After waiting nearly a month for his first riding victory at Los Alamitos Race Course, jockey Raul Valenzuela had a night to cherish after picking up his first three Quarter Horse wins at the Orange County oval - all in a span of about 75 minutes on Saturday night. The 19-year-old pilot enjoyed his first ever win here after guiding Felix A. Gonzalez’s Ivory Knight in the sixth race before adding back-to-back victories in the final two races of the night.
Following his first win at Los Alamitos with the 3-year-old gelding Ivory Knight, Valenzuela was back in the winner’s circle in the eighth with Robert Parra’s Check Out the Moment. He completed his riding triple a few moments later after guiding S.A.M. Ranch LLC’s Barrel Babe to an upset victory at 30-1 odds in the ninth race of the evening.
“It feels amazing,” Valenzuela said. “It’s something that is hard to describe. It’s a feeling similar to when got my first win ever.”
The young jockey began riding at Los Alamitos in early May after spending the first two years of his riding career at Turf Paradise and Yavapai Downs in Arizona. For young Raul, winning at Los Alamitos was a dream coming true.
“I would watch the Los Alamitos races on TV and think that hopefully one day I would make it there,” Valenzuela said. “Riding at Los Alamitos was my target from the get go.”
Valenzuela made his career debut as a 17-year-old and he quickly made his mark by winning over 40 races in Arizona’s Quarter Horse racing circuit. His father, Raul Valenzuela Sr., is a trainer in Arizona so a career in the sport was always on young Raul’s mind.
“My dad was here tonight,” Valenzuela added. “He congratulated me after my (first) win.” This is the result of a lot of hard work and it feels great to have done it. Rodrigo Aceves was a jockey that I always looked up to and it’s great to compete against the top class riders here.”
With three victories to his name now, Valenzuela’s goal for the rest of the 2013 season is a simple one.
“Keep winning races here,” he quickly added.
With three wins from 16 mounts, the young pilot is off to a good start.
Jose Vazquez’s 2-year-old KT Cinnamon Foose, a graduate of the Los Alamitos Equine Sale, broke his maiden with an impressive 1 ¼ length victory in Saturday’s second race. Ridden by Cruz Mendez, The Foose gelding covered the 300 yards in :15.556 while defeating seven rivals in the race for $20,000 maiden claimers. He had previously faced Glitter In My Face in a trial to the Kindergarten Futurity. Glitter In My Face went on to win the Kindergarten final. Jose Flores saddled KT Cinnamon Foose.