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Valdivia to ride in New York full time beginning next week
Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. after the Belmont.
ELMONT, N.Y. – Hoping to ride the wave of his victory aboard Ruler On Ice in the Belmont Stakes, jockey Jose Valdivia plans to move his tack to New York beginning next week.
After riding at Aqueduct in the winter and early spring, Valdivia had been splitting his time the last two months between Monmouth Park and Delaware Park. At Monmouth, Valdivia had just two wins and 10 seconds from 51 mounts. At Delaware, he was winless with four mounts.
“I just figured with this kind of victory I should definitely give it a try here,” said Valdivia, who lives in Brooklyn Heights, NY. “I guess I will have to try to carry the wave over.”
Valdivia, 36, said he still plans to ride some at Monmouth, where Kelly Breen, the trainer of Ruler On Ice, is based. “I want to stay close to Kelly Breen and his owner for sure,” Valdivia said.
Valdivia was scheduled to ride four horses at Monmouth on Friday. On Saturday, he rides Bet on the Blue for trainer Allen Jerkens in the $75,000 John W. Rooney Stakes at Delaware Park during the day and Nacho Saint for Breen and owners George and Lori Hall in the $400,000 Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town at night. On Sunday, Valdivia plans to ride at Monmouth.
During Aqueduct’s 2010-11 inner track meet, Valdivia won 25 races from 151 mounts, tying him for ninth in the rider standings. Valdivia described the meet as “okay” but then upgraded it to “excellent” because it was during that meet that he first climbed aboard Ruler On Ice, finishing second aboard the gelding in a first-level allowance race in February.
Valdivia said he hopes to ride this summer at Saratoga, but will make a decision on that based on how things go at Belmont.
“I’m giving myself five to six weeks before Saratoga starts and see how things are working out and make a decision, but it doesn’t get any better than that in the summer and I definitely would love to be a part of that on an everyday basis,” he said.
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