The 39-year-old Flores, a native of Tijuana, Mexico, won his first race at Caliente, Mexico, as a 16-year-old on March 5, 1984.
Flores picked up the mount on the 7-1 shot Time to Get Even from Alex Bisono after his own ride in the 7-furlong event for 3-year-olds, Robbos Courage, was scratched. Bisono could not ride because of an ankle injury. Flores won with a perfectly timed run.
Time to Get Even chased the pace from the outside as Euroglide set a quick early pace while racing off the rail. After an opening quarter-mile of :22, Principle Secret, ridden by Alex Solis, exploited the large opening along the inside to move through and take the lead as they completed the half-mile of :44 1/5.
Principle Secret opened up a comfortable advantage in the stretch but was straining to hold it in the final furlong as Desert Code and Try to Fly closed in. Meanwhile, Flores had set the dark bay son of Stephen Got Even down in the middle of the track for the stretch run and the colt responded to urging to sweep past his rivals and get up just in time in a dramatic three-horse blanket finish. Principle Secret, the 2-1 choice in the field of eight, nosed second choice Desert Code for the runner-up spot. The final time, 1:21 4/5, was three-fifths off the all-weather track mark.
Time to Get Even, coming off a 6 1/2-furlong maiden win in 1:15 2/5 by 2 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita, was making his racing debut on Cushion Track, although he had been working well over the track for trainer Walther Solis. Time to Get Even, a $5,000 Keeneland yearling buy in September 2005, has two wins and a second in three starts for owners Murrietta Racing Stable and Joe and Mario Lopez, et al. The victory, worth $65,820, increased Time to Get Even's earnings to $102,620.
"When Alex got hurt, I told them I was available,” Flores said. “I only had one horse earlier and (Solis) gave me the opportunity to ride. There's nothing better than doing it with a good horse in a stake. That horse gave me an incredible run. I was patient and we were a little wide, but I had a lot of horse. When I turned him loose down the stretch he gave me a great effort. In the last sixteenth, I knew I had it.”
Time to Get Even, the first stakes winner for trainer Solis, was one of several upsets on the card, generating a two-day Pick Six carryover of $850,466 when racing resumes Wednesday.
Hilbert Thoroughbreds Inc. bred the winner, who is out of Tomisue's Pleasure, by Seeking the Gold, in Kentucky.
A huge group of supporters showed up in the winner's circle to celebrate the victory and congratulate Flores.
"(Walther Solis) didn't know anything about my numbers, but he was confident in this horse," Flores said. "He told me to give him a chance and he'll come running at the end."
The son of a jockey, Flores joined the Southern California circuit in 1989 after competing in Tijuana to begin his career. He has enjoyed a big year in 2007 while riding a number of leading stakes horses for trainer Bobby Frankel, although his biggest season came in 2003 when his mounts earned more than $10.7 million.
Flores has ridden three Breeders' Cup winners -- Singletary (Mile) in 2004, Action This Day (Juvenile) in 2003, and Tempera (Juvenile Fillies) in 2001 -- and won nine $1 million races. He captured riding titles at Santa Anita (1998-99) and Del Mar (1999) as well as seven more at the Orange and Los Angeles county fairs.
Flores has had many big moments at Hollywood Park. He registered his first grade I victory while riding longshot Marquetry to victory over Farma Way in the 1991 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) and he also won the Gold Cup on Siphon in 1996.
“I've seen many jockeys take a week or a lot of mounts to get over the number, but I was lucky to get over right away,” said Flores, who rode a pair of winners on Saturday.
Trainer Solis, meanwhile, had not experienced the sensation of winning a stakes race, graded or otherwise, before Sunday.
“I bought him at the Keeneland sale for $5,000. I liked everything about him,” the native of Guatemala said. “He has a great walk and presentation and he carries himself very well. After his first couple of works, I saw he had stakes potential.”
Time to Get Even paid $16.20, $6 and $4.80. Principle Secret, a close second in both of this starts this year for trainer Christopher Paasch, returned $3.60 and $2.60, rounding out a $59 exacta. Desert Code, switching the grass to synthetic for David Hofmans, was $2.80 to show.
It was a half-length to fourth-place finisher Try to Fly, followed by Abalanche, Euroglide, Taxi Fleet and Another Kris. Hurry Home Warren and Scat Thief also scratched.