Victor Trujillo, saddling just his second horse as a head trainer, earned his first career training victory Dec. 30 at Golden Gate Fields when his 3-year-old gelding Floating Feather won the fourth race (VIDEO).
Trujillo, a 48-year-old native of Jerez, Mexico, first started working at the racetrack at age 17 as a groom and went on to become an exercise rider and assistant trainer. Trujillo was employed by trainer Chuck Jenda for most of his years at the racetrack and served as Jenda’s assistant trainer the past 10 years.
Jenda officially retired just days ago and Trujillo inherited several of the runners formerly trained by his longtime boss. Trujillo, who was part of many great victories as the regular exercise rider of Jenda’s champion mare Brown Bess (top female grass horse of 1989), said he got a charge out of watching Floating Feather come home in front Friday.
“It was a big thrill,” said Trujillo of securing his first win as a head trainer. “Even though I’ve been around the business awhile, it was pretty exciting.”
Floating Feather was claimed out of the race for $12,500, and Trujillo admitted losing the horse put a bit of a damper on the victory.
“That’s how the (claiming) game goes,” said Trujillo, who was left with eight horses in his stable after losing Floating Feather via the claim box to owner-trainer George Lopez.
Trujillo appreciates the opportunity that has been afforded him by Jenda and his former clients.
“Chuck built up the business for me,” said Trujillo. “When people stay with you, it means you’ve done something right or they have confidence in you.”
Floating Feather, ridden by Aaron Gryder, defeated 6-to-5 favorite Checkinuponyou by three-quarters of a length in the six-furlong race.