Friday, February 13, 2009

Jockey Lezcano earns 1,000th North American win

Bob Coglianese photo

Jockey Jose Lezcano earned his 1,000th North American victory on Friday when he guided Calabria to a 7 1/2-length win in the second race at Gulfstream Park.

A native of Chiriqui, Panama, who earned his first North American win at Gulfstream in 2004 aboard Cloudy Gray, Lezcano realizes the significance of his milestone accomplishment.

“Obviously, being from such a small town in Panama, this is a big deal for me and my family,” Lezcano said. “Even though I had dreams, I never thought I would get this far when I came to this country.”

Calabria tracked Lexicon Turbulents in second through an opening quarter-mile in :22.59 in a 6 1/2-furlong claiming race for three-year-olds. After gaining command on the backstretch, Calabria increased his advantage to three lengths in early stretch and easily won in 1:18.33 on a track rated as fast.

“He broke well and I was able to put him in good position,” Lezcano said. “He gave me an extra push at the quarter pole.”

Lezcano, 23, attended the Laffit Pincay Jockey School in Panama before moving to the United States in 2003. The Plantation, Florida, resident has compiled $29,674,860 in North American purse earnings while posting 868 runner-up and 737 third-place finishes from 5,077 starts through Thursday.

Lezcano has posted 74 wins in stakes races, including nine graded stakes victories. He earned his most lucrative victory in 2008, when he rode Maram to a win in the $1-million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita Park meeting.