Apprentice Figueroa Earns First American Win At Gulfstream

Apprentice jockey Nicky Figueroa earned his first win in the United States Thursday at Gulfstream Park, guiding 16-1 long shot Arty'sbourbongirl to a front-running 3 ½-length victory in the $48,000 optional claiming allowance feature.

It was the 18th mount of the Championship Meet for the 19-year-old Figueroa, who debuted with a fourth-place finish Feb. 19. Winning time in the six-furlong sprint for females four years old and up was 1:11.28 over a fast main track.

“My agent, Walter Blum, talked to me and asked me to come and I said yes,” said Figueroa, who rides with a seven-pound weight allowance. “I came here on Feb. 9. I am so happy to get my first win here at Gulfstream Park.”

Making her fourth straight start for new connections after being claimed out of her previous three, Imaginary Stables' Arty'sbourbongirl broke sharply from the gate and set fractions of 22.74 seconds for the quarter-mile, 45.77 for the half and 58 seconds for five furlongs, having plenty left to hold off a late run from 7-5 favorite Diamond Earring. The 5-year-old mare is trained by Elizabeth Dobles.

 

“I did what the trainer told me,” Figueroa said. “She said that when you break to go to the front. I relaxed the horse and he responded very good for the win.”

Figueroa attended Puerto Rico's famed Escuela Vocacional Hipica jockey school and won eight races in his native country before coming to the U.S. He comes from the same town, Carolina, as Hall of Fame jockey and Gulfstream winter resident John Velazquez, who he said was his role model.

“I am going to ride here in the summer,” Figueroa said. “It feels so good. I am so happy.”

The post Apprentice Figueroa Earns First American Win At Gulfstream appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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