Marcelino Pedroza’s hope still is to ride seven days a week this summer: Mondays-Thursdays at Indiana Grand in Shelbyvlle, Ind., where he has a 12-victory lead in the jockey standings with 42 victories and a meet-leading $1.12 million in purse earnings, and then Fridays-Sundays at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. While he’s found the Ellis opportunities limited so far, the jockey is making the most of them.
With only five mounts spread over four days, Pedroza has two wins and a second. His victories contain Saturday’s fourth race for locally-based trainer Billy Stinson Jr. in Pedroza’s only mount of the afternoon. Stinson also trains Ziggy’s Storm, who won with Pedroza on July 3 at 11-1 odds.
“It’s been pretty good,” Pedroza said. “I haven’t had the opportunities I’m waiting for. But at the same time, I understand that the other guys are working (horses in the mornings) here every week, and I don’t work any horses. But I’m glad Billy gave me the opportunity on both of us horses, and we’re 2 for 2. Thanks to him and thanks to everybody who have given me the opportunity. Hopefully, I’ll get more opportunities.”
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Stinson said he rode Pedroza when he first came to Kentucky and now uses him when racing at Indiana Grand.
“He’s a really good kid, and he tries hard – and he’s a good rider,” Stinson said.
Pedroza lives in Louisville, two hours from Indiana Grand. What makes riding at Ellis possible is that with school out, his family — wife Rocio, daughter Rosie and son Jeremy — can come with him to Henderson.
“When they’re in school, it’s a little bit tougher because I want to spend time with them,” he said. “I ride only one (Sunday), but they came with me and we’ll spend the night here.”
Pedroza got to Ellis Park very early Saturday to work Bango, upon whom he won Churchill Downs’ Aristides Stakes for trainer Greg Foley. But torrential rain and thunderstorm forced the track to be shut for training.
“Even all seven days, I don’t care. I like to be on a horse,” Pedroza said. “Just like this morning. I came to work horses, and they canceled the works. I told Greg, ‘I want to get on a horse.’ He said, ‘Well, tack shedrow Bango’ and another one I ride for him.”
So Pedroza got on the horses and walked them around the barn shedrow, an unusual use of time for a jockey. As he said, “I’m here for work. I’m not here to play.”
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