Zayas has been out for 6 months . . .
HALLANDALE BEACH - Edgard Zayas had spent quality time with his family during his six months on the sidelines, and wife Ashley and daughters Lilah (18 months) and Lillian (5) were the first to greet the 28-year-old jockey following his first race back at Gulfstream Park this afternoon.
Following surgery on his left shoulder and a lengthy rehabilitation period, Zayas had three mounts on the program, including Flag Woman, who set the pace before fading to fifth in Race 3.
“It feels good, getting back after six months,” Zayas said. “The shoulder felt great, no problem at all. I was hoping for better results but I’m happy to be back.”
Zayas also rode Don’t Get Khozy, who finished fifth in Race 7, and Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Li Li Bear, who checked in eighth in Race 8.
Zayas has ridden 1930 winners since venturing to South Florida to launch his career in late 2012, benefitting from early mentoring from Hall of Famers Angel Cordero and Edgar Prado. He was an Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding apprentice jockey in 2013 after riding more than 200 winners and notching a Grade 1 victory aboard Starship Truffles in the Princess Rooney at Calder. Zayas, who has gone on to ride more than 200 winners in six of nine complete years of his career, while winning numerous riding titles at Gulfstream and Gulfstream Park West.
Perez Rides Five Winners
Edgar Perez continued a very solid Royal Palm Meet today, riding five winners on the 10-race program. Perez rode three straight winners – Alternate Rock ($9) in Race 3, Great Uncle ($5.40) in Race 4 and Laniakea Storm ($6.40) in Race 5 – before scoring back-to-back aboard Dignified ($41.60) in Race 8 and Sequin Lady ($6) in Race 9.
“It’s been a great day, unbelievable,” Perez said.
The Venezuela native, who had been a fixture on the Chicago circuit for years after riding his first U.S. race in South Florida in 2009, switched his tack to Gulfstream this spring and summer due to the closure of Arlington Park.
“I’m thankful for the opportunities. My agent [Rene Douglas] told me I will do good here,” Perez said. “I like it here. I like the Tapeta, everything.” Three of Perez’s victories were on the all-weather surface.
In Race 7, a seven-furlong starter allowance for fillies, jockey Franklin Gonzalez Jr. notched his first U.S. victory aboard Awesome Annmarie ($19.20). The Venezuela native had been winless in 32 races since making his U.S. debut April 28 at Gulfstream.
Saturday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed
The Rainbow 6 gross jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $200,000 Saturday. The multi-race wager has gone unsolved for five racing days following a June 11 mandatory payout.
The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 7-12, including the $75,000 Powder Break, a mile-and-70-yard stakes for fillies and mares on Tapeta, in Race 10. David Fawkes-trained Grand Ave Girl, who captured the Monroe Stakes on turf last time out, is rated at 7-5 in morning line.