Oaklawn’s Leading Apprentice Morales Rides Eighth Winner Of Meet Friday

Edgar Morales, Oaklawn’s leading apprentice this year, rode his eighth winner at the meeting Friday, guiding Charming Deputy ($51.80) to a neck victory in the fifth race for owner/trainer John Haran.

Morales, in the 29th day of the now-scheduled 55-day season, matched the victory total of Katie Clawson, last year’s leading apprentice jockey at Oaklawn. Clawson finished second in voting for an Eclipse Award as the country’s top apprentice of 2017.

“Things are going great,” Morales’ agent, Julio Espinoza, said Saturday morning. “It’s tough over here because most trainers bring their own riders, but I know a talented apprentice can make it anywhere. He’s starting to show that now.”

A native of Puerto Rico, Morales recorded his first North American victory Oct. 15 at Keeneland for the late Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg and had eight winners overall in 2017, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.

Morales, 19, has nine victories in 2018, the first coming New Year’s Day at Fair Grounds. Oaklawn’s meeting began Jan. 12 and ends April 14.

“I’d like to win 20, really, by the end of the meet,” Espinoza said.

Espinoza said Morales is “pretty much” riding for the “same people,” notably trainers Gary Thomas and Kellyn Gorder. Morales also worked the Gorder-trained Red Ruby Monday morning in preparation for the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 10.

In addition to Haran, Thomas and Gorder, Morales has ridden two winners at the meet for trainer Doug O’Neill and one winner for Norman McKnight, Johnny Ortiz and Tom Van Berg.

Morales recorded his first career riding double Feb. 16, a day after he was transported by ambulance to CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs when he unseated shortly after the start of the fifth race. Espinoza said Morales only suffered bruising above his right hip and was cleared to ride the following day.

The agent said Morales plans to ride at Keeneland and Churchill Downs following the Oaklawn meeting.

The post Oaklawn’s Leading Apprentice Morales Rides Eighth Winner Of Meet Friday appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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