FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 11, 2012 – Apprentice jockey Marcelino Torres earned his first career win Saturday with just his second mount, guiding Luckie Chuckie from off the pace to win Turfway Park’s fifth race by 5 3/4 lengths for trainer Byron Hughes.
Born in Guerrero, Mexico, the 23-year-old Torres came to the United States in 2010 at the suggestion of his uncle, exercise rider Concepcion Torres. He joined the elder Torres at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, grooming horses for trainer John Langemeier. Two of Marcelino's younger brothers, Ernesto and Omar, also gallop horses at the Training Center and after just two months under his uncle's tutelage Marcelino joined their ranks.
After arriving in the U.S., Torres began watching races at the tracks and on television and decided he wanted one day to be a jockey. His uncle encouraged him to follow his dream.
"I just kept working and working and working," Torres said. "I'm very happy, very excited."
Torres rode his first race on Friday and finished seventh. He also had a mount in Saturday's eighth race, giving him three races to begin his career as required by the stewards, and will be issued his jockey's license this week.