06/28/2016 2:33PM

Flores returns to saddle on Thursday’s card

Keeneland/Coady Photography
David Flores will have his first mount since September on Thursday at Belmont Park.

Jockey David Flores, a winner of more than 3,500 races, will ride for the first time since last September in Thursday’s fifth race at Belmont Park.

Flores, 48, has won 156 graded stakes, including three Breeders' Cup races. A top rider in California for many years, Flores has won riding titles at Santa Anita, Del Mar, and Fairplex. His mounts have purse earnings in excess of $151 million.

Flores rode in the United States from 1984 to 2013 and then in Singapore in 2014 and early 2015. He rode in California last summer and then moved to Ocala, Fla., where he worked for Becky Thomas's Sequel Bloodstock to learn about developing and pinhooking young horses.

When the Ocala sales were over, he went to work for Wesley Ward at Keeneland.

"He's working for me in Kentucky, galloping and breezing horses just like a jockey would do," Ward said. "He's learning more from a standpoint of an assistant trainer, maybe not in as much detail, but he's learning about buying yearlings and pinhooking horses and things like that."

Ward has named Flores aboard Tree Top Lover, the 7-5 morning-line favorite, in a $20,000 maiden-claiming race Thursday. In the fifth race Friday at Belmont, Flores is named aboard Lamontagne for Ward in a $50,000 starter race. Lamontagne is the early 2-1 favorite.

"He's very light and the talent is still there," Ward said.

Flores, a licensed rider in California, Florida, and Kentucky, will have to obtain a New York license in order to ride Thursday.

Ward said he doesn't believe Flores is planning to launch a comeback.

"He's had several offers to resume riding, I've even tried to set him up with some of my friends who are agents," Ward said. "But I think at this chapter of his life he's just happy making a salary and riding a few races. He's shown an interest in riding some of the horses he's been breezing and galloping."

Ward has a similar arrangement with jockey Julio Garcia, who rides an occasional mount for him. Garcia, a winner of more than 1,300 races, rode Lady Aurelia to victory in her career debut at Keeneland in April. In her second career start, Lady Aurelia, with Frankie Dettori aboard, won the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for Ward at Royal Ascot on June 15.

Ward said both Flores and Garcia would go to Saratoga when that meet begins.

Ward, before outgrowing the profession, rode from 1984 to 1989. He won 749 races and was voted the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey of 1984. As a trainer, he has won 1,477 races since 1991.

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
He should have retired long ago. After the suspension in Asia the only jurisdiction that would accept him is the U.S. Having him at Saratoga is like adding one more problem to a jockey room full of them.
Mark W. More than 1 year ago
David Flores was always cerebral in his doings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David, was a great rider he clearly is in the retired mode at this point. As they say if you're
thinking about retirement you're already retired. That saying him and Julio Garcia, are live
when they are riding for Wesley!
datdudeBPM More than 1 year ago
I can't get it to play at the moment but I've previously watched the video of his being suspended in Hong Kong. Attempted link below. And that he was suspended at all was silly and certainly not for a year. You can barely find anything wrong with his ride. And, again, certainly nothing that justifies a year or the nasty comments below. 

Angel Baure More than 1 year ago
He was suspended in Singapore, not Hong Kong.
Keith Valentine More than 1 year ago
Good to better than good turf rider who was always under the radar in So. cal...However always felt bad for him when after riding her 2 her first 2 or 3 wins was "replaced" on Zenyatta...
VICTOR More than 1 year ago
Can't say anything against David, one of my all time favoritos, like Julio, Wes not giving 'em a leg up on longshots.
Good to see Flores learn another part of business, he's pushing or right at sequenta anos orita, han da le puess !
Dean More than 1 year ago
Last I heard he was suspended in Japan for stiff job...Japan Stewards and race officials take there job serious unlike USA where most are bribed and corrupt...Japan racing should be our model here in states 
Angel Baure More than 1 year ago
Not in Japan but  in Singapore; he was given a 1-year suspension for failing to “obtain the best possible placing".
Edward Dana More than 1 year ago
Good news..!!!!!

Frank More than 1 year ago
once a cheater always a cheater -- he was kicked out of Hong Kong!

And CA racing welcomes him back w/open arms.
Angel Baure More than 1 year ago
No, he wasn't kicked out of Hong Kong but it was Singapore that suspended him for a year for failing to “obtain the best possible placing”. Most jockeys do that in the US, when the horse is already out of the money.
curtis1440clark More than 1 year ago
Some people call it that and others call it.....He was actually suspended for those action. Good guy though.
holmes_sam More than 1 year ago
Suspended for a year!!! I wonder what would happen to Kent Desormeaux if he rode in Singapore!? JK.