‘Where Everything Started’: Rodriguez Saddles 1,000th Winner Friday At Aqueduct

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez saddled the 1,000th winner of his career on Friday, March 30 at Aqueduct Racetrack, sending out Woundwithhereyes to lead a Rodriguez-trained exacta as the 8-5 favorite in Race 9.

Woundwithhereyes, a 4-year-old Include filly owned by Michael Dubb, the Elkstone Group, Head of Plains Partners, and Bethlehem Stables, rallied from last early and made a five-wide bid through the turn to prevail by 2 ½ lengths over stablemate Anna Rae.

“I’m very happy and for all the people who work for us – my brother, my sons, my assistants – they do such a good job,” said Rodriguez. “I’m just glad that we got it done. Since I’ve come to this country, everything is just a blessing. I feel blessed for sure. It was tough when I came, but I don’t look back, I keep looking forward. I just thank everyone who has supported me. My wife and my three beautiful children, we’re just very blessed to be here.

“To be at Aqueduct; this is where I started galloping horses,” he added. “This is where everything started for me. This is my home.”

Rodriguez had seemingly secured his milestone win two races earlier, when one of his trainees, the heavily favored Son of Mine, crossed the wire a head in front of Professor Snape in Race 7, a 6 ½-furlong starter allowance, but a jockey’s objection and steward’s inquiry led to Son of Mine’s disqualification from first to second.

Since taking out his trainer’s license in 2010, the former jockey has amassed more than $46 million in career earnings from 4,907 starts following Friday’s win. His major victories include back-to-back Grade 1 Carter Handicap wins with Dads Caps in 2014-15 and two editions of the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga Race Course with Condo Commando in 2014 and Lady Ivanka in 2017.

Rodriguez also trained Dubb and Bethlehem Stable’s Belle Gallantey to Grade 1 wins in the Delaware Handicap and Beldame in 2014, and Pick Six Racing’s millionaire Vyjack, who swept the 2013 Grade 3 Jerome and Gotham during his sophomore campaign and went on to post a 9-1 upset of the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap the following year.

“I knew Rudy from when he was an assistant trainer and jockey,” said longtime owner and New York Racing Association board member Dubb. “Having been an assistant trainer and former jockey has made him a great trainer. The fact that he still gets on his horses and exercises daily, and the fact that he’s probably the hardest working guy on the backstretch; including being polite, humble and a family man is a recipe for his all-around success.

“Whether you claim a horse, purchase privately, or at auction, Rudy is the kind of guy who puts in the same level of effort for all his horses,” he continued. “He leaves no stone untuned. I was there for one of his first wins, and I’m proud to be here for his 1,000th win as well.”

Rodriguez, who will turn 46 on May 1, is a native of Guanajuato, Mexico and emigrated to Florida in his youth, landing a job as a hotwalker at Gulfstream Park, where his brother, Jesus, was based as a jockey. The younger Rodriguez eventually followed in his brother’s footsteps and rode professionally from 1992-2010, winning 221 races from 3,901 mounts. As a jockey, Rodriguez most notably piloted Frost Giant to a 40-1 upset in the 2008 Grade 1 Suburban Handicap.

He switched to training full time two years later and saddled his first winner, Aegean Breeze on March 31, 2010 at the Big A. He earned his first graded stakes win that fall with Endless Circle in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap. Dads Caps in the 2014 Carter gave Rodriguez his first Grade 1 training victory.

Named Trainer of the Year by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders in 2016, Rodriguez has won leading trainer honors at 10 individual NYRA meets, including the last three Aqueduct fall meet titles, as well as three titles for the Aqueduct inner-track meet and two for the Belmont fall meet. He currently stands atop the Aqueduct Winter training standings with 35 wins, two more than Linda Rice in second. The winter meet closes on Saturday, March 31.

The post ‘Where Everything Started’: Rodriguez Saddles 1,000th Winner Friday At Aqueduct appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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