Garcia Making Most of Baffert Opportunity

The 35-year-old jockey has won five races for trainer at start of Santa Anita meet.

(from Santa Anita notes)

Jockey Martin Garcia has won with five of 29 mounts in the first day of the Santa Anita meet, all of the victories coming on horses trained by Bob Baffert.

The 25-year-old Garcia, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, is making the most of his opportunities, Baffert says.

“He needs some polishing,” Baffert said of the hard-working Garcia, who achieved a remarkable feat by deadlocking in the 2006 Bay Meadows winter riding chase with perennial Bay Area kingpin and Hall of Fame member Russell Baze. Each rode 47 winners.
“He’s a good little athlete,” Baffert says of Garcia. “He’s been working most of the horses he rides for me and he knows them well. He’s a good, strong finisher, and the better horses these guys ride, the better they get. It sharpens them up.
“Martin understands that he’s not going to ride all my good ones all the time," Baffert adds. "Garrett’s (Gomez) going to get his share, but Martin knows that, and at least he’s making money and working horses. But I wouldn’t use him unless I thought he was capable and could do the job, and so far, he’s doing it. The fact that he unseated Russell Baze up there one meet says a lot. “

Garcia is in a tie for fourth with Joel Rosario in the current Santa Anita standings. Rafael Bejarano, Garrett Gomez and Victor Espinoza have seven wins apiece.