Italian Champion Rides first U. S. Winner at Gulfstream Park

Italian Champion Rides first U. S. Winner at Gulfstream Park

01/13/2013

Cristian Demuro, the young Italian champion jockey, scored his first victory in the U.S. Sunday at Gulfstream Park, guiding favored Holdin Bullets to a two-length victory in the second-race.

The 20-year-old, who rode 264 winners in Italy the past year, is scheduled to ride at Gulfstream for a month and a half before riding in Japan for three months.

“I’m happy. This is my first win in USA. Gulfstream Park is a good track, and I’m happy for this. Wesley Ward is a good trainer and gave me a good chance to win,” Demuo said. “I’m happy.”

Holdin Bullets, the 8-5 favorite trained by Wesley Ward, broke alertly under Demuro to set the pace, challenged on his inside by Niam’s Strike. The eventual winner took the eight-horse field of $20,000-$15,000 claimers into the stretch, finally shaking a stubborn Niam’s Strike and posting a clear victory.

“The horse is fantastic, very fast. I was in first position and after the first corner, I go,” said Demuro, who rode in Dubai and Japan last winter.

Demuro, who’ll be represented by agent Ron Anderson at Gulfstream, is the younger brother of five-time Italian champion Mirco Demuro, who ride Victoire Pisa to victory in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) in 2011.

Demuro, who began riding in Italy at age 16 after attending Pisa Racing School, has fashioned a riding style similar to international star Frankie Dettori.

“It’s Italian, American and English,” Demuro said. “It’s many styles.”