After wintering at Aqueduct the past several years, jockey Rajiv Maragh made a triumphant Championship Meet return Friday at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
The 34-year-old Jamaica native, who rode his first race at Calder Race Course in 2003, guided Uncle Gregory ($11.60) to victory in Race 2 on Opening Day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet.
“It's really awesome to come back home. This is where my riding originated here in Florida. I grew up here after I left Jamaica,” Maragh said following his career victory No. 1,890 victory. “All my family is here. It's really nice to be back, and it's really nice to win a race on the first day of the meet.”
Maragh rode his first of 53 graded-stakes winners at Gulfstream Park, scoring with Lilah in the 2005 Hurricane Bertie (G3). He has recorded four Breeders' Cup victories among his several Grade 1 successes, riding Groupie Doll for back-to-back wins in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) in 2012 and 2013, as well as notching wins in the 2012 Juvenile Sprint with Hightail and 2011 Dirt Mile (G1) with Caleb's Posse.
“I'm working hard, hoping to get off to a good start. I was provided with a lot of opportunities today, so I hope to capitalize on it,”
Grade 1-Winning Broodmare House Party Passes Away
Saturday's House Party at Gulfstream Park will be run in the memory of the Grade 1 stakes winner. Trained by the late Hall of Fame conditioner H. Allen Jerkens to three graded stakes, including the 2003 Prioress (G1), House Party passed away peacefully last week.
House Party, by French Deputy out of the Relaunch mare Bill Back, was foaled on April 4, 2000, at Leverett and Linda Miller's T-Square Stud near Fairfield, Fla. “She was a hell of mare,” said Leverett Miller, who owned a piece of House Party with owner and breeder Joseph Shields Jr.
House Party won the Old Hat at Gulfstream in 2003 and finished her career at Gulfstream the following winter with a victory in the Hurricane Bertie. The mare also won the Prioress, Nassau County Breeders' Cup Stakes (G2), and Endie Handicap (G3) in 2003 and was third that year in the Test (G1). She won seven of 17 races and was off the board only three times in her career.
“She was on the farm and simply laid down,” said Miller, who said the mare's last runner is the unraced 2-year-old Rodeo Queen, who is by Wagon Limit.
Who's Hot: Apprentice Cristian Torres, who sat out the final two days of the Fall Turf Festival at Gulfstream Park West after receiving 11 stitches on a split lip sustained in a mishap last Friday, returned to action with two winners on Friday's Opening Day card at Gulfstream Park. Torres pushed his 2019 win total to 118 with victories aboard Til the End ($15) in Race 5 and Fortune Cookie ($16.80) in Race 8.
Jairo Rendon and Emisael Jaramillo also rode a pair of winners. Rendon scored aboard Quick Enough ($4) in Race 1 and Henry's World ($11.80) in Race 3. Jaramillo won aboard Algodonal ($10.20); ($) in Race 10.
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