12/15/2011 4:15PM

Gulfstream Park: Coa's son set for U.S. riding debut


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Eibar Coa walked around the Gulfstream Park jockeys room just like old times Thursday, his miraculous recovery from the horrific spill here that had left him temporarily paralyzed last winter now well documented. But Coa’s visit had less to do with greeting old friends than being a proud papa, showing his 19-year-old son, Kieber, the ropes in preparation for accepting his first U.S. mount aboard Primpfedenel in Saturday’s second race.

The younger Coa recently graduated from the Lafitt Pincay Jr. Jockey School in Panama, where he also rode his first race prior to returning to the United States. Dad was on hand for both milestones and is nervously anticipating Kieber’s U.S. debut Saturday.

“I was very happy and very nervous at the same time when he rode his first race,” Eibar Coa said. “As a father, I will support his decision to be a jockey, although my accident makes me a little extra nervous at the same time. But I loved what I did and I love racing, and I’m going to be out there rooting for my son and hoping he is going to have success as a rider.”

Although Kieber Coa – who grew up locally and is a graduate of nearby Western High School in Davie – will begin his career at Gulfstream, he plans to move his tack to the West Coast for the opening of the Santa Anita meet on Dec. 26.

“I hope to pick up a few mounts here before heading to California,” the younger Coa said. “The primary reason I’m going out there is to hook up with my agent, Jose Ferrer.”

Coa’s first riding experience was galloping horses in New York for Tim Ritvo, before Ritvo traded in his trainer’s license to become president and general manager at Gulfstream.

“Even though I’ve been watching my father ride all my life, I never really became interested in riding myself until just a couple of years ago,” Kieber Coa said. “I liked to play all sports and tried out for the baseball team in high school, but was too short. They wanted bigger guys. My dad’s accident happened just a week after I arrived in Panama, and at that point, it was a big decision whether to keep going with this. But it’s something I just wanted to do, and my father has been my biggest motivation to continue.”

Eibar Coa said he plans to accompany his son to California later this month, but does not plan to stay on for the entire meet.

“I’ll keep an eye on his riding and give him some tips,” Coa said. “My son is a good listener, and he learns quick.”

Velazquez gets Saturday off

Jockey John Velazquez missed the opening two weeks of the meet while sandwiching a brief holiday with his family around a trip to ride in Tokyo last weekend. Velazquez, who wasted little time notching his first winner aboard trainer Todd Pletcher’s Broadway’s Alibi in Thursday’s fifth race, was scheduled to be in Buenos Aires on Saturday to ride Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Perfect Shirl in the Group 1 Pelligrini. But he’ll now find himself with a day off after Perfect Shirl did not make the trip.

“I originally had accepted a couple of calls here for Saturday,” Velazquez said prior to the races Thursday, adding that he dropped those mounts in order to ride a horse in Hollywood Park’s CashCall Futurity, but that horse got sick. “Then the trip with Perfect Shirl came up, and now that didn’t work out either. So right now, it looks like I’ve got Saturday off.”

Redeemed, All Due Respect work

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. was in New York on Thursday, but that didn’t stop him from sending out two of his top handicap performers, Redeemed and All Due Respect, to work over the local strip.

Redeemed, winner of the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap in his 2011 finale, went an easy five furlongs in 1:02.20, while All Due Respect breezed a very sharp five-eighths in 59.72 seconds after the second renovation break.

“I’d like to get a prep into Redeemed before the Donn,” Dutrow said by phone from New York on Thursday. “I didn’t want to run him in the Harlan’s Holiday this weekend or the mile race next month. He’s already ready, we don’t have a lot to do with him, and we’ve got plenty of time.”

Dutrow said he’ll enter All Due Respect in both the Grade 3 Marshua’s River over the turf on Jan. 7 and the Ocala Stakes on the main track the following afternoon.

“We had a really good morning in New York today, too,” Dutrow said. “I worked about 20 horses, including I Want Revenge, Associate, and Yawanna Twist. Associate will run next in the Malibu, while I Want Revenge and Yawanna Twist love the inner course, so unless something changes, both will stay here this winter.”

◗ Paco Lopez, who took off all his mounts Saturday and Sunday after suffering a shoulder injury in a spill last Friday, did not have to wait long to get back to the winner’s circle after posting a popular victory aboard Next Right Thing in Thursday’s opening event.