Danny Sorenson won three races on opening day at Fairplex Park on Friday,
but he regarded the feat as no big deal. Fact is, the 44-year-old jockey
couldn't remember the last time he won three races on a single card.
At the very least, the three wins from seven mounts put the Seattle native
on top of the jockey standings one day into the 17-day meet. More important
to Sorenson, however, is the future of racing at the Los Angeles County
"I never really thought about the last time I won three races in one day,"
Sorenson said. "But this is a good meet, yet a tough meet on everybody. It's
good because the guys (jockeys) who don't get such good opportunities
elsewhere, or multiple opportunities, at the major meets, get more good
chances here and the purse money is good.
"It's bad because it can get so hot. It's one of those meets where it
doesn't matter if you ride one or 10 (a day). It's hot out there with the
vests and the silks, which only amplifies the heat, and it drains on you a
bit. But we choose to do this job, so that's OK."
Sorenson is not ranked among Fairplex Park's all-time leaders in wins, but
he makes a decent living during the 17 days of racing at Pomona.
"Most of the years I've ridden here, I don't win the majority of races," he
said. "But I win some good races and I ride for good clients, and that's
always been my goal, (to) ride the good races and ride for people who
appreciate me riding."
Still, that won't pay all the bills.
"Oh no," Sorenson said. "It damn sure helps, don't get me wrong. You can
make plenty of money at this meet in a short time, especially if you win a
couple of the stakes. But with the cost of living, we're all in the same
boat, I don't care if you're a jockey or a carpenter."
Sorenson sees the Fairplex meet as more than just a brief deviation from
racing in the big time.
"I think Fairplex is a great benefit to racing itself, not just for riders
who have a chance to make money here," Sorenson said. "And look at it from
an owner's standpoint. If they have horses that don't necessarily fit at
Santa Anita or Hollywood, or maybe the horse is not quite cuttin' it, they
come to Pomona and win a race and build their confidence. Then maybe that
horse can compete better at a major meet. A meet like Fairplex enables an
owner to run for good money instead of shipping out of town to a more costly
venue, or just selling his horse outright. In that case, he just has fewer
horses and the California-based industry loses horses.
"There are people who survive on horse racing in California, so to have a
meet like this is beneficial to us all. We don't have a Caliente anymore to
ship lesser-grade horse back and forth to get ready for a bigger meet;
there's no Orange County Fair anymore. So, Fairplex is the last surviving
venue to give lower caliber horses a chance to pay their own way, and a
lower caliber h