Current Jockeys

Jockey Paco Lopez Bio

PACO LOPEZ

Multiple Grade One winning stake rider and Eclipse Award winner Paco Lopez has made his mark in the thoroughbred world. Born October 18, 1985 in Vera Cruz Mexico, a small town near Tierra Blanca, Mexico, where he grew up in poverty. At the age of 12 years old, he left home to work on a ranch and began riding Quarter horses. A short time later, by the time he was a teenager, Lopez was riding at the bush tracks in Mexico, where he had gone on to win over five thousand races and once won all 13 races in a single meet weekend. In 2006, Lopez came to the United States to pursue his dream of riding professionally. He began working horses at the Palm Meadows Training Center near Boynton Beach Florida the following year; and before long trainers noticed his talent.

“Paco has that raw natural talent and horses run for him”, said Lopez’s agent Cory Moran, who has handled Lopez from the start of his career. “You don’t see too many riders continue to dominate after they lose their apprenticeship, but he did”. Lopez won his first race on July 13, 2007 at Calder Race Course. Lopez was an instant hit from the start and has never slowed down since.

> calder’s leading jockey (2008)

> eclipse award winner (2008)

> meadowlands leading jockey (2009)

> gulfstream park leading jockey (championship meet) (2010)

> monmouth park leading jockey (elite meet) (2010)

> monmouth park leading jockey (fall meet) (2010)

> gulfstream park leading jockey (championship meet) (2011)

> monmouth park leading jockey (2013)

> meadowlands leading jockey (2013)

> monmouth park leading jocky (2014)

> monmouth park leading jockey (2015)

> monmouth park leading jockey (2016)

> meadowland leading jockey (2016)

  • G1 2.5 million breeders cup sprint (roy h) (2018)
  • G1 $500,000 untied nations (hunter o’riley) (2019)
  • G1 $500,000 ashland (out for a spin) (2019)
  • G1 santa anita sprint championship (roy h) (2018)
  • G1 jenny wiley (dickinson) (2017)
  • G1 gulfstream park turf handicap (lukes alley) (2016)
  • G1 woodward stakes (itsmyluckyday) (2014)
  • G2 palos verdes stakes (roy h) (2019)
  • G2 inside information (america’s tale) (2019)
  • G2 shakertown (imprimis) (2019)
  • G2 azeri stakes (martini glass) (2018)
  • G2 black eyed susan stakes (red ruby) (2018)
  • G2 kelso handicap (sharp azteca) (2017)
  • G2 gazelle stakes (miss sky warrior) (2017)
  • G2 true north stakes (roy h ) (2017)
  • G2 davona dale stakes (miss sky warrior) (2017)
  • G2 hillsborough stakes (dickinson) (2017)
  • G2 demoiselle stakes (miss sky warrior) (2016)
  • G2 inside information (stonetastic) (2016)
  • G2 mrs revere stakes (isabelle sings) (2015)
  • G2 inside information (classic point) (2015)
  • G2 prioress stakes (stonetastic) (2014)
  • G2 honorable miss handicap (r free roll) (2014)
  • G2 monmouth cup stakes (pants on fire) (2013)
  • G2 gulfstream park sprint championship (force freeze) (2012)
  • G2 hawthorne gold cup (headache) (2011)
  • G2 forward gal (pomeroys pistol) (2011)
  • G2 gulfstream park handicap (smooth air) (2009)
  • G3 parx dash stakes (pure sensation) (2019)
  • G3 eatontown (valedictorian) (2019)
  • G3 delaware oaks (red ruby) (2018)
  • G3 forward gal (take charge paula) (2018)
  • G3 royal delta (martini glass) (2018)
  • G3 greenwood cup (you’re to blame) (2018)
  • G3 ben ali stakes (watershed) (2017)
  • G3 orchid stakes (summersault) (2017)
  • G3 suannee river stakes (dickinson) (2017)
  • G3 molly pitcher stakes (money’soncharlotte) (2017)
  • G3 monmouth cup stakes (sharp azteca) (2017)
  • G3 smarty jones (awesome slew) (2016)
  • G3 comely stakes (verve’s tale) (2016)
  • G3 tempted stakes (miss sky warrior) (2016)
  • G3 molly pitcher stakes (genre) (2016)
  • G3 monmouth oaks (unbridled mo) (2016)
  • G3 eatontown stakes (isabella sings (2016)
  • G3 greenwood cup (neck ’n neck) (2015)
  • G3 tampa bay stakes (lochte) (2015)
  • G3 molly pitcher stakes (got lucky) (2015)
  • G3 pegasus stakes (mr. jordan) (2015)
  • G3 cardinal handicap (button down) (2015)
  • G3 eatontown stakes (i’m already sexy) (2015)
  • G3 monmouth oaks (delightful joy) (2015)
  • G3 fred w hooper stakes (valid) (2015)
  • G3 delta downs princess stakes (take charge brandi) (2014)
  • G3 salvator mile (itsmyluckyday) (2014)
  • G3 rampart stakes (gamay noir) (2014)
  • G3 oceanport stakes (guys reward) (2014)
  • G3 jersey shore stakes (prudhoe bay) (2014)
  • G3 mr. prospector stakes (speechify) (2014)
  • G3 monmouth cup stakes (pants on fire) (2013)
  • G3 gallant bob stakes (city of weston) (2013)
  • G3 monmouth oaks (seaneen girl) (2013)
  • G3 ack ack handicap (pants on fire) (2013)
  • G3 gulfstream park sprint championship (force freeze) (2012)
  • G3 delta downs princess stakes (rose to gold) (2012)
  • G3 oceanport stakes (tune me in) (2012)
  • G3 sapling stakes (brave dave)
  • G3 cliff hanger stakes (tune me in) (2012)
  • G3 all along stakes (snow top mountain) (2012)
  • G3 my charmer handicap (kya one) (2012)
  • G3 hawthorne gold cup handicap (headache) (2011)
  • G3 philip h iselin stakes (where’s sterling) (2011)
  • G3 oceanport stakes (yummy with butter) (2011)
  • G3 cliff hanger stakes (yummy with butter) (2011)
  • G3 my charmer handicap (oregon lady*ire) (2011)
  • G3 matchmaker stakes (unbridled essence) (2010)
  • G3 alysheba stakes (arson squad) (2010)
  • G3 skip away stakes (arson squad) (2010)

> AND MANY OTHER COUNTLESS UNGRADED STAKE WINNERS TO HIS CREDIT!

> LOPEZ WON 13 STAKE RACES AT CALDER RACE COURSE WITHIN A FOUR MONTH TIME PERIOD, DURING A FOUR-DAY A WEEK RACING SCHEDULE.

> LOPEZ WAS UNDEFEATED ON “BIG DRAMA” WHEN HE SWEPT THE THREE CONSECUTIVE STAKE RACE’S IN THE RICH “FLORIDA STALLION STAKES SERIES”. (BIG DRAMA LATER WON THE BREEDER’S CUP SPRINT & WON THE ECLIPSE AWARD FOR BEST SPRINTER IN 2010).

> LOPEZ WON A RECORD 7 RACES ON MAY 17, 2014 AT MONMOUTH PARK AND CAME BACK TO HAVE ANOTHER 7 WIN DAY ON JUNE 6, 2014 AT MONMOUTH PARK.

JAIRO RENDON

Jockey Jairo Rendon rode his first winner in the U.S. at Gulfstream Park Jan. 14, 2017, visiting the winner’s circle aboard maiden special weight winner Morticia, who would go on to become a highly successful graded stakes winner, unfortunately, without him.

Rendon would go to the sidelines after breaking his collarbone in a spill during the running of the very next race following his breakthrough win aboard Morticia. Upon his return to action at Monmouth Park five months later, he achieved moderate success while establishing himself as a solid journeyman the past two years. However, the 35-year-old native of Medellin, Colombia, has significantly stepped up his game during the Spring/Summer Meet at Gulfstream Park.

Rendon, who ventured to the U.S. with an extensive international background, is third in wins and fourth in money-earned during the meet. He has ridden 47 winners while striking at a 22-percent clip. He has ridden four winners from nine stakes appearances, scoring aboard Royal Squeeze (Big Drama), Vow Me Now (English Channel), Vow to Recover (Honey Ryder) and Salute the Colonel (Home of the Brave). He trails only Edgard Zayas and Emisael Jaramillo in wins.

Rendon, who will ride several favorites during Saturday’s Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream, says his formula for success is creating a strong bond between horse and rider.

“You have to have a connection with the horse. If he feels comfortable, that’s the way he’s going to run. When they feel confident, that’s when they are going to win,” Rendon said. “The horse runs for you. You don’t make the horse run.”

Rendon’s road to success has traveled through Colombia, Panama and Saudi Arabia. Although he was not raised in a racing family, he lived close to a racetrack and followed the advice of those who had recommended that he try becoming a jockey. He attended the jockey school and rode in Colombia for a year and a half before venturing to Panama, where he was the leading rider in 2017. He parlayed that early success into a contract to ride for the royal family in Saudi Arabia the following year. Rendon went on to ride eight years in Saudi Arabia, where he won a Grade 1 race for the late King Abdullah bin Al Saud.

“It was a good experience in life, because life there is different than how we live here. I was successful. I was fifth, fourth in the standings every year,” Rendon said. “But eight years was enough and I went home to spend time with my family in Colombia.

The married father of two didn’t resume his riding career during his stay in Colombia, but he decided to give the U.S. a shot in 2016 after being contacted by his friend, Jorge Duarte Jr., who was then assistant to Alan Goldberg, trainer of New Jersey-based Colt’s Neck Stable. He began galloping horses at Monmouth Park before moving on to South Florida for the winter.

“When I got here, I got the license and started galloping horses for Rusty Arnold. I said, ‘I want to ride. Just give me a chance to ride a horse.’ He said, ‘I don’t have that many horses. I have owners who don’t know you and don’t want to ride you.’ He said, ‘I have this filly who is half mine. Just breeze her and I’ll put you on her,” said Rendon, recalling the events that led to his first U.S. win.

“I breezed her five times. She loved the grass. I said, ‘This is my winner when I get to ride her,’” Rendon added. ‘When she ran, she won on the turf at five-eighths. Her name was Morticia.”

Morticia went on to become a multiple-stakes winner during Rendon’s five-month recovery. He started back galloping horses at Colt’s Neck Farm before returning to action. He finished fourth with 33 winners at Monmouth Park in 2018 while scoring at a 10-percent rate.

“I went home for the winter,” he said. “I came back to ride here and decided to stay. I’m happy how it is going here and I want to stay here for the year, even next winter.”

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