08/27/2017 1:55PM

Apprentice jockey wins with first career mount


DEL MAR, Calif. - Maria Falgione’s bucket list has one less item.

The 38-year-old apprentice jockey won with her first career mount at Del Mar on Saturday when Tee Em Eye ($13.60) closed from off the pace in a $16,000 claimer for sprinters. After an awkward start, Tee Em Eye rallied five-wide on the turn to take the lead in the final furlong.

“It’s the most incredible thing that’s happened to me,” Falgione said an hour after the win.

Falgione is a full-time exercise rider for Mike Machowsky, who trains Tee Em Eye.

After the race, Falgione was mobbed by friends in the winner’s circle and on the path toward the jockey’s room, with many stopping her for photos and congratulations.

A native of South Carolina, Falgione has a lifelong background with horses, but has been an exercise rider for only three years. She worked as an actress, and at one time played the bride in “Tony and Tina’s Wedding’ at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

Falgione and Machowsky began talking about starting her riding career earlier this year. Falgione was set to have her career debut earlier this month only for her mount to be scratched. How frequently she will ride in the near future was unclear Sunday.

I’ll have to talk to Mike,” she said.