Fernando Jara, who rode Invasor to victory over Bernardini in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) Nov. 4, will be represented by Gatewood Bell instead of agent Randy Romero beginning in February of 2007, Romero said Nov. 28.
"My contract is finished Feb. 5, and Fernando has decided to go with a new agent," Romero said. "Things happen, situations develop; he wanted to make a change and that's fine with me."
Jara, who turns 19 Dec. 18, will remain in New York over the winter to ride first call for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
"He rides a lot of horses for Kiaran, who asked him to stay ([in New York) another year," Romero said. "I will stay with him until February, then I'll go home to Louisville and be with my wife and think it over, just see what happens and try to find a new young rider."
Jara began riding in Panama at age 14, and won 58 races after receiving his license. He came to the U.S. in January 2004 under the guidance of Jose Rivera, a New York agent known for developing young Panamanian riders.
Romero picked up Jara's book in February 2006, and the young rider went on to win his first graded race in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) aboard McLaughlin- trainee Like Now. His other top mounts this year included Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Jazil, Invasor, and Diana Handicap (gr. IT) winner Angara. He also rode the winners of the 2006 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT), Alcibiades (gr. II), the New York Breeders' Futurity, and the Cab Calloway, among others.
"Fernando is a great kid; I believed in him, that's why I went ahead and got his book," said Romero, who won 4, 294 races during his riding career. "I took a shot because I really liked him, and I still really like him. I think he's a great rider and I hope the best for him. Kieran and the Bells are good people, he's surrounding himself with good people, and he's gonna go far."
Gatewood Bell is the son of Jimmy Bell, President of Darley USA.