Hiroki Goto, one of the leading riders in Japan, will make Monmouth Park his base of operations for the next 60 days, riding mainly for trainer Wesley Ward.
Goto, 37, arrived at Monmouth Thursday, but does not have a mount here this weekend. He is riding Ward-trained horses in three races at Woodbine on Saturday, and in two races at Arlington Park on Sunday.
Goto, who was the leading jockey by wins in Japan in 2007, has ridden more than 1,300 career winners and took this year’s running of the Japan Oaks. He will be represented by agent Bob Klesaris during his stay here.
This will be Goto’s second stint in the United States. He spent a season riding here 15 years ago, racing at Calder, Philadelphia and Delaware.
“I learned a new style of riding, a different style,” Goto said, “and I enjoyed it. I always knew I wanted to come back. I met Wesley when he came to Japan several years ago. When I wanted to reacquaint myself with American racing, Wesley gave me the chance.”
Goto, easily spotted because of the bright orange boots he favors, will ride Ward-trained horses at tracks around the country, including Monmouth, before he goes home for the major fall racing in Japan. Racing in Japan is very lucrative, with enormous purses for most races, but Goto says he’s happy to be back in the U.S.
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