Luis Sanchez, a 21-year-old jockey from Panama, won his first U.S. race in his first try at Gulfstream Park Dec. 28 aboard Luna Lunita.

Luis Sanchez, a 21-year-old jockey from Panama, won his first U.S. race in his first try at Gulfstream Park Dec. 28 aboard Luna Lunita.

Gulfstream Park

Luis Sanchez Notches First U. S. Win at Gulfstream

21-year-old jockey guided Luna Lunita to an 11-length win

Jockey Luis Sanchez made an auspicious U.S. debut Dec. 28 at Gulfstream Park, guiding Luna Lunita to an 11-length victory in the third race.

"This is my first mount in this country. It's always been my dream to ride here. It's going to be a big challenge because the level [of competition] is so high," Sanchez, a graduate of the Laffit Pincay Jr. Vocational Jockey School in Panama, said through an interpreter.

The 21-year-old jockey, who rode 147 winners in Panama before venturing to South Florida, sent Luna Lunita ($7.80) to an uncontested lead on the backstretch and was never threatened thereafter in the one-mile $6,250 claiming race for fillies and mares. Luna Lunita completed the distance in 1:38.46 over a fast track.

Luis Lunita, owned and trained by Luis Luna, is a 4-year-old filly by Adios Charlie. 

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