Maria Scaldaferri
Maria Scaldaferri won her first US race aboard Tempting Moment. Photo Coady Photography.

Jockey Maria Rosana Scaldaferri, a native of Pergamino, Aregentina, reached the winners circle for the first time ever in America Wednesday afternoon in the opening week finale at Colonial Downs, which ushered in its annual summer season on Monday. 

The 30-year-old rider had been winless in 27 U.S. starts until the ninth on Wednesday when she piloted Leanne Hester’s homebred Tempting Moment to a gate-to-wire effort at odds of 15-1. The 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint attracted a field of thirteen $10,000 claimers who competed for a $25,000 purse. 

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Hester’s 6-year-old Gone Clubbing gelding led by 1 1/2 lengths early on, carried a five-length cushion into the top of the stretch and crossed three lengths ahead of Fashionable in 1:04.05. The winner paid $32.20 and marked his first win in 12 starts.   

Maria Scaldaferri.

The day’s last race matched a jockey with a horse, both of whom were in search of a much-needed victory. 

“Im so happy,” said an emotional Scaldaferri after the race. “You can’t imagine how happy I am. I’ve put in so much hard work to get to this point. I rode at Gulfstream for three years then at Monmouth for a short time before coming here and didn’t win at either place. I thought it was going to be easier by now. This means so much to me because I got sick so many times last year and only made one start. I had pneumonia at one point, would feel better, get going then get sick again and have to start all over.”

The win came in Scaldaferri’s third start this week at Colonial. She had four starts at Monmouth before arriving in Virginia and only had one in 2020.

“This is my first win ever in America,” she proclaimed again as she walked back into the paddock all smiles. “I’ll be back riding here all season, for sure.”

Colonial Downs continues its 7-week season Monday July 26 with nine races beginning at 1:45 PM. Three open stakes will be contested — the $150,000 Buckland, and $100,000 Da Hoss and Andy Guest Stakes. Scaldaferri is named on four horses Monday and two more on Tuesday.