04/12/2009 11:00PM

Trujillo passes a milestone


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Jockey Elvis Trujillo woke up Easter morning with 999 career victories. A few hours later, the up-and-coming young rider joined the 1,000-win club after taking Sunday's opening race at Gulfstream Park aboard Bahia Girl, owned by Stronach Stable.

The 25-year-old Trujillo, a graduate of Panama's Laffit Pincay Jr. Jockey School, came to the United States in 2001 and won with the first mount he had in this country later that year at Hollywood Park. Trujillo earned his first riding title at Calder in 2007, gaining national attention that same season when he guided Maryfield to victory in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Trujillo won 171 races despite being plagued by injuries in 2008, splitting his time between south Florida and Monmouth Park. His victory aboard Bahia Girl on Sunday was one of two on the day for Trujillo and came on the heels of a three-bagger the previous afternoon. The five wins gave Trujillo 44 for the meet, moving him into fifth place in the standings behind leading rider Jose Lezcano.

"I am very happy," Trujillo said moments after winning his 1000th race. "I had a lot of dreams when I came to this country to ride, and I'll remember this moment for the rest of my life. I am very pleased with the way my business has gone during this meet. My agent and I have worked very hard."

Trujillo is represented by Cliff Collier.

"Cliff has done a great job," said Trujillo. "He's like family to me. I'd also like to thank Mr. Stronach for giving me the opportunity to get my 1,000th win on his horse."

Trujillo will return to Monmouth after the meet here ends on April 23.

Big day for another rider

Trujillo's victory aboard Bahia Girl was the first of two milestones recorded on the Easter Sunday card. Christian Santiago Reyes posted the first win of his riding career aboard Chihulykee for trainer Wesley Ward in the afternoon's second race, capping off a memorable day for Collier, who represents both Trujillo and Reyes.

Reyes arrived in the U.S. mainland in January after a two-year stint in the jockey school in his native Puerto Rico. His brother, Victor Santiago, also registered his first career winner for Ward last winter at Gulfstream Park.

DeCarlo finishing strongly

Jockey Chris DeCarlo will also be heading back to Monmouth at the end of the meet. DeCarlo has been riding as well as anyone here over the last several weeks, capping off his recent hot streak with three winners on Saturday. Two of those victories came for trainer Todd Pletcher.

DeCarlo underwent surgery earlier this winter to remove a plate and screw placed in his shoulder and collarbone as a result of a nasty spill he took at Calder in November 2007. The surgery was the second DeCarlo has undergone as a result of that incident.

"I came back from the original injury in September and then had my second surgery in late January," said DeCarlo. "I was back riding again a lot quicker than I thought I would, in three weeks, and the timing was perfect, with Johnny [Velazquez] just about ready to leave town, giving me an opportunity to pick up some of the horses Todd ran. He's really got some nice maidens down here and has been a big help to me."

DeCarlo said he plans to ride out the remainder of the meet and perhaps the opening weekend at Calder before heading back to New Jersey. DeCarlo said John Sciametta will handle his engagements at Monmouth. Sciametta's brother Anthony serves as an assistant to Pletcher at Gulfstream and Monmouth.

Pletcher's two winners on Saturday moved him temporarily to the top of the leader board in the race for leading trainer at the meet. That lead lasted less than 24 hours. Ken McPeek, who has topped the standings throughout most of the winter and into the spring, moved back in front once again after recording a double of his own on Sunday.

* The local riding colony received an additional boost this week with the return of jockey Jeffrey Sanchez from New York. Sanchez, who began his career in south Florida, finished sixth in the standings during the Aqueduct winter session with 36 victories. Sanchez, who plans to remain in the area for the Calder meeting, will be represented locally by Mike Moran.