02/20/2008 12:00AM

Sam Houston: Apprentice a standout

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The career of apprentice jockey Junior Chacaltana is heating up. He cracked the top 10 in the Sam Houston Race Park rider standings last week, after recording a double on Sunday and a triple on Feb. 9. The 22-year-old native of Lima, Peru, launched his riding career last July, with the support of trainer Brent Davidson. Other high-percentage horsemen he is riding for this meet include Danny Pish and Randy Mayfield.

Chacaltana said he came to Florida several years ago, when his father, a longtime trainer in Peru, was offered a private training position in Ocala. His family eventually made its way to Texas, and Chacaltana began race riding at Lone Star Park. A life in racing seemed like a given for him.

"All my family is in the horse business," he said.

Chacaltana will be in action Friday night at Sam Houston, and among his mounts is Controversy, a leading contender in the ninth race for Pish.