Jockey David Lopez recorded his 1,000th victory in the United States in dramatic fashion Oct. 22 when he rallied Sourdough Sam from last to first in the $65,280 Oakland Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.
Sourdough Sam, a stretch-running son of Decarchy, mowed down 4-to-5 favorite Shudacudawudya in the final yards to win the six-furlong Oakland by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:09.68.
Dismissed in the wagering at 9-to-1, Sourdough Sam paid $20.20 after earning his fifth victory in nine career starts. Sourdough Sam is trained by Dean Pederson and owned by John Nicoletti.
“I’m very excited to get my 1,000th in this race,” said Lopez. “The trainer told me to be patient with him. He broke a little slow and I knew we were far back but I didn’t panic. I knew I was on a good horse and when I took him out in the clear he did his thing.”
Sourdough Sam, coming off three unsuccessful starts in Southern California, again showed his fondness for Golden Gate Fields, where he has four wins and a second in five starts. The gelding earned $39,400 for the Oakland victory and has made $168,400 in his nine races.
Lopez, a 30-year-old native of Peru, actually reached 1,000 victories a long time ago as he won nearly 500 races in his homeland before coming to the U.S. in 2001. He rode at Calder Race Course in Florida for eight months and then headed west, riding briefly at Santa Anita in Southern California and Turf Paradise in Arizona before settling in Northern California in 2002.
Lopez has been a mainstay in the Bay Area jockey colony. He was the second-leading rider at the 2005 spring meeting at Golden Gate Fields and finished third in the jockey standings at three other Northern California meetings in 2005-06.
The jockey has won several stakes in Northern California, including the 2007 California Derby with Bwana Bull and the Berkeley Stakes (gr. III) with 30-1 Autism Awareness in 2009.
Lopez was also the regular rider of Wild Promises, a filly he guided to four stakes victories in 2008.