Laurel Park notes: Three-bagger for Jean Alvelo

Low Country Dude
Low Country Dude (on the rail) was up narrowly for jockey Jean Alvelo. Photo Jim McCue.

Jockey Jean Alvelo won three times March 11 at Laurel Park, continuing a strong winter meet in which he has won 23 races – the most of any bug rider at the meet and second among all riders. Jevian Toledo leads the colony with 32 victories.

Alvelo, a five-pound apprentice, took the second with Imagine the Mojo ($7.00) for trainer Mike Trombetta. Two races later he teamed up with trainer Ferris Allen to score on Just Pick One ($11.80). And in the seventh, he won for trainer Ham Smith on the longest shot on the board, Low Country Dude ($42.00) in a maiden special weight.

“I’m having a blessed meet right now,” Alvelo said. “This winter meet was actually very blessed for me: started off really well, and people noticed that I was winning, so they gave me some opportunities.”

Alvelo had just two wins through Jan. 16. That was the result of a combination of factors: lost days because of track conditions at Laurel Park and a whole passel of seconds and thirds. Alvelo’s mounts had finished second or third 11 times during the early portion of the meet.

But in recent weeks, he’s been finding the winner’s circle regularly: twice on Feb. 24, two more times Feb. 27, two more on March 4, and today’s three-bagger.

Alvelo’s also getting a look from some of the top barns on the grounds. This racing weekend, he’ll have mounts for Trombetta, Dale Capuano, Kieron Magee, and Smith, among others.

Jean Alvelo. Photo by Jim McCue.

Aboard Low Country Dude, a homebred son of Done Talking for Ham Smith’s brother Frank, Alvelo was patient, got an inviting lane on the rail at the head of the stretch, and was able to prevail late by a head over post-time favorite Stacks of Silver.

“I waited for the perfect time and Maclovio [Enriquez, on the favorite] left me that rail, so I just kind of hugged it and took off from there,” Alvelo said.

Alvelo, 21, is a native of Puerto Rico and a graduate of the acclaimed jockey school on that island. He began his professional career at the start of 2021, winning at Camarero Jan. 2 with Summer Princess, the fourth mount of his career. 

He began riding at Laurel Sept. 30 of last year, registering his first local win almost a month later at Delaware Park aboard Luxero for trainer Claudio Gonzalez. Three days after that, he earned his first Maryland victory aboard Tweet Away Robin for trainer Hugh McMahon.

“It really has been [a lifelong dream to ride],” Alvelo said. “Ever since I was a kid, I admired Tiki, who is Charlie Marquez’s father [Carlos Marquez]. He was a great rider, and my sister’s father was also a rider. You know, I’ve always been around the track, since I was little.”

NOTES Jockey Denis Araujo won twice on the card, winning on 9-1 shot Victory Given for trainer Jose Corrales and on I’m Gittin There for Ham Smith… Outkissed, ridden by Forest Boyce for Robbie Bailes, easily won the featured allowance/optional claimer for three-year-olds, pressing the pace of favored Al Loves Josie and drawing away to win by three… Easy day for the stewards: there were no objections or inquiries on the day…There will be carryovers of $5,066.74 in the $1 Super Hi-5 (Race 2) and $5,003.85 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 (Races 5-9) for Saturday’s nine-race program that begins at 12:25 p.m.