Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, June 30, 2012

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/30/2012 #

In Today's Notes: Jockey Quincy Hamilton Enjoying Newfound Status as Family Man; Torres, Graham, Stidham, Janks All Post Doubles Friday

Arlington jockey Quincy Hamilton may not be singing it, but he's thinking it: "Chicago Is My Kind Of Town."

There are a couple of very good reasons for that. One: he got married last October 15 to trainer Moises Yanez' daughter Mandy. The other: after an extensive court battle that kept him away from Arlington and Chicago last summer, he and Mandy have gained full custody of his two kids – 7-year-old daughter Emma and 5-year-old son Carter.

"I can't emphasize enough how important gaining full custody of my kids is to me," Hamilton said during training hours at the end of June. "Also, I want to say how very proud I am of Mandy for immediately embracing them as if they were hers, and how proud I am of them for quickly adjusting to feel very comfortable around her. It's been a wonderful thing for me to see.

"I'm all about us as a family, now," said Hamilton. "It's not 'me, me, me' anymore. I want to ride in Chicago all year long so we can raise our kids in one spot – have them go to the same schools every year and really put some roots down for them."

It wasn't always so for Hamilton when he was growing up. As the son of Quarter Horse jockey John Hamilton, 48, still very active as Louisiana's current leading Quarter Horse jockey, Quincy Hamilton was born in Jasper, Texas, 28 years ago and attended 13 different schools while he was growing up.

"Eleven of them were in Texas," Hamilton said, "but we lived in other places, too." Naturally, that nomadic existence didn't stop when he started his own riding career – most of it at numerous different venues throughout the Southwest. Somewhat surprisingly, although he rode Quarter Horses a few times in match races, he has never ridden them in a recognized parimutuel affair. Nevertheless, although he didn't follow his father's advice to be a Quarter Horse jockey, the two Hamilton jockeys remain very close.

"We text each other about after every ride," the Thoroughbred-riding Hamilton said, "and when he came up here at Christmastime my Dad and I and my son all got to experience our first Amtrak ride together from Chicago to Shreveport. It was like we were the 'Three Amigos.'"

Hamilton scored his first career win at Sam Houston Race Park in October of 2003 and captured his first important graded stakes win aboard Mending Fences in the 2007 Grade III John B. Connally Turf Handicap.

He first came to Arlington in 2009 and then tied for 11th in Arlington's final standings in 2010. This summer so far he has comfortably forged a position inside the top 10 but plans to improve on that.

"Hopefully, I'll make it into the top five by the end of the meet," Hamilton said. "I ride quite a bit for both Wayne Catalano and Larry Rivelli. They're both very good horseman with a lot of horses and I really appreciate the opportunities they've given me.

"However, I'm also trying to make connections with more and more Illinois owners so I can mold myself into a 'Chicago staple' kind of rider," Hamilton concluded.

Arlington's current leading jockey Francisco Torres may be 43-years-old, but he shows no signs of slowing down. The Chicago-raised reinsman rode all nine races on Friday's twilight racing program and won two, capturing the second half of the Daily Double aboard Michael Milkes' Rivershire for conditioner Steve Manley and taking the fifth with Jaguar On The Run Stable's Jaguar Ridge for trainer Tom Swearingen.

Arlington's defending jockey champion and current runner-up rider James Graham also won two races Friday (giving current leading trainer Mike Stidham a training double in the process) by winning the fourth race aboard Terry Hamilton's Lord of the Roses and returning to the winner's circle after the finale astride The Fillies Racing Stable's Janice Jones.

Also with a winning pair as a trainer was Christine Janks, capturing the third with S. D. Brilie Ltd.'s Pathway, Seth Martinez in the irons, and then the seventh with Steve Holland and Crown's Way Farm's You Dancing Demon with Chris Emigh up.