RUBEN SILVERA LOOKING FOR BOLSTERED LAUREL PRESENCE
Jockey Ruben Silvera, far and away the leading rider at Parx this year, may soon be bringing his talent to Maryland on a more regular basis.
The 33-year-old Panama native is in the midst of a career year with 144 wins, already having topped his previous high of 124 from 2020 and ranking in the top 10 nationally. He is also less than $72,000 from besting last year’s $3,505,099 in purse earnings.
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Much of Silvera’s success comes from his association with trainer Jamie Ness, a winner of 3,378 career races and currently tied for third with 15 wins from 65 starters at the extended Preakness Meet at historic Pimlico Race Course, which returns to action with a live eight-race program Friday and runs through Aug. 22.
During the Preakness meet, Silvera has two wins, two seconds and three thirds from eight mounts with $124,945 in purses earned. Seven of his rides have been on Ness horses, including Indian Lake, winner of the $100,000 Bald Eagle Derby July 24.
“He likes to ride, and he’s a good rider. He’s the leading rider by far at Parx,” Ness said. “He’s going to try to come down to Laurel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, be at Laurel more in the fall. He’s trying to get his foot in the door. Another top rider in the jock’s colony is always better.”
Laurel Park, after completing a reconstruction of its main track, will have horses back on the grounds next week and open its calendar year-ending fall meet Sept. 9.
Through Aug. 4, Silvera had won 142 races and $3.247 million in purse earnings from 569 mounts at Parx since the meet opened Jan. 4, leading runner-up Frankie Pennington by 45 wins and $517,808. Pennington owns nearly 2,700 lifetime wins and is a member of the Parx Hall of Fame.
Silvera will continue to ride at Parx, which operates on a Monday through Wednesday schedule, with Laurel scheduled to run Thursdays through Sundays.
“We’ll see what happens. I’ll talk to Jamie about it more over the next couple of weeks, but wherever Jamie wants him to go is where we’re going to go,” Silvera’s agent, Richard Englander, said. “It makes sense for him.”
Both Silvera and Englander have connections to Maryland. Silvera’s wife’s brother-in-law is former jockey Elvis Trujillo, who launched his training career last summer at Laurel. Among his 2,102 wins as a rider was the 2018 General George (G3) with Something Awesome.
Englander was voted the Eclipse Award as North America’s leading owner in 2001 and 2002 and won 1,384 races between 2000 and 2009 including a high of 405 in 2001. He is also a General George winner, taking the 2003 edition with My Cousin Matt when it was a Grade 2.
My Cousin Matt’s win in 1:22.12 for seven furlongs over a sloppy track came 26 minutes before Xtra Heat captured the Barbara Fritchie (G2) in 1:24.76 in what would be the final race of her Hall of Fame career.
“That was a crazy race he ran that day. Xtra Heat was a freak. To beat her by [two] seconds at the same distance the next race on the same track? That was just crazy,” Englander said. “He was a great sprinter.”
A contemporary of Luis Saez in Panama where they attended the country’s jockey school, Silvera rode his first U.S. race at Gulfstream Park, finishing fourth with Great Bear March 24, 2011. He picked up his first winner aboard Power Rules May 7, 2011 at Calder Race Course.
Equibase statistics show Silvera with 744 wins and $21.97 million in purse earnings from 5,305 career mounts. He already has six wins this month including a four-win day Aug. 4.
“I love the riders out of Panama. They’re strong, strong riders and real good riders, most of them. That’s the group he came from,” Englander said. “He is [a hard worker]. He really is, especially for a leading rider that’s like 40-something in front. You would think that he could maybe get lazy, but no. He works five, six days a week. That’s Ruben.”