Cristian Torres' star continued its meteoric rise Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where the 21-year-old apprentice jockey recorded his first career stakes victory aboard Ms Meshak in the $75,000 Added Elegance Stakes.
“This is unbelievable. I don't have words. It's a dream come true,” Torres said. “I've worked so hard for this.”
Torres, who has ridden 14 winners during the past five racing days, made four visits to the winner's circle Saturday, tying with Edgard Zayas, 24-24, at the top of the Summer Meet jockey standings.
Torres picked up the mount aboard Ms Meshak from Jairo Rendon, who sat out Saturday's program with a sore shoulder sustained in a spill Friday.
“When I needed a rider it wasn't even a question. I've been watching him ride. I thought he was plenty good enough. The five pounds was never a concern,” said trainer Joe Orseno, referring to Torres loss of his five-pound apprentice allowance in a stakes.
Torres placed Ms Meshak in perfect position behind a pressured pace set by Razorback Lady, who posted fractions of 22.38 and 45.09 seconds for the first half-mile of the seven-furlong stakes for fillies and mares. On the far turn, Torres eased his mount to the outside and the Northwind Thoroughbreds LLC's homebred filly picked up the bit to mount a challenge on the turn into the homestretch. Grade 2 stakes-placed Razorback Lady fought back under Reylu Gutierrez, but Ms Meshak had the fresher legs and moved away to win by two lengths.
“I had awesome trip. She broke good and I put her behind horses. She relaxed really good and when I asked her, she just went,” Torres said.
Ms Meshak ran seven furlongs in 1:24.71 to win her fifth race in nine starts over Gulfstream's main track. Razorback Lady finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead on late-running Amaluna.
Born in Puerto Rico, Torres was raised in Orlando, FL but he returned to Puerto Rico to lean to become an exercise rider. When he returned to the U.S., he galloped horses for trainer Mark Casse before embarking on his career as a jockey. He has now won 54 races since riding his first horse April 6 at Gulfstream Park.
“I'm blessed,” he said.
Ms. Meshak made her last three starts on turf, winning a five-furlong sprint in her grass debut at Gulfstream before finishing off the board in two turfs starts at Churchill Downs.
“She likes the turf better, I think. She had two rough trips in Kentucky. We took a shot at some big money, but she's back. She's a Florida-bred. We're in good shape,” Orseno said.
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