Apprentice rider David
Lopez, son of Monmouth Park veteran rider Chuck C. Lopez, celebrated the first
win of his career Friday afternoon at Monmouth Park by guiding 55-1 longshot I
Did It His Way to victory in the day’s fourth race.
“It’s everything I thought
it would be and more,” the 21-year-old David Lopez said. “I’ve been waiting for this since I was a
little kid – watching my dad and learning from him. You never know, but I always hoped it would
happen this quickly.”
Despite heavy fog hampering
the effectiveness of on-track video cameras and the vision of track announcer
Larry Collmus, Lopez appeared to have his mount on the lead throughout the
one-mile $10,000 maiden claiming event.
At the wire, Lopez and the
4-year-old son of Mongoose finished two lengths ahead of runner-up Gambaru.
Following the winner’s
circle presentation, Lopez was greeted with buckets of ice water from his
fellow fourth-race riders before being doused with shaving cream, eggs and even
more water back at the jock’s room.
That, of course, was
followed by a hug from dad.
“I couldn’t be prouder of
him,” Chuck C. Lopez said. “He’s paid
his dues and waited a long time for this.
I’m just so proud.”
Friday’s fourth race was
just the third start of David Lopez’s career who is the latest member of the
Lopez family – joining grandfather Carlos Lopez Sr., uncle Carlos Lopez Jr.,
father Chuck C. Lopez, and brother Erick Lopez – to reach the winner’s circle
at Monmouth Park.