Following his three mounts at Churchill Downs June 3, jockey Manny Cruz will return to Calder Casino & Race Course, where he is the all-time leading rider with 1,956 victories at the Miami track.
On Saturday night at Churchill Downs, Cruz guided three horses to victory, including Bizzy Caroline in the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT). Cruz also was aboard Bizzy Caroline when she won the Regret (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs last spring.
Other major victories at the Louisville track for Cruz include the 2011 Dogwood (gr. III) aboard Salty Strike and the 2011 Early Times Mint Julep (GIII) aboard My Baby Baby. All four of his graded stakes wins at Churchill Downs came for trainer Ken McPeek.
Cruz rode his first full meet at Churchill Downs last spring and finished fifth in the jockey standings with 24 victories. The 42-year-old native of Ninas Gerais, Brazil, rode eight winners at Churchill Downs last fall, tying him for ninth in the rider standings.
His three wins Saturday night improved his total to 12 for the current spring meet. He is tied for sixth in the race for leading rider.
“I really want to thank Ken McPeek and all the trainers at Churchill Downs for all the opportunities they gave me,” Cruz said. “I would love to stay here, but I need to be close to my sons (who are in Miami). They need me.”
Cruz is named on four horses at Calder June 7.