Apprentice jockey Valentin scores first win at Aqueduct

Apprentice jockey Valentin scores first win at Aqueduct

 

Keen On Green led every step of the eighth and final race at Aqueduct Racetrack on Monday afternoon to carry 21-year-old apprentice jockey Francisco Valentin to his first-ever victory.

Valentin, a native of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, came to the United States nine months ago with the dream of becoming a jockey. It was trainer Gary Contessa, for whom Valentin gallops horses in the mornings, who named the young rider aboard Keen On Green, who went off as the 6-5 favorite in the one-mile maiden race and won by five lengths.

"I'm so happy," said Valentin, who has had 15 mounts since January, including three second-place finishes.  "This is a very emotional moment for me. It's like a dream coming true."

Keen On Green, a 3-year-old daughter of Bustin Stones, completed the mile in 1:44.44.

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