Magomet Kappushev, who once trained and rode horses for Russian President Vladimir Putin, finished second in the first race at Gulfstream Park Nov. 11 in his U.S. debut.

"Riding is different between Europe and the U.S.," Kappushev said through an interpreter. "I feel like I need to get used to it a little bit, but I'll be OK,"

Kappushev, 41, who has ridden in Europe, Dubai, and Asia, tracked the leaders in fourth place aboard 12-1 shot Lucky Black before urging the 2-year-old daughter of Hard Spun   for her run in the stretch. The pair finished three lengths behind odds-on favorite Hot Stuff.

In the fifth race Monday, Kappushev finished fourth 30-1 longshot Daddy's Kid.

Kappushev said among the horses he trained for Putin were three Arabians that were a gift from King Abdullah of Jordan. In recognition of his achievements in the resurgent racing industry in Russia, Kappushev was given a watch by Putin.

"After I won the President's Cup, I got a gift of a watch from him," said Kappushev. "And I trained a few horses for him."
           
Kappushev, whose son Timur was born recently in Miami, plans to remain in Florida for the foreseeable future.
 

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