01/08/2014 12:42PM

2013 Eclipse Awards: Edgard Zayas

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photo by: Coglianese Photos

It did not take long for apprentice Edgard Zayas to find success at racing’s most elite level of competition. Less than a year into his riding career, he won a Grade 1 event when Starship Truffles upset the $350,000 Princess Rooney in July. The win ranked as the most prestigious of the 183 victories Zayas compiled as an apprentice during 2013. Overall, he was the year’s second-leading apprentice by wins, and as such is a finalist for an Eclipse Award. Zayas, 20, put in a picture-perfect ride on Starship Truffles. The pair rallied from off the pace for a 3 3/4-length win in the Princess Rooney, which anchors the annual Summit of Speed program at Calder Race Course. Starship Truffles paid $18.60.

“I laid in third like planned,” Zayas said after the race. “I was very confident in my horse.”

Zayas is a native of Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. His first exposure to racing came from family members.

“Every week, I’d go with my grandfather and father to the track,” Zayas said. “I loved watching the horses and jockeys. Every kid who went to that track wanted to be a jockey. When I was 11, my dad bought some horses, so I became a little bit more involved.”

Zayas attended a jockey school in Puerto Rico upon graduating from high school. He launched his career in south Florida in October 2012 and by the end of August had won a Grade 1 as well as the summer title at Calder. Zayas in 2013 had 946 mounts as an apprentice, and they earned $3,512,381. His first day as a journeyman came Dec. 13.