11/09/2016 12:34PM

Parx apprentice Ocasio in contention for Eclipse Award


Five-pound apprentice Luis Ocasio, third in the Parx Racing rider standings with 65 wins, won the first race at Aqueduct last Saturday. It was the first New York victory for the 19-year-old native of Puerto Rico, and came a day after he was thrown hard to the Aqueduct turf.

Ocasio somersaulted off his mount in Friday’s eighth race there, Bullheaded Boy, who clipped heels in upper stretch. Ocasio was taken to Jamaica Hospital for X-rays, which came back negative.

Ocasio, who began riding in March, is 77 for 378 in the United States, a 20 percent win average. He also has three wins in Puerto Rico.

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Ocasio’s agent, Gersom Rodriguez, said he hopes the rider will be considered for leading apprentice in Eclipse Awards voting. Rodriguez said the plan is to give Ocasio “some exposure at Aqueduct this fall” and then to ride at the inner-track meet over the winter.

“We need to keep racking up wins at Parx right now,” Rodriguez said. “We have good business here and can’t let Lane Luzzi get away from us if we are going to have a chance at the Eclipse Award.”

Luzzi, who began his career last November at Laurel Park, is riding at Gulfstream Park West. He has 90 career wins, 81 this year. Luzzi missed six weeks this summer with a broken collarbone.