River Apprentice Scores First Win

Irish eyes were smiling after the seventh race at River Downs on Tuesday because apprentice jockey James Graham, 24, recorded his first career victory in the United States.

Graham rode B.J. Star for trainer Alan Shapoff. His mount bobbled at the final furlong marker, but regained his momentum to draw off to win by four lengths.

Graham previously worked for trainer Patrick Martin in Ireland as his assistant trainer and apprentice rider.

"I had 86 mounts and rode one winner over there before coming to the U.S.," said the native of Dublin. "I managed to get a job with Jeff Thornbury and we are stabled at Keeneland in the same barn as Mr. Shapoff. Hopefully, this is the first of many winners in this country."

Graham sharpened his riding skills for five months after arriving in the United States by riding horses in training races at the Fair Ground in New Orleans over the winter. His win came in his 11th official start. Graham plans to begin riding at the upcoming Ellis Park meet and will be represented by agent Steve Elzy.