Leonard Frazzitta Jr. has opened the eyes of Maryland racing fans the last three months with 32 victories, and now it's time to put on a show for his proud mother.
"I want to show off for her [Kim] next weekend," said Frazzitta yesterday after he rode Neon Badge to a first-place finish by a nose in the third race at Laurel Park. "I'm flying her, my stepfather [Tim] and my little sister [Jenny] in from Detroit for the weekend.
"I'd like to win when they're here. My mother goes around bragging all the time back home about me riding this and that winner. I'm sure they're getting tired of hearing about me."
Frazzitta, 20, has overcome some hard knocks and setbacks to become the leading apprentice jockey on the local circuit after arriving here last October.
His father, Leonard Sr., died in a car accident when Frazzitta was just 11 years old. He'd been learning about the nuances of riding horses from his dad, who was a jockey.
"My dad [31 when he died] was like Superman to me," said Frazzitta. "It was a terrible loss for me. He had me looking at videos all the time and he tied me on a pony when I was 10 and made it buck and try to flip me. After that, I had no fear of anything on a horse. If you have fear, there is no use in riding."
The combination of no fear and hard work was Frazzitta's trademark around the Detroit area as he worked his way toward his first ride at Ladbrooke at 19.
He won four of his first six races at Ladbrooke, but could see his career going nowhere.
"I needed to get to some classy tracks like these in Maryland," said Frazzitta. "I love it here and hope to stay as long as I keep doing well. That should happen now that I have some help. I didn't have any help from October to March."
"Help" for Frazzitta comes from his respected agent, Ben Feliciano Sr., and the two top trainers (Dale Capuano and King Leatherbury) who are using him.
The more Capuano sees of Frazzitta the more he likes him.
Especially after his winning ride aboard Neon Badge yesterday.
"The horse was beat," said Capuano of Neon Badge, who was third entering the stretch. "He had never passed a horse before, but Leonard eased him outside and showed a lot of patience for a bug rider. His future looks very bright."
Prado hot as weather
Edgar Prado rode Proud Owner to a win in the $60,000 Pearl Necklace Stakes feature at Laurel Park yesterday, giving him five wins for the day in the approximately 90-degree temperatures.
Prado also had four straight first-place finishes -- in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth races.
Gilded Youth is a 10
Gilded Youth put on a striking performance for a 10-year-old horse yesterday, setting a Laurel Park course record for 1 3/16 miles on turf with a time of 1 minute 53 3/5 seconds in winning the sixth race.
The old course record for the distance on turf was 1: 54.0, set by Baltimore Dancer on July 14, 1994.
Pub Date: 6/28/98