Manoel R. Cruz

Birth Date: Wednesday, May 20, 1970
Birth Place: Ninas Gerais, Brazil

2012-13 Gulfstream Record
Mounts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings
183 15 22 19 $528,700
Career: He returned to riding fulltime on the South Florida circuit during the summer of 2012 after splitting his time between Gulfstream and the Kentucky circuit during the 2011 season. Ranked 10th in earnings during the Keeneland spring meet. He finished fifth in the 2011 spring standings at Churchill Downs in wins (24) and eighth in money won. He won the Dogwood (G3) with Salty Strike.
Finished sixth in the Calder jockey standings during the summer of 2013 with 44 victories. His mounts finished 47 percent of the time in the money.
Popular journeyman earned his way to the Kentucky Derby in 2008 as the regular rider of Hutcheson Stakes winner and Florida Derby runner-up Smooth Air.
Cruz has finished among Gulfstream’s Top 15 riders each year since 2003. Prior to teaming with Smooth Air, his biggest Gulfstream wins included the 2006 Shirley Jones Handicap on Splendid Blendid, the 2007 Sunshine Millions Dash with Storm in May, and with Istan in the Artax Handicap on the 2007 Florida Derby Day program. He was the leading rider at the 2006 Calder meet with over 197 wins and in excess of $4 million in earnings. It was the second straight summer he won 197 times at Calder, the second-best in the track’s 35-year history behind Eddie Castro’s 214 in 2006. 
Other: Grew up in Brazil riding jumpers on the farm where his father is the assistant trainer for a show and racehorse operation. Rode his first race when he was 15. He graduated at age 16 from jockey school, a requirement for all apprentice riders in Brazil.