‘A Huge Blessing’: Peterson Wastes Little Time Recording Initial Laurel Win

Jockey Ferrin Peterson got off to a winning start on her first day in Maryland, booting home Spanish d’Oro to a 9-1 upset victory in Friday’s ninth race finale at Laurel Park in Laurel, Md.

Trained by Hamilton Smith and owned by his older brother, Franklin ‘Goree”’ Smith, Spanish d’Oro ($20.20) ran seven furlongs in 1:27.40 over a fast main track to capture the maiden claiming event for 3-year-olds by a length over fellow long shot Goldie’s Boy.

Peterson, 28, had two mounts on Friday’s card, also finishing seventh on Lisbeth Dodd, John Cocce, Peter Donnely and Reginald Hyde’s One More Nightcap in Race 5 for trainer Pat McBurney. Peterson broke One More Nightcap’s maiden last summer at Monmouth Park.

“I’m still in a bit of shock. I was just excited to be riding two horses today,” Peterson said. “I’m thrilled. Just coming down the stretch and feeling my horse really take hold of the bit and want to go on with it. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting and so that was a great feeling. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing. Especially to win for someone that just gave me the opportunity … Hammy hadn’t seen me ride before naming me on the horse, so that meant a lot.”

Laurel is the latest stop for Peterson, a native of California and part-time veterinarian who launched her professional riding career in 2018 at Golden Gate Fields while still in school, winning 10 of 144 starts.

Peterson had five wins from 96 mounts in 2019 and began 2020 as an apprentice, moving East and losing the bug over the summer at Monmouth Park where she finished second to perennial leading rider Paco Lopez with 42 wins. She also ranked second during the subsequent Meadowlands at Monmouth meet with eight wins and finished the year with 50 wins from 335 mounts and more than $1.6 million in purse earnings.

“I already came in feeling confident. All the trainers and agents I’ve been talking to around here have been giving me really positive reinforcement about people giving new jockeys opportunities,” Peterson said. “But, to have that happen on my opening day, that was a huge blessing and unexpected surprise. And to be able to do it on a horse with long odds, he showed something he hadn’t yet.”

Peterson was able to hustle Spanish d’Oro, making his fourth career start, into a stalking position from post 9 behind Goldie’s Boy through fractions of 24.08 and 48.15 seconds before forging a short lead at the top of the stretch and powering down the center of the track.

“He broke really well from the gate and he hadn’t before, and being on the outside I knew I was going to need to break sharp and get over,” Peterson said. “We had a lot of horses to clear and so having that kind of break allowed us to do that and get in the position I wanted so we could save as much ground as we could.”

Before Friday, Peterson hadn’t ridden since Dec. 12 at Aqueduct during a short stint in New York. She began galloping horses again Jan. 9, both at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course, and is named on R Awesum Betty Sunday and Petes Pride on Monday’s special Martin Luther King Jr. holiday program.

“Sunday I’m riding one for a trainer I won with at Monmouth, Michael Moore. The horse is shipping in from Parx. I haven’t ridden this horse before but I won for the trainer and these owners before. That was really neat to see that connections coming back,” she said. “And then on Monday I have one for [trainer] Mario Serey. I’ve met him a couple times I’ve been out to Pimlico this week. It’s great to see these new trainers who have never worked with me already giving me an opportunity.”

The post ‘A Huge Blessing’: Peterson Wastes Little Time Recording Initial Laurel Win appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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