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Apprentice Martin Chuan Eyes Saratoga

New York may soon be home to a young apprentice rider hailing from Peru as 16-year-old Martin Chuan prepares to emigrate to the United States. Agent Roger Sutton expects to take Chuan’s book when he arrives in this country, which Sutton hopes will be ahead of opening day at Saratoga Race Course on July 20, though no firm arrangements have been made.


Chuan graduated from La Escuela de Jinetes Jorge Bernardini Yori and rode his first race on January 24, 2012 at Hipódromo de Monterrico in the Santiago de Surco district of Lima, Peru. The rider finished second aboard Taj Mahal, but also caught the eye of some U.S. based riders who were in town that day for the Robalca International Jockeys Championship. Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado, born in Lima and the leading jockey in Peru before coming to Florida in 1986, was impressed with Chuan.


“The day that he first rode, we had the jockey championship in Peru,” said Prado. “It was me, Alex Solis, Alan Garcia, Rafael Bejarano, Jesus Castanon, Javier Castellano, some others. And, we saw the race where the kid started riding. He finished second, but he rode a really good race. Everybody agreed that the way he looked, and the way he rode the horse, he was going to develop into a good rider. I thought that he rode a smart race and finished really strong for being his first time riding in a public race.”


Since that day, through June 18, Chuan has ridden 43 winners, good for sixth in the jockey standings according to statistics provided on the Hipódromo de Monterrico website. Sutton, who recognizes the difficulty of starting an apprentice at a meet like Saratoga, is anxious for Chuan to arrive.


“I’m ready to go to work whenever he shows up,” Sutton said. “I’ve watched some of the races he won in Peru and he looked like he could be the real McCoy. I don’t know when he’ll get here, but if he came before the end of Belmont, that would be like Christmas. Going into Saratoga is a lion’s den. But up there, at least with those pots, if a jockey wins one race a week, they’re going to cover their expenses.”


Sutton said he was especially impressed with the way Chuan looks on a horse.


“He sits a horse very good,” Sutton said. “I’ve been doing this awhile, and not that I’m an expert, but when he hits the horse, he’s not off balance and falling off. He always has his horse, always has the reins gathered up. Unlike a lot apprentices, he doesn’t overuse the whip. That’s a big plus, too.”




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