The winner of 19 Group 1 stakes in Europe, jockey Darryll Holland notched his first success in the U.S. Friday, scoring aboard Justa Jill in the fifth race at Gulfstream Park.
The 45-year-old veteran scored his first win on his 32nd mount in the U.S. since joining the Gulfstream jockey colony this summer. His most high-profile ride in the U.S. was aboard Luca Cumani-trained Falbrav, who finished a head behind dead-heat winners High Chaparral and Johar in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita. Holland rode Falbrav to Group 1 victories in the Coral-Eclipse, International Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
“I've had a couple of placings, going back to Falbrav finishing behind Johar and High Chaparral. You could say this is unfinished business why I'm coming here permanently now,” Holland said. “It's nice to get the first one.”
Holland, who was Great Britain's 1991 apprentice champion, most recently has ridden in South Korea, where he rode Indian King, a 74-1 long shot, to victory in the KRA Cup Mile, the first leg of South Korea's Triple Crown. The native of Manchester, Eng. rode 66 winners from 350 mounts in South Korea between February 2013 and June 2014. He went back to England for a year before returning to ride in South Korea, Singapore and Mauritius.
“I love it here. I've been welcomed really well by the jockeys, the stewards, the track. I should have come here sooner,” Holland said.
Holland rated Justa Jill ($23.40) off the pace in the 7 ½-furlong turf race before launching a wide drive in the stretch to score by a neck.
“It's taken me a few rides to get used to things. It's a different environment,” Holland said. “But you always remember what you do best. I was on the fence, taking the short way around and being patient. She save ground and energy and gave me her run when I asked her.”
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