Born into Thoroughbred racing, Jorge Delgado always wanted to be a trainer. He just never wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father and uncle in his native Venezuela.
After attending a two-year school for training and then saddling just one starter in his homeland, Delgado set out to make his way in the U.S., arriving in South Florida in 2012 at the age of 21.
“My dream has always been to train horses here. I bought my ticket and came by myself and started looking for a job,” Delgado said. “I started seven years ago as a hotwalker.”
Delgado would be reunited with his uncle, Gustavo Delgado, a few years later when the Venezuela legend also ventured to South Florida. He went to work for his uncle before going out on his own in 2017 with one horse, Saturado, who would provide him with his first win July 9, 2017.
“My uncle is very demanding, but you learn. I learned as much about life as about training from him,” Delgado said. “In life, he's smart. He always looks forward, never looks back.”
Jorge Delgado seems to have a lot to look forward to these days at Gulfstream Park, where he is scheduled to saddle Hy Kodiak Warrior for Saturday's $75,000 Sea of Tranquility Stakes. The 28-year-old native of Maracaibo, has enjoyed considerable success in his two years of training in the U.S, saddling 36 winners from 179 starters.
“My goal is to win races and find new clients and build a stable that can compete in the standings. Maybe it's too early, but it's a goal. I've only been training for two years,” said Delgado, who has won with 17 of 59 starters this year for a 29-percent strike rate.
Delgado captured his first career stakes with Mar Racing Stable's Hy Riverside in the $75,000 Big Red at Gulfstream June 2. The 2017 Sunshine Millions Classic winner was making his second start since being transferred to Delgado's stable.
Mar Racing Stable's Hy Kodiak Warrior is slated to make his third start for Delgado and his first start since March 22 in Saturday's $75,000 Sea of Tranquility, a mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up.
The 8-year-old son of Kodiak Kowboy has raced twice for Delgado, finishing second and third in optional claiming allowance company during the Championship Meet.
“He is training really well. I expect him to have a very good chance to win [off the layoff],” Delgado said.
Hy Kodiak Warrior is slated to face five rivals in the Sea of Tranquility, including Eye of a Jedi, who finished third behind Hy Riverside in the Big Red. He also finished ahead of Hy Kodiak Warrior while finishing second Feb. 23 before being edged by Hy Kodiak Warrior for second March 22. Vincero, So Long Chuck, Red Crescent and Just Kidding round out the field.
Delgado has loftier goals that took seed while watching a tape of the 2003 Kentucky Derby over and over again.
“When I was a young kid, I used to watch the Kentucky Derby. My goal was to win the Kentucky Derby. I watched the tape of Funny Cide winning the Kentucky Derby for like five years,” Delgado said. “When he lost to Empire Maker [in the Belmont Stakes], that was tough. But I loved that crop – Ten Most Wanted, Empire Maker, Funny Cide.”
Having settled into South Florida and Gulfstream Park, Delgado's goals have shifted a bit.
“When I was in Venezuela, I always wanted to win the Kentucky Derby, but now I feel like I'm from Florida and I want to win the Florida Derby. I'd like that more than winning the Kentucky Derby,” Delgado said. “I love Florida. There are good people, good food and warm weather. It's like home.”
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