Updated on 09/18/2011 12:46AM

Jockey wins on first mount

Vassar Photography
Jockey Melissa Stortz wins her first career start aboard Blue Max at Golden Gate Fields on Sunday.

ALBANY, Calif. - Melissa Stortz, 27, rode Blue Max to a seven-length victory in Sunday's third race at Golden Gate Fields in her first career start.

Stortz, an exercise rider for seven years, was originally scheduled to ride Behold Amadeus in the race, but stewards ruled against having a first-time rider aboard a first-time starter.

She broke sharply, sat behind Rooster down the backstretch, gained the lead on the turn and pulled away down the stretch in the five-furlong $8,000 maiden claimer.

"Mark (Hannah, the trainer) said to try to break decent," Stortz said. "He got out of there pretty quick. I let the horse run his race. I was just along for the ride."

Stortz's sister, Marcia, who was in attendance at the race, is a retired jockey who won her first race at Golden Gate Fields in 2003.