12/09/2008 12:00AM

Stakes triple puts Tejera on top

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Jockey Eguard Tejera has moved to the top of the Retama Park standings after winning three stakes on the Texas Champions Day card last Saturday. He upset three favorites, with his most dominant score coming aboard the 2-year-old Valid Stripes, who earned a Beyer Figure of 100 for his 11-length romp in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes.

"He impressed me a lot," said Tejera, who rode Valid Stripes for trainer Amos Laborde. "He finished really strong. He never stopped."

Tejera also won the $50,000 Star of Texas with Seneca Summer and the $50,000 Richard King aboard Rapid Squall. It was the first stakes win for Rapid Squall after close finishes in the Chick Lang Jr. Memorial and the Texas Hall of Fame Stakes.

"I love this horse," said Tejera. "Last time, he had a really bad trip. There were a lot of horses in the race. I never had the chance to get out. The other day, I had the chance to get out, and he won easy."

Tejera, 30, is a native of Uruguay. He came to North America in 2000, and while he had ridden races in his homeland and in Brazil, he worked primarily as an exercise rider and assistant trainer when he first arrived here, based on the East Coast. A few years ago a friend encouraged him to join the jockey colony in Texas, and he has won the past two titles at Retama.

"When I was a little boy, my dream was to become a jockey and to come ride here in the U.S." he said. "It's been good."

Tejera's other significant stakes wins the last two years include the $100,000 La Senorita at Retama in 2007 with Hartfelt, and the $50,000 Lone Star Park Turf Sprint this past summer with popular course-record-holder Joe Move.