Jockey Edgard Zayas rode the 1000th winner of his career Saturday at Gulfstream Park, guiding Highborn ($3) to victory in the sixth race.
The 24-year-old jockey was joined by his wife, Ashley, baby daughter Lilly, other family members and several fellow jockeys in a winner's circle ceremony celebrating a milestone he reached in less than five years.
“It's a really big milestone. It's something I've been working for since I started riding,” Zayas said. “I'm very happy and very proud.”
Zayas, who came right back to win No. 1001 in the seventh race aboard Sister Drama ($7.40), is anxious to get started on reaching new goals.
“I'll try to win some big races. Hopefully, now that I have a big horse in Gunnevera, maybe we can win the [Aug. 26] Travers [at Saratoga]. That would be a great achievement,” said Zayas, who rode Gunnevera for a commanding five-length victory in the $100,000 Tangelo at Gulfstream Aug. 6.
Zayas sent Highborn right to the lead in the $50,000 seven-furlong maiden race for 2-year-olds and drew off to win by 7 ½ lengths after withstanding outside pressure on the turn into the homestretch. Trained by Jose Pinchin, Highborn ran seven furlongs in 1:24.10 while providing Zayas with his 1000th career win and his 139th victory of 2017.
Zayas attended jockey school in Puerto Rico and ventured directly to South Florida to launch his career, winning his first race at Calder [Gulfstream Park West] Nov. 17, 2012 aboard Five Afternoons.
The 24-year-old jockey developed a friendship with Hall of Famer Angel Cordero, who took him under his wing and worked with him daily to develop his riding style during the 2012-2013 Championship Meet. Zayas went on to win 203 races in 2013 to become a finalist for the Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice. His promising career continued to flourish after losing his 5-pound allowance while winning 285 races in 2014. He added 166 wins during an injury-shortened 2015 campaign and accumulated 197 wins in 2016.
Zayas has won several riding titles in South Florida, where he notched his first Grade 1 victory aboard Starship Truffles in the 2013 Princess Rooney at Calder.
His 1000th career win gave Zayas his 36th trip to the winner's circle of the Summer Meet, ranking second in the standings behind Tyler Gaffalione.
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