With six stakes races remaining in
the 2012 Monmouth
Park schedule, Paco Lopez
is the leading stakes-winning rider with 10 victories, and three of them came
in Grade 3 races. Morever, Lopez’s double-digit stakes wins were on horses
saddled by eight different trainers.
“We’re very happy with the meet,
that’s for sure,” said Lopez, who has worked with jockey agent Corey Moran
since coming to the United States
from his native Mexico
just five years ago when he was 21. “Business is good.”
Lopez, who rode quarter horses at
Mexican bush tracks, started his Thoroughbred career like a house afire. He won
the Eclipse Award as the Outstanding Apprentice rider in 2008, but unlike so
many other young riders, his business did not tail off when he lost the bug.
He was the leading rider at
Monmouth’s Elite Summer Meet in 2010, and has also captured top honors at The
Meadowlands and Gulfstream
Park. He is currently
ranked second in the Monmouth standings behind defending leading rider Elvis
Trujillo, and on August 17 he reached the 1,000 win milestone even though he’s
only been in irons for a relatively short time.
Trainers across the country have
taken notice. For the first time this season he rode at Del Mar and had a mount in the $1 million
Pacific Classic and later won a race on the card that day for John Sadler. At
Monmouth, he has ridden stakes winners for Todd Pletcher, Eddie Plesa, Jr.
(two), Bruce Alexander (two), Bret Calhoun, Chad Brown, Kelly John Breen,
George Weaver, and Tim
After the Monmouth meet ends on
October 7, Lopez and Moran will head to Kentucky
to try the fall meets at Keeneland Race Course and Churchill Downs for the
The venture comes after a false
start last year. Moran explained that the two of them had planned to test the
Keeneland spring meet, but Lopez was sidelined by a broken collar bone suffered
in a spill at Gulfstream
Now with more graded stakes wins on
his resume, business is brisk.
“We’re going to try something new,”
said Lopez. “It’s always exciting when it’s the first time. I hope to do really
good and maybe we can get lucky.”
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