11/06/2017 11:56AM

Southern California jockey Garcia moving to Aqueduct

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Martin Garcia, here aboard American Pharoah, will begin riding at Aqueduct on Nov. 15.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Martin Garcia, the rider of Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Collected, will move his tack to New York and plans to begin riding at Aqueduct starting Nov. 15, he said Sunday.

Garcia, a winner of 1,467 career races, has struggled in California this year. At Del Mar’s summer meet, he went just 3 for 40, while at Santa Anita’s fall meet he went winless with just 16 mounts. He has won two races from five mounts at Del Mar’s fall meet – including Sunday’s fifth race with his lone mount on the card – and gave Collected a strong ride in Saturday’s $6 million Classic when finishing second to Gun Runner.

Tony Micallef will be his agent in New York.

“When you want to go to another level I think it’s best to make a little change,” Garcia, 33, said Sunday before the races at Del Mar. “Learn from other people, other jockeys. I’m going to work hard, and Tony is going to help me. I know some owners and trainers that will help me, too.”

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In California, Bob Baffert has helped Garcia a lot while Garcia has helped Baffert prepare some of his best horses for the biggest races of their career. Among the horses Garcia worked for Baffert was American Pharoah, winner of the 2015 Triple Crown.

For Baffert, Garcia won four Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2014 Classic on Bayern, and he rode Collected to three graded stakes wins this year.

“Any guy that rides in California is pretty good,” Baffert said. “Down here, he was just not getting any mounts, so he is trying to reinvent himself somewhere else.”

Garcia said he planned to talk Monday to Baffert to explain why he is leaving California and hopes he understands.

“I think he will understand,” Garcia said. “Sometimes I have to do things for myself. I’ve been working many horses for him and have been riding good horses for him and have good opportunities, but I want to ride for everybody else, too.”