Apprentice Octavio Antonio Vergara Jr. won the first race of his career July 26 at Calder Casino & Race Course when he piloted Blackacre Farm's homebred Dynamic Duke to victory in the fourth race on the card for trainer Kathleen O'Connell (VIDEO).
The California native began riding in April at Calder. He guided Dynamic Duke, a gelded son of Unbridled's Song, to a front-running win in the 6 1/2-furlong dirt sprint, taking the $6,250 claiming race by a length at odds of 6-1.
"It feels unreal. I'm really excited," Vergara said. "I'm really fortunate with people like Kathleen O'Connell that are trying to help me out and I've been happy to work with her and I'm glad that she's willing to work with me and I hope there's more to come."
Vergara, the son of jockey Octavio Vergara, is a graduate of the North American Racing Academy and is a Race for Education scholarship recipient. He worked for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, Bob Hess Jr., George and Cindy Weaver, Tom Albertrani, and Christophe Clement prior to launching his racing career.
The victory was Vergara’s first in 47 tries at Calder this year. He has finished second twice and has had four fourth-place finishes as well.
"I had a couple that were so close," Vergara said. "It was starting to get frustrating, but I am happy that it didn't come too fast because I want to learn as much as I can and I know the only way that is going to happen is with time and riding more races."