Jockey Rodriguez Wins with First U.S. Mount

Initial victory comes Feb. 28 at Laurel Park for native of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican native Israel Rodriguez made a great first impression at Laurel Park Feb. 28, riding a winner in his initial race in the United States (VIDEO).

In the fifth race, a $5,000 claiming event at seven furlongs on the fast main track, Rodriguez broke from the outside post astride Inspeightofthegold. They raced on the extreme outside the whole way and then finished fastest of all for an 8 1/2-length victory as the 2-1 second choice, returning $6.40 to win.

Trainer Juan Vasquez gave a leg up to the 18-year-old rider, who had won three races from 36 mounts at Camarero in San Juan this year before coming to Maryland.

"He will be the next Carrasco," predicted Vazquez in the winners' circle, making reference to Victor Carrasco.

Last year, Victor Carrasco became the 10th Maryland-based jockey to earn the Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice, leading all first-year riders in wins (215) and earnings ($4,357,715).

King Star owned Inspeightofthegold, a 5-year-old bay mare by Speightstown  bred in Kentucky by John and Iveta Kerber. She was claimed out of the race by Dale Capuano and Crown Valley Stable.