INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 4, 2011)—Apprentice jockey Eswan Flores earned his first victory aboard a thoroughbred when guiding Kelly Leak to a one length score in the fourth race Monday at Hollywood Park.
A winner of 21 quarter horse races at Los Alamitos, Flores, 18, had ridden in only three thoroughbred events – finishing second with Aeromon in his debut in the final race July 1 – before helping Kelly Leak, the longest shot in the field at nearly 16-1, win for the first time over the Hollywood Park turf course.
A 5-year-old gelding owned by a partnership and trained by Mike Machowsky, Kelly Leak, who paid $33.60, was making his 10th career start on grass Monday. This is 10 more times than Flores had ridden a horse on turf in either the morning or afternoon.
A native of Mexico who made his first visit to a race track at the age of 8, Flores rallied between horses in the stretch to win in 1:09.39 for the six furlongs. The win in the $32,000 claimer was the fifth in 22 starts for Kelly Leak.
“The trainer told me to do whatever I want,’’ said Flores, who was given a shaving cream facial and doused with water and other assorted items by numerous jockeys after the milestone win. “I hit him a couple of times after the wire because I didn’t know where the wire was. I was just so excited.
“My whole family was here today. My mom, my cousins and some of my friends, all of the people that have been helping me along. I’ve got my report now for school.’’
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