In just her fourth career mount, apprentice Rosie Higgins, who was raised on a farm in eastern Ohio, broke her maiden in Thursday's second race at Santa Anita aboard Blue Law, who appropriately enough, broke from the rail and was assigned the number “one” in the track's program.
With her husband, Hall of Fame jockey, Kent Desormeaux, looking on in civilian attire, Higgins sat a close second at the rail to pacesetter Gavination around the far turn and took command turning for home to win by three lengths while covering 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.46.
“It was awesome,” said Higgins, 31, in the winner's circle. “I was a little worried there for a moment, I just didn't want him (Tiago Pereira, aboard Gavination) to close the door, but we were able to get through. I just said 'Come on sweetie,' and we got through just fine. Hopefully, it helps my career a little bit. I understand that I'm new. I know I'm still green and I know how trainers feel, because I've been in their position. Hopefully, it helps and I keep moving up.”
Trained by Bob Hess, Jr., and the 6-5 favorite in a field of eight older maidens in for a $20,000 claiming tag, Blue Law paid $4.40, $2.80 and $2.60.
“This was her third time riding for me,” said Hess, who legged Higgins up for a fourth place finish on Blue Law on Jan. 23. “She's very patient and is very mindful of doing things right, of doing what is right by the horse. She's got great balance and she's totally in to what she's doing. This is great.”
A 10-pound apprentice, Higgins, according to California racing rules, will remain an apprentice jockey for a period of one year from the date of her fifth winner, or when she wins her 40th race, whichever comes later.
Although Higgins is now some 5,711 wins behind him, Desormeaux said that immediately following the race, he received a text message that read “Congratulations, Mr. Higgins.”
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