Panamanian Fernandez Scores 1st U.S. Win

Apprentice jockey Edwin Fernandez notched his first U.S. victory Wednesday at Bay Meadows when he guided Gold Jigger to a front-running triumph in the first race.

Fernandez, a 17-year-old native of Panama, won 39 races in his homeland before coming to America. Gold Jigger was Fernandez' second mount in the U.S. He rode his first race at Hollywood Park, where he finished last aboard Stephen's Ghost in the first race on Dec. 18.

Gold Jigger and Fernandez won a six-furlong event for $6,250 claimers by one length and then had to wait out an inquiry by the track stewards. Gold Jigger lugged out coming into the stretch and continued to lug out through the lane but the stewards, in a majority decision, determined his actions did not affect the outcome of the race and let the original results stand.

Gold Jigger, a 3-year-old gelding owned and trained by Daniel Franko, paid $9.

Fernandez, who spent two years at the Panama Jockey School, began his riding career at age 16 and won his first race at Presidente Remon racetrack in Panama. Fernandez scored with his first career mount.

Veteran jockey agent Nate DeKelaita is handling business for Fernandez, who tacks 108 pounds, at Bay Meadows.

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