12/09/2016 2:56PM

Apprentice Martinez gets first victory


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Joey Martinez earned his first career victory in Thursday’s eighth race at Aqueduct when he guided Playthatfunnymusic ($40) to a neck win over Ornato. The win came in Martinez’s sixth career mount.

Martinez, 23, has been galloping horses since he was 18 for trainers such as George Weaver, Mark Hennig, Tom Albertrani, Kiaran McLaughlin, Jimmy Toner, Robert Barbara, and John Kimmel.

Martinez comes from a family of riders, including his grandfather, Jose Martinez Sr., and his father, Jose Martinez Jr. His cousins include jockeys David Lopez, Erick Lopez, and C.C. Lopez. His uncle is Willie Martinez.

“I have a family of race riders, it’s only right I do it,” Martinez said.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Joey Martinez said he learned riding on the racetrack and did not attend a riding school. He said he learned the basics galloping at Tampa Bay Downs before returning to New York.

“This is all I ever wanted to do since I was a little kid,” said Martinez, who is represented by agent Sal Russo. “To have my first win at Aqueduct, where my grandfather started, my dad started, and now I started, it means a lot. It’s like a dream come true.”