05/06/2009 12:00AM

Mojica off to solid start


Orlando Mojica has won the riding title three times at Indiana Downs and is off to a good start during the first two weeks of the current meet. Mojica won two races Tuesday, raising his total to 18 wins and putting him seven in front of Leandro Goncalves. A 27-year-old native of Puerto Rico, Mojica won the second race aboard Winnersgeteven ($12.40) for trainer Phil Simms and the fifth race on Blue Cherries Spin ($3.40) for trainer Joe Woodard.

Mojica began riding in 2000 at Garden State Park. He attended jockey school in Puerto Rico before coming to the United States.

"I grew up around horses my whole life," he said. "My dad was a jockey in Puerto Rico [Rafael Mojica Sr.], and my brother is one also [Rafael Mojica Jr.], so it was just natural. My brother brought me to Garden State, and that is where I started."

Mojica also has won three riding titles at Hoosier Park and one at Ellis Park as well as 23 stakes races along the way. He plans on staying in Indiana the rest of the summer, competing at Indiana Downs and then at Hoosier.

"I have found a great place to ride," Mojica said. "The two most important things are having good stables to ride for and a good agent, I have both."

Jimmy McNerny has been Mojica's longtime agent. Mojica plans on riding at Churchill in the fall.