Jockey Cristian Torres On A Hot Streak At Oaklawn

Jockey Cristian Torres picked up where he left off last spring at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Ark., recording winners on the first two programs of the 2021-2022 meeting that began Friday.

Saturday’s victory came in the fourth race, a $101,000 allowance event at 1 1/16 miles, aboard Taishan ($5.40) for Southern California-based trainer Richard Baltas.

Despite missing the first six days of the 2021 meeting after moving his tack from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., Torres finished seventh in the standings with 22 victories in his Oaklawn debut. Torres, 24, recorded his first career Oaklawn stakes victory on the penultimate day of the meeting in the $200,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship aboard Tempt Fate for Hot Springs owner Jerry Caroom.

“It was awesome,” Torres said. “Like everything, the beginning was a little slow and then I met people. Hopefully, this year will go better. We were here early and starting the meet from the beginning. Expecting a good meet.”

Dating to April 29, Torres, through Saturday, had ridden a winner five consecutive racing days at Oaklawn. He won the first race of the 2021-2022 meeting aboard Take Charge Erica ($9.40) for trainer Aaron Shorter.

A native of Puerto Rico, Torres was attending the country’s Escuela Vocacional Hipica Agustin Mercado Reveron when Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September 2017, roughly two months before he said he was to graduate from the famed jockey school.

Torres moved to Florida and eventually New York, where he began exercising horses for future Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse in 2018. Among the horses Torres said he got on for Casse were multiple Grade 1 winner Got Stormy, millionaire Awesome Slew, and 2019 Preakness champion War of Will.

Torres began his riding career in April 2019 at Gulfstream Park and won 122 races that year to finish 76th nationally. He won 120 races the following year to finish 43rd. Torres was fourth in voting for an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion apprentice jockey of 2019 and finished fifth for 2020.

After Oaklawn’s 2021 meeting ended May 1, Torres returned to Gulfstream Park and rode 44 winners. He returned to Hot Springs late last month and said he plans to ride at Oaklawn until the meeting ends May 8.

“Last year, I did pretty good, and when I went back to Gulfstream, I had it in my mind to come back here,” Torres said. “I like it here. I like this track. I like the people.”

Torres is represented by Ruben Munoz, longtime agent for perennial Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr.

“He knows everybody,” Torres said of Munoz. “He knows how to do it.”

The post Jockey Cristian Torres On A Hot Streak At Oaklawn appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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