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Monday, April 13, 2009


Santiago-Reyes Post 1st Career Win


Christian Santiago-Reyes posted his first career victory aboard Chihulykee in Sunday’s second race at Gulfstream Park.

Santiago-Reyes chased the pace before moving over to take the lead at the quarter pole. He fully extended the 5-year-old chestnut and moved to the inside to score over Dynaquake.

Chihulykee paid $4 to win. Santiago-Reyes’ victory came in his second career mount.


“It felt real good. This is obviously a tremendous accomplishment,” said 19-year-old Santiago-Reyes before being submitted to the customary dousing ritual by fellow riders. “Coming up on the half-mile point I thought to myself we could get to the finish (line) in good shape.”

“I’m like a kid right now: I feel happy but at the same time a little sad because my family is in Puerto Rico.”

Santiago-Reyes arrived Stateside in January after a two-year stint in Jockey School in his native Puerto Rico. Since his arrival, Santiago-Reyes has been working with instructor, and former jockey, Jose Corales.

He has been exercising horses since January.

“Jose has helped me to control horses a lot better,” said Santiago-Reyes. “I owe him a lot as well because be brought me to this country.

“He’s really picked it up changing hands (with the whip) and getting in good position,” said Corales, an assistant to trainer Wesley Ward. “Christian is a very good listener, a complete natural. You can just tell he has an outstanding feel for what he’s doing.”

Santiago-Reyes’ brother Victor Santiago, also a rider, also had his first career winner, aboard Austin Laviva, last year at Gulfstream.


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