Jockey Amir Cedillo didn’t follow Neil Drysdale’s instructions in the $53,565 Wine Country Stakes on Saturday at the Sonoma County Fair, but the Hall of Fame trainer won’t hold it against the rider.

Drysdale, who is based at Del Mar Racetrack in Southern California, hired Cedillo to handle Amnesia in the grassy mile and one-sixteenth feature race and the two talked strategy beforehand.

“He told me to rate behind horses and get her to the outside on the final turn so she’d be in the clear to make a late run,” Cedillo said.

Cedillo did what he was told until he and Amnesia made the turn into the stretch.

“There were horses outside of me and I couldn’t get out,” the jockey said.

So, he improvised.

“The horse on the lead left the rail open, so I took a chance and tried to get through,” Cedillo said.

Amnesia accelerated and the pair opened a two-length lead in a matter of seconds.

At the finish line, they held off 16-1 Time and Tides by a half-length.

“Things went opposite of what the plan was,” Cedillo added. “I’m just happy it turned out good for us.”

The jockey picked up $3,260 as his 10 percent of the winner’s share and Amnesia paid $8.80 for every $2 win bet.

While Cedillo was smiling on the walk back to the jockeys’ room, Frank Alvarado felt like kicking dirt.

He rode Time and Tides and they were last turning into the stretch.

“She was loafing and I couldn’t get her mind on running,” the rider said.

“Then all of a sudden, she took off. Another jump or two and we win.”


Loretta Jones, a 13-year-old mule, won Saturday’s second race. She was racing for the 85th time and winning her 19th race. She paid $27.20 to win.

Speaking of mules, in today’s first race Bar JF Hot Ticket will be trying for her 50th victory. The 11-year-old will be facing the starter for the 75th time. Her nine-year-old sister Bar JF Red Ticket is also in the race.

Santa Rosa-based trainer Gary Greiner has a pair of starters today. His recent claim Quick Cenizas runs in the seventh while Extensive will see action in the following race.

Track announcer Michael Wrona will be the guest at today’s handicapping seminar. Start time is 11:30 a.m. behind the grandstand.

Today’s spotlight race is the $50,000 Luther Burbank Handicap. Halo Dolly will bring earnings of $1,003,416 into the turf event. Russell Baze will ride for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.. The six-year-old will have four rivals including two from Southern California.