Dirt-bike crash idles Phila. Park's top jockey

Posted: April 23, 2007

Frankie Pennington broke the record for most victories in one season at Philadelphia Park last year when he visited the winner's circle 260 times.

But on Tuesday the Texas native broke his left collarbone when the 19-year-old sensation was unseated in a dirt-bike accident near his home in Bensalem.

Pennington, currently atop the jockeys' standings, will be sidelined from four to six weeks, according to his agent, Bobby Martel.

"I think he learned a lesson; the bike is for sale," Martel said yesterday. "Riding horses is dangerous enough."

Pennington has been a jockey since he was 16 and has won more than 500 races.

Xchanger for sale. The gray colt Xchanger romped by 43/4 lengths in Saturday's Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico (ungraded) and already has a guaranteed berth in the May 5 Kentucky Derby, 14th in graded earnings from the 20 allowed starters.

"He won by as far as he wanted to," trainer Mark Shuman, a 36-year-old native of Akron, Ohio, said yesterday. "If someone out there has Derby fever and wants to buy him, tell them to give me a call."

Shuman saddled three stakes winners on the Pimlico card and ran his colt (a son of the Danzig stallion, Exchange Rate) in the Tesio after a plane that would have taken his colt to Keeneland for the Lexington Stakes canceled its flight.

"When we found out we could get [Ramon] Dominguez for the Tesio, we decided to run [at Pimlico]. I think Dominguez is the top rider in the country. Running in the Derby is not my first choice, but I have to talk to my owners," Shuman said. "If we skip the Derby, I'll watch it and evaluate our Preakness chances."

Xchanger was purchased last year at a Timonium, Md., auction for $40,000 and has now earned $291,990.

Domenico Zannino owns 50 percent of Xchanger, and Joe Masone and Shuman each own 25 percent.

Notes. Chelokee, owned by Centennial Farm and trained by Michael Matz of Barbaro fame, is 22d on the graded-earnings list and thus needs a couple of horses ahead of him to drop out before entry time on May 2 to become a starter.

Contact staff writer Craig Donnelly at 215-854-2839 or cdonnelly@phillynews.com.

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