Go East Young Man: Heriberto Figueroa Moving Tack To Monmouth Park

While there’s been a lot of talk about jockeys who say they won’t be riding at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park this summer because of the strict riding crop rules put in place by the state’s racing commission, agent John Salamone is eager to report that he will be representing 21-year-old Heriberto Figueroa, who is moving his tack from Southern California to the Jersey Shore for the meet that begins May 28.

“It’s a great opportunity to take a kid who has a bright future,” said Salamone, who will also represent Jomar Torres for the third consecutive year at Monmouth while handling Chantal Sutherland’s book at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. “He can sit on a horse and ride,” Salamone added, “and he doesn’t use the whip that much.”

New Jersey’s rule, the strictest in North America, prohibits use of the whip for anything other than safety purposes.

Salamone said he was contacted by jockey Jose Ortiz, who got to know Figueroa at Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocacional Hipica riding school, where Jose and brother Irad Ortiz Jr. graduated, along with many other top riders.

“He called me and said he wanted to move East,” Ortiz said of Figueroa. “I know the kids from the jockey school, and I think he can ride a little bit. Heriberto has a great work ethic. He’s a very nice, humble person and I know he’s going to work as hard as he can. Monmouth is a great meet for him to ride.”

Figueroa launched his career in his native Puerto Rico, then rode during the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet in 2018 before heading to California, where he made an immediate impact, teaming up frequently with leading trainer Peter Miller. He finished his first full year as an apprentice with 103 wins from 582 mounts and finished in the top three in 47% of his races.

Figueroa won stakes for Miller and trainer Richard Baltas, who sent the jockey to Ohio last year to win the $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint Stakes aboard Vertical Threat.

“He’s a great kid who always works hard and has a good attitude,” Miller said of Figueroa. “We won quite a few races together and I think he has a lot of talent.”

The post Go East Young Man: Heriberto Figueroa Moving Tack To Monmouth Park appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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