa Anita where he is preparing for the Oak Tree meet
that begins on Oct. 2.
"I don't have any stars, but I have a lot of decent and useful horses," Cerin
said. "I have young horses, none of note, (just) horses that can be useful. I
don't have the financial backing like other trainers who have 20 $800,000
yearlings in their barns."
One such well-to-do client of Cerin's is Magna mogul Frank Stronach, but
Cerin currently has no horses in training for Stronach. "But," Cerin said,
"he told me when he sends some more out, he would send me some."
For the most part, Cerin's customers, such as David and Holly Wilson, have
been with him a long time. "Once in a while we claim one that's pretty good
and things work out."
Overall, however, Cerin does not paint an encouraging picture for racing's
"Things are getting tougher," he said. "What the big trainers don't realize is
that by hoarding all the horses and all the clients, they're eliminating the
small trainers and thereby eliminating competition for themselves and making
(creating) smaller fields. When one trainer has five horses in every
all that means is those races won't go (fill). If three of those horses were
other trainers' barns, then the race would go.
"Racing needs the competition. It needs to make sure that smaller trainers
stay in business and that's why I fought so hard for improvements in
workmens' comp. The small trainers are the backbone of this business. This
business cannot run with 20 trainers having 100 horses apiece. It's
FAIRWELLS: Martin Pedroza and Tyler Baze each won two races Friday to remain
one-two in the battle for leading rider. Pedroza holds a slim 12-11 edge with
eight days remaining. Guillermo Gutierrez has the best win percentage, .38,
with five victories from 13 mounts . . . Doug O