Edited Gulfstream Staff Release – Fernando Jara is scheduled to ride in his first race in the U.S. since 2015 Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where he is named to guide Jeremiah O’Dwyer-trained Unabated for his debut in Race 8, a maiden optional claiming event on Tapeta for 2-year-olds.
Jara, who enjoyed international success aboard 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor, has been riding in Dubai for the past several years. The 36-year-old jockey, whose last U.S. graded-stakes win came aboard Fort Loudon in the 2012 Carry Back (G3) at Gulfstream, is being represented by agent Jose Santos Jr.
Jara, who has two mounts on Gulfstream’s Sunday card, will be based primarily at Tampa Bay Downs during the winter with the hope of picking up mounts on shippers from Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows, its satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
“The driving force behind that is that he’s trying to get back in and ride for some of the barns he had so much success with,” Santos said. “We know how tough Gulfstream Park is in the winter with Irad (Ortiz Jr.) and (brother) Jose and all of the riders. He hoping to find a rhythm again.”
Jara has been working horses locally for the past two weeks in preparation for his U.S. return.
“He’s been working for a lot of people who ship back and forth over there,” Santos said.
Jara began riding in Panama at age 14 before venturing to North America, where he has ridden 691 winners from 6295 mounts. He became a riding sensation in his late teens while guiding Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Invasor to six Grade 1 stakes victories in a row, including a 2007 Dubai World Cup (G1) win to close out the Shadwell Stable star’s career. Jara rode Invasor to victory in the 2007 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream prior to his Dubai World Cup triumph.
Jara also achieved Triple Crown success with a winning ride aboard McLaughlin-trained Jazil in the 2006 Belmont Stakes (G1). Jara was 18 at the time.
Racing returns to Gulfstream Friday with a 12:10 p.m. first race post.