Top Peruvian Apprentice Gets First U.S. Win

Racing at Hollywood Park, jockey Johnny Gihua ends 35-loss streak aboard 12-1 shot.

Apprentice jockey Johnny Gihua of Peru earned his first victory in North America, guiding El Scorpio to a front-running 12-1 upset in an optional claiming allowance on the Hollywood Park turf June 16.

Peru’s top apprentice in 2009, Gihua, 24, had failed to win with his first 35 mounts at Hollywood Park before El Scorpio defeated Derive by a half-length as the longest shot in a field of four in the $43,688 event.

Saddled by leading trainer Doug O'Neill, El Scorpio ran six furlongs in 1:08.25 and returned $27 to win.

It was the second victory in six starts for the 4-year-old gelded son of Vindication. El Scorpio, who has earned $50,200, is owned by Westside and W.C. Racing.