Apprentice Jean Aguilar bags first Stateside wins
Less than a month after venturing to the United States from his native Puerto Rico, 10-pound apprentice Jean Aguilar rode his first two domestic winners Friday at Laurel Park.
Aguilar, 18, scored with Taking Risks Stable and Louis Ulman’s 3-year-old gelding Malinois ($12.80) in Race 2 for trainer Phillip Capuano, and the John Robb-trained No Guts No Glory homebred mare Bandits Warrior ($6.40) in Race 4.
Before coming to the U.S., Aguilar won three of 17 races at Camarero Racetrack in Puerto Rico. He made his stateside debut Jan. 27, finishing sixth on Notafraidtocharge at Laurel. He had two other mounts prior to Friday, running seventh with Dancing Mischief Jan. 28 at Laurel and Hurricane Bon Wednesday night at Penn National.
Aguilar broke sharp on Malinois and set the early pace, going a quarter-mile in 24.44 seconds before being passed on his outside by Goodbye Note, who went a half in 48.71. Aguilar stayed inside and attempted to make a move up the rail before checking back into second, tipping outside on the far turn and reeling in Goodbye Note in the final sixteenth to win the 1 1/16-mile maiden claimer in 1:45.88 over a fast main track.
“He came and got on a couple horses for me to breeze including this one, so we gave him a shot and it worked out well,” Capuano said. “He’s a nice kid and rode a good race. he never quit riding and got the job done. Getting the 10 pounds made a big difference.”
Bandits Warrior, a 5-year-old mare, led all the way around and held off Fool Yourself late to win her six-furlong claimer for older females in 1:12.42.
Capuano’s uncle, retired trainer Dale Capuano, was well-known for his success using apprentice riders in Maryland. The state’s leading apprentice of 2023, Axel Concepcion, was recently named the 13th Maryland-based winner of the Eclipse Award as North America’s champion apprentice.
Concepcion’s first Maryland victory came Feb. 25, 2023 on Shinelikeadiamond, trained by Phillip Capuano.
“Axel won his first race in Maryland for me and that turned out pretty good. Hopefully [Aguilar] can go on and do just as well,” Capuano said. “I’m very happy for him. Hopefully I can put him on a few more winners.”
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