Edited Gulfstream Staff Release — It is hardly a revelation that Edgard Zayas is a highly skilled jockey, but the 30-year-old journeyman has been taking it to another level at Gulfstream Park and beyond this fall.
Zayas has won at least one race in his first 10 days of riding during the Sunshine Meet that began Sept. 1 while enjoying seven multi-win programs. The popular South Florida-based rider, who has been winning races at a 33-percent strike rate at Gulfstream, has also taken a few days off to ride at Kentucky Downs and Presque Isle Downs with continued success.
“I’m feeling good. I’m getting on nice horses and getting good opportunities. So far, we’ve started off this meet really good and we’ve been going out of town and winning too,” said Zayas, who rode three winners on Sunday’s program.
Saffie Joseph Jr., who has collected the last seven training titles at Gulfstream Park while making his presence felt in major stakes elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada on a frequent basis, has greatly contributed to Zayas’s heightened success. In addition to riding first call for Joseph at Gulfstream, Zayas has gone on the road to guide the Joseph-trained Accomplished Girl for a victory in the $300,000 Presque Isle Masters (G2) last week, as well as scoring aboard Saratoga Flash for the leading trainer in the $500,000 National Thoroughbred League Handicap Sept. 3 at Kentucky Downs.
Zayas and up-and-coming trainer Jose D’Angelo have been teaming for victories at a nearly 40-percent strike rate, as well.
“I’m really blessed to have the opportunities I’m getting from Saffie and Jose D’Angelo and all the other trainers, especially Saffie,” Zayas said. “Hopefully, we can keep it rolling. It’s been great.”
Zayas is hoping to continue to build momentum into the Gulfstream’s Championship Meet that gets under way Dec. 1.
“Hopefully, we’ll keep the horses and keep it rolling. That’s really important going into the Championship Meet. I feel this meet is more important than the summer because it carries on into the Championship Meet,” said Zayas, who finished fifth during last year’s prestigious winter meet. “Hopefully, we can pick up some horses and get off to a good start in the Championship Meet. From there, if people see you’re winning they’ll start riding you.”
Zayas ventured to South Florida directly in Fall 2012 directly from attending Puerto Rico’s jockey school and went on to record more than 200 victories the following year, including a Grade 1 score aboard Starship Truffles in the Princess Rooney at Calder Race Course. He’s won 200 races or more in a year four more times while securing several riding titles at both Gulfstream and Calder [Gulfstream Park West].