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Breeders' Cup 2017

Felix Approaching Milestone

Arlington Park.

Jockey Julio Felix figures that he is approaching the 2,500-win milestone in his two-decade career, but is riding at Arlington for the first time this summer and remained somewhat under the local radar until Saturday’s fifth race.

 

That was when he rode Tower Farm’s Leading Indicator to a length and three-quarters victory for trainer Doug Matthews to light up the tote board with a $101.40 win price – highest so far of the 2010 meeting at Chicago’s northwest suburban oval.


“I’ve always been known as the ‘longshot kid’ at the other places I’ve ridden,” said Felix Sunday morning.  “Maybe the people here in Chicago will start calling me that, now.”

 

Felix, 40, was born in The Bronx, New York, while his father, in the military, was in Vietnam, but Felix was raised in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, where his family was from.

 

“I started my career in the Virgin Islands, but moved to Miami to ride at Calder while I still had the bug,” said Felix.  “I did well there, but there were a lot of other good bug riders like Willie Martinez down there at the time, so I took my tack to Cleveland while I still had the advantage of the apprentice allowance.  I did well at Thistledown – I rode 200 winners my first year there, was leading jockey six times and jockey of the year four times at Thistledown – but I probably became too comfortable in Cleveland, because it took me too long to try Kentucky.

 

“When I finally did, I did quite well at Turfway Park,” Felix said.  “I probably should have stayed in Kentucky and gone on to Churchill, but instead I ended up in Indiana last summer – where I also did well – but I still wanted to try a bigger circuit.

 

“I made the decision to come to Chicago last winter, and when I first arrived at Hawthorne I did well there,” said Felix.  “Now, I’m holding my own here at Arlington, considering it’s my first time on this circuit, but I’ve quickly come to love it here in Chicago and next month I’m moving my family up here from Northern Kentucky.

 

“My wife’s name is Greta, and we have two children: an 11-year-old daughter named Aliah and a six-year-old son named Julius,” concluded Felix.  “I asked him the other day if he wanted to be a jockey when he grew up but he said, ‘No, Dad, I want to be a race car driver and drive fast cars around the track all day.’”


 

 

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