04/15/2011 2:46PM

Aqueduct: Samyn wins in first ride back


 Jockey Jean Luc-Samyn rode his 2,612th career winner Friday at Aqueduct. It may go down as one of his most memorable victories.

 The ride on Belongs to Sheila in a $15,000 claiming race was Samyn’s first since he lost two fingers on his right hand in a snow blower accident at his home on Feb. 21. After saving gorund early, Samyn guided Belongs to Sheila widest of all in the stretch and went to his left-handed stick to get the 4-year-old colt up at the wire.

``I’m whipping left-handed, I’m thinking `Oh my God this is great, I said I hope Allen Jerkens is watching the race because all the time he tells me about hitting left-handed,' ’’ Samyn said. ``This is great, this is just fabulous, and then you’re pushing, and you’re riding … Nothing like winning, you know? That’s why I’m back.’’

 Samyn credited trainer Ramon ``Mike'' Hernandez for giving him the ride on Belongs to Sheila.

 ``All the credit goes to Mr. Hernandez for being willing to give me a chance on my first horse back,’’ Samyn said.  ``He told me this horse would have a chance and he was right. That was very, very nice because it’s hard to hustle business. They all wait to see what you can do but if they don’t give you a chance you’re not going to do nothing.’’

 Samyn, 54, said that without the index and middle finger on his right hand, he will have to become more reliant on his ring finger on that hand as well as becoming more adroit at hitting left-handed.

 ``I have to make a few adjustments but it looks like I am on way to doing it,’’ Samyn said. ``With practice, you make perfect. At least it worked out well today and it showed I still have it in me.’’