Apprentice jockey Marcelino Torres earned his first career win Feb. 11 with just his second mount when he guided Luckie Chuckie from off the pace to win Turfway Park’s fifth race by 5 3/4 lengths for trainer Byron Hughes.
Born in Guerrero, Mexico, the 23-year-old Torres came to the United States in 2010 at the suggestion of his uncle, exercise rider Concepcion Torres.
After arriving in the U.S., Torres began watching races and decided he wanted to be a jockey. His uncle encouraged him to follow his dream.
“I just kept working and working and working,” Torres said after the win. “I’m very happy, very excited.”
Luckie Chuckie rated mid-pack in the one-mile Polytrack event for $5,000 claiming horses, checking briefly in traffic at the three-eighths pole. Angled to the outside, the 4-year-old Offlee Wild gelding rallied to get the lead and drew off in the final furlong.
Torres rode his first race a day earlier and finished seventh. He also had a mount in the eighth race Feb. 11, giving him three races to begin his career as required by the stewards. He will be issued his jockey’s license in the coming week.
He gained experience with the tutelage of his uncle at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, grooming horses for trainer John Langemeier.