05/06/2014 12:48PM

Apprentice Salcedo gets his first victory


It took a while, which made Sunday’s front-running victory aboard My Game all the sweeter for apprentice Cesar Salcedo.

The one-length victory in a $5,000 maiden claimer for trainer Gloria Buckridge was the first win for the 22-year-old Salcedo, a native of Anaheim, Calif. It came in his 87th career start and his 13th at Golden Gate.

Salcedo began his career breaking yearlings at a farm in Victorville, Calif., after his friend Eswan Flores became a jockey. He worked at the farm for a year and then as an exercise rider for a year. He began riding at Turf Paradise last December.

He was 0 for 74 there but did finish second 10 times and third five times. Salcedo did not ride many favorites – 50 of his mounts went off at 25-1 or higher.

“Riding longshots, you don’t have pressure,” Salcedo said. “I rode for experience. I didn’t worry about stats. I learned a lot.”

On Sunday, My Game quickly opened a daylight lead in the five-furlong race and was not seriously challenged in the lane. He paid $3 as the favorite.

“I knew right away he was favored, but I just rode him with confidence,” Salcedo said. “I knew the horse was ready and had a lot in him. I didn’t want to celebrate until I got there. As soon as I crossed the wire, I experienced a feeling like no other. I was never so happy in my life.”

After the race, Salcedo underwent the racetrack ritual for a jockey’s first win – being splashed by other riders with talcum, shaving cream, and buckets of water.

“They got me good, but it’s part of the tradition,” Salcedo said.

Salcedo came here in April at the urging of his agent, Don August. He gets a 10-pound weight allowance and can ride at 112 pounds.

My Game was his lone mount Sunday, but he’ll try to start a win streak Thursday with mounts on Go on Red in the first race and Coco de Carchy in the fourth.