Sidelined by injury for the past three months, Edgard Zayas made a victorious return to action on the opening day of Gulfstream Park's spring meet Thursday, scoring aboard his first mount back.
The 25-year-old rising star, who sustained a broken femur in his right leg in a Dec. 30 spill, captured the second race aboard Buddy's Run ($5.80) after giving the Ralph Nicks trainee a heads-up ride.
“It feels great. If feels even better coming back with a winner. I've been craving to get back in the saddle,” said Zayas, who sent Buddy's Run to the lead in the six-furlong maiden race, eased the first-time starter back off a heated pace, and mounted a four-wide rally on the turn into the homestretch before drawing clear by 10 ¼ lengths. “I healed up faster than I thought. I feels nice to be back.”
Zayas, who has ridden the winners of nearly 1,300 races and $33 million in purses in a little over six years, had gotten off to a fast start during the 2018-2019 Championship Meet, ranking sixth with 15 wins, before heading to the sidelines.
“It was hard, especially because the meet started well. Big things could have happened, but I have a lot of years ahead of me, so I just have to keep working hard,” he said.
Zayas, who had five mounts Thursday and has been named to ride in all eight races Friday, is especially appreciative of the enthusiastic response given his return to action by owners and trainers.
“Thankfully, all the trainers and owners have supported us so far. Hopefully, we can get back rolling and pick up where we left off,” said Zayas, whose wife Ashley and 23-month-old daughter Lilly greeted him in the winner's circle.
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