Vasquez, 59, Returns to Saddle After 10 Years

Fifty-nine-year-old German Vasquez Sr., riding competitively for the first time in more than 10 years, finished seventh aboard 45-1 shot Simple Man in the 10th race at Churchill Downs Friday.

Simple Man raced in mid-pack for the first three furlongs of the 5 1/2-furlong heat for $20,000 maiden claiming horses before tiring.

A member of the Panama's Jockey School and a celebrated rider in his native country before moving to the Florida in 1967, Vasquez is the nephew of Jacinto Vasquez and cousin to Alex Solis. He underwent major shoulder surgery after injuring himself while working a horse in August 1994. He returned to the track as an exercise rider a few years ago.

He won the 1975 Spiral Stakes on Naughty Jake and the 1972 Pocahontas Stakes aboard Vaguely Familiar.

"I feel good now, and I'm going to give it a shot again," Vasquez, a grandfather of two, said when asked why he wants to return to competitive racing. "People asked me to ride a few horses, and I said 'Well, the weather's good and I feel good, so let's give it a try.'"

Vasquez had 2,875 mounts between 1976-1987, with 229 winners (8%), 274 places (10%), and 277 shows (10%) while riding at more than a dozen tracks, according to Equineline. There are no statistics for his Panama career (1964-67).

(Chart, Equibase)