Francisco Valentin celebrates his first career victory.

Francisco Valentin celebrates his first career victory.

Coglianese Photos

First Win for Apprentice Jockey Valentin

Native of Puerto Rico guides favorite Keen On Green to five-length victory.

Francisco Valentin, a 21-year-old apprentice, posted his first career victory when Keen On Green led every step of the eighth and final race on the March 31 card at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Valentin, a native of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, came to the U.S. nine months ago with the dream of becoming a jockey. It was trainer Gary Contessa, for whom Valentin gallops horses in the mornings, who named the young rider aboard Keen On Green, who went off as the 6-5 favorite in the one-mile maiden race and won by five lengths.

"I'm so happy," said Valentin, who has had 15 mounts since January, including three second-place finishes. "This is a very emotional moment for me. It's like a dream coming true."

Keen On Green, a 3-year-old daughter of Bustin Stones , completed the mile in 1:44.44.