News & Barn notes

Jockey Na Somsanith Wins First Race Since 2014

May 13, 2018


For jockey Na Somsanith, the long wait to return to the winner’s circle was well worth it. 

Somsanith, who essentially retired from riding and had just six mounts since 2013, captured the fourth race on Monmouth Park’s Mother’s Day card with a stirring late run aboard Up To Eleven to win his first race in nearly four years. 

“It feels good,” said a mud-caked Somsanith, whose charge rallied from far back over a track listed as “sloppy” to win by 2¼ lengths over Vow’s Son. “The excitement of winning is still there. You never lose that feeling. It’s always nice to be in the winner’s circle.” 

Somsanith, 50, last won a race on Aug, 9, 2014 on the turf at Woodbine Racetrack for trainer Brian Lynch. That was one of only two mounts he had that year. 

“It was right around then that I decided I didn’t want to ride any more,” said Somsanith. “I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. I just didn’t want to ride any more. 

“There are a lot of reasons I decided to come back. I have a lot of people depending on me. So I think it’s the best thing for me now to ride again.” 

The Laos native, whose career started in 1989, has ridden 1,268 winners from 10,388 mounts during his career. His last full season of riding was 2010. 

The opportunity to ride Up to Eleven, who went off at 4-1 in the field of nine $10,000 maiden claimers, was due in large part because he rode the horse at Gulfstream Park for Breen on April 12, 2018. That was Somsanith’s first ride back this year. His second was a third-place finish at Penn National on Saturday night, with Sunday’s victory just his eighth since 2011. 

“I appreciate Kelly Breen giving me another chance,” he said. 

Up To Eleven, a 3-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid, paid $10.60, $5.00 and $4.20 across the board, giving Breen the first of two winners on his 49th birthday. The 6-1 exacta returned $43.20. 

Breen now has four wins and two seconds from seven starters after three live cards of the 52-day Monmouth Park meeting.  

Live racing resumes at Monmouth Park on Preakness Day, Saturday, May 19, 2018. Post time is 12:50, with gates opening at 10 a.m. to accommodate the Preakness card and Justify’s attempt at the second leg of the Triple Crown.