09/10/2008 12:00AM

De Leon gets off to a good start


It has been a whirlwind few weeks for jockey Azael De Leon.

It began when De Leon, 22, won the $100,000 Bassinet at River Downs on Aug. 30 aboard the 2-year-old filly Afternoon Stroll.

On Labor Day at Hoosier Park, De Leon won three races in one day for the first time in his career.

Going into Wednesday's card, De Leon had won with 9 of 40 mounts, which placed him fourth in the rider standings, only two behind the leader, Orlando Mojica.

In 2005, De Leon came to the United States from his native Panama, where he attended jockey school.

"I started out at Calder and then Tampa. I decided to come to Ohio and it has worked out well for me," said De Leon.

He also began riding in Indiana last year.

"I really like it here and things are beginning to come together," De Leon said.

He is represented in Indiana by Brinda Robbins, a former jockey.

"He is riding for some good outfits; we hope to have a good meet," said Robbins.

Among the top Hoosier trainers who have used De Leon are Gary Patrick, Joe Davis, and Kim Hammond.

Not only has De leon's riding career taken off, he and his wife, Regina, are expecting their first child in February.