HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Apprentice jockey Hugo Sanchez is making a strong impact during the fledgling summer meeting at Gulfstream Park, where he assumed the top spot in the rider’s standings Sunday by riding the first four winners on the eight-race program.
Sanchez started the day by sweeping both ends of the early daily double aboard Morality ($3.60) in the first and Wise Devil ($4.80) in the second. He scored aboard First Won ($2.40) in the third before guiding fourth-choice Promised Mandate into the winner’s circle.
“I’m excited. The horses I was named on, they took me there. I just needed to find the right spot to ask them. They’re nice horses,” said Sanchez, who, after sitting out the fifth race, finished third aboard Miner’s Tune in the sixth.
Sanchez grew up in Peru, where his father and uncle were jockeys, before moving to South Florida 10 years ago. The 21-year-old jockey graduated from Miramar High School before deciding to follow his boyhood passion for riding that was fueled by the success of Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, also a native of Peru.
“When I was little, I liked it. But growing up, I focused on school and wasn’t much into horses,” Sanchez said. “When I was 18, I started galloping horse and exercising them.”
Sanchez ‘s big day boosted his meet-leading total to seven victories, two more than Jilver Chamafi, who rode El Romano to victory in Sunday’s featured seventh race, a $35,000 optional claiming allowance.
Chamafi, who rode three winners on Saturday’s card, settled El Romano outside of horses in mid-pack before sweeping to the lead on the turf into the homestretch. No Lift Shift made a strong bid in mid-stretch, but the Antonio Sano-trained colt fought back under strong handling by Chamafi to win the 1 1/16-mile turf race by a neck.
The 8-5 favorite was timed in 1:41.14. No Lift Shift, ridden by Juan Leyva, finished 2 ¾ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Saturday Special.