10/20/2010 3:39PM

New rider Vergara makes favorable first impression


Rodrigo Vergara won the last race at Beulah Park on Tuesday aboard longshot Mr. Raven ($98.80) for his third win of the fall/winter meet.

The first two wins for Vergara, 22, a native of Santiago, Chile, resulted from ground-saving trips and rallies along the rail. His first victory in the United States was on the second day of racing at Beulah on Oct. 13, when he guided first-time starter Russarah ($17) home for trainer Ivan Vazquez in a six-furlong sprint. His second came board Apollonious ($16.80) for trainer Albert Dodge going a mile last Saturday.

Vergara came directly to Beulah Park from Chile, per the advice of a family friend, the retired Hall of Fame jockey Jose Santos.

“I came here to learn the American style of racing,” Vergara said through interpreter and clerk of scales Izzy Gonzalez.

Vergara has wanted to be a jockey as long as he can remember and his father, Jorge, a jockey, encouraged him. His younger brother Luis is also a jockey.

Vergara attended a jockey school in Chile for two years and graduated in December 2004. He began riding in 2005.

Vergara is not sure of what the future holds, but hopes to perhaps move on to a bigger circuit.

“Hopefully things will go well and I will move to a bigger track,” he said. “I am learning more every day.”

Clerk of scales Gonzalez, a former rider himself, is confident that will happen.

“He is a good kid, he works hard every day, and obviously has a lot of talent,” Gonzalez said. “He is a real class act. I think he will go far.”