David Flores

David Flores

Benoit Photography

Jockey Flores to Give Singapore a Swing

Longtime Southern California rider to compete at Kranji Racecourse for two weeks.

Veteran jockey David Flores, a three-time winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), will miss the final renewal of the prestigious race at Betfair Hollywood Park July 6. He's leaving June 30 to compete in Singapore for two weeks.

The 45-year-old Flores, a native of Tijuana, Mexico, has been a regular on the Southern California circuit since July 1989, when he moved north to Del Mar from Agua Caliente. He won the Gold Cup most recently in 2010 aboard Awesome Gem, and also won the race in 1996 aboard Siphon and in 1991 on Marquetry. He teamed up with Siphon again to win the 1997 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).

Flores also has three Breeders' Cup World Championships victories to his credit and won the 2003 Arlington Million (gr. IT) aboard Sulamani. But he has been mired near the bottom of the Hollywood Park jockey standings during the current spring/summer meet with six victories from just 91 mounts through June 29.

He is scheduled on four mounts on the Sunday card and then will depart for Singapore's Kranji Racecourse after getting his passport updated June 28. He'll be leaving behind his wife, Dawn, and their six-month-old son, John Lorenzo.

Flores said he's looking forward to trying something new by visiting the Southeast Asian island nation just north of the Equator, though he's not necessarily looking to make any major changes at this point in his career.

"I want to see if I like it and go from there," Flores said. "It's a good opportunity to build something for the future.

"I think it's going to be a good experience," he added. "It's always good to meet some new people in this business."

Flores said he expects to ride six races a day at Kranji, which is currently operating on a Friday night and Sunday afternoon live racing schedule. He has a mount July 14 in the $1 million Singapore Derby, a local group I at 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on turf for 4-year-olds. That will be on the final day of his visit.

Flores, whose local booking had previously been handled by agent Brad Pegram, switched over to Saul Marquez in May.

"It comes and it goes," he said of his current Southern California business. "There's no question there's a new generation of riders here now and you can be pushed aside.

"The thing is that the old-time owners and trainers aren't here anymore," Flores added. "There's been a big change in the past 10, 15 years. But I still love what I do. I think I enjoy what I have today even more than I used to. I'd like to ride for five more years."

In spite of the pending closure of Hollywood, Flores says he sees signs that California racing is headed for a resurgence, citing better results in recent horse sales and indications that local breeding is coming back. Still, he's disappointed to be losing Hollywood.

"It's sad because there's a lot of stories in this place," he said. "It's been a great place to race and train for so long, and the weather's so good. I'm going to miss it."

Flores has 3,505 lifetime victories from 24,796 mounts, accounting for total purse earnings of $149,558,573. So far in 2013, his mounts have won 19 of 214 starts, with 28 seconds and 20 thirds.