12/06/2011 2:58PM

Rocco starts strong at Gulfstream Park meet

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Bob Coglianese
Ancient Rome (No. 7), with Joe Rocco Jr. up, wins the Spectacular Bid Stakes on opening day at Gulfstream Park.

Among the new faces in the jockey colony this year is Joe Rocco Jr., who’ll ride on a regular basis in south Florida for the first time this winter. Rocco got off to a good start by winning two races on opening day, including the Spectacular Bid for trainer Tony Dutrow aboard Ancient Rome.

“I rode in Oaklawn for the first time last winter, that’s the furthest west I’ve ever been,” said Rocco, a 13-year veteran. “But I have a few outfits down here from Delaware to ride for, and it just seemed like the right time to try and step up to the next level.”

Rocco listed Dutrow, Michael Matz, Steve Klesaris, and Michael Trombeta as his main clients here this winter.

“Tony has been a big help to me for the last five or six years,” Rocco said. “And I’m glad we were able to get off to a good start and win the stakes on Saturday.”

Rocco won 94 races this summer at Delaware Park and has registered 884 victories during his career.