This, from our correspondent in Whittier, California.
It’s a cool story about Corey Nakatani, who left Southern California earlier this year for a fresh start.
Well, he enjoyed a happy homecoming June 1 when he rode 21-1 long shot Victor’s Cry to a victory in the $250,000 Grade I Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park.
Nakatani, a 39-year-old Covina native who’s won numerous Southland riding titles, finished a strong second (59-49) to Terry Thompson at the Oaklawn Park meet that concluded in late April while riding 113 fewer races.
He’s currently based in Kentucky, but that doesn’t mean he’s entrenched there.
“If the horses bring us back to California, we’ll be here,” Nakatani said after guiding Victor’s Cry to a head victory over Karelian, who shipped in from Kentucky and was the 9-5 favorite.
“I’d love to come back. California is home.”
Nakatani, who’s ridden such equine standouts as Lava Man, Lit de Justice, Serena’s Song, Rock Hard Ten and Sweet Catomine during a career that began in fall 1988 at Caliente Race Track in Mexico, knows the recipe for success in Southern California.
“If I got the opportunity to ride for the outfits you need to ride for, the Doug O’Neills and the John Sadlers, the Bob Bafferts,” he said. “If you rode for those outfits, you can come back and ride for them all.”
We wish him all the luck in the world.