Joel Rosario gives the "high five" at the end of his big day at Hollywood Park Dec. 6.

Joel Rosario gives the "high five" at the end of his big day at Hollywood Park Dec. 6.


Flight Change Key in Rosario's Quintet

The 23-year-old jockey almost missed his five-win day at Hollywood Park Dec. 6.

(from Hollywood Park)

A late change in flight plans played a key role in Joel Rosario connecting for five winners, including a graded stakes win, at Hollywood Park Dec. 6.

Agent Vic Stauffer said Rosario was scheduled to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dec. 5 for a race. But the 23-year-old rider had mounts in two graded stakes the next day, including the Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT).

Stauffer put his girlfriend Tina to work locating a later flight and he credits her for making the memorable day possible.

“There was a chance he wouldn’t have ridden any of them,“ said Stauffer. “His itinerary originally was to have him fly out Friday noon.”

Rosario, a native of the Dominican Republic, highlighted his day by guiding Slew’s Tizzy to a $16.40 upset in the $108,200, Native Diver Handicap (gr. III). He also won the first race on Savannah Peach ($8), the second on Echo West ($23.60), the fifth on Fire Wood ($19.60) and the ninth on Devive ($6).              

In addition, Rosario rode Obrigado, a 22-to-1 shot, to a second-place finish in the $250,000 Turf Cup behind favored Champs Elysees.

“What a wonderful day,” said Stauffer after Rosario recorded five firsts and two seconds on the nine-race card, mostly with longshots. “I was very surprised. Only one was the favorite.”

Rosario celebrated his accomplishment with dinner in an El Segundo restaurant. He caught an 11 p.m. flight to San Juan, where he rides in the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe at El Comandante Dec. 7.

Rosario equaled a personal best of five winners on one card -- previously set at Bay Meadows and matched at Golden Gate Fields -- but this five-bagger produced easily the biggest payday.

“If you ride for the right barns, you’ll get winning results,” said Stauffer after Rosario collected two wins for Doug O’Neill and one each for Ted West, Bob Hess Jr. and Ron Ellis, all among the leading trainers at the current meet.