Keiber Coa Returns, Speechify Makes Impressive Debut
By Keiber Coa Returns, Speechify Makes Impressive Debut
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Keiber Coa finished second aboard Fazed in yesterday’s first race at Gulfstream Park, but the 20-year-old was still happy to be home.
The graduate of Davie’s Western High School, who had been riding at Monmouth Park most recently, plans to compete regularly at Gulfstream through the summer and early fall.
“Monmouth is going to go to two days next month, so I’d rather be home,” said Coa, the son of popular retired jockey Eibar Coa, the winner of 4,080 races who will serve as his agent in South Florida. “I’ll be riding here until going back to Aqueduct for the winter.”
Coa rode his first race in the U.S. at Gulfstream on Dec. 17, 2011 before moving on to Santa Anita, where he rode his first career winner, Five Star Cruise, on March 10, 2012.
He graduated from the Laffit Pincay Jr. Jockey School on Dec. 4, 2011 and rode his first race in Panama before returning to the U.S. Shortly after enrolling in the world’s premier riding school, his father was involved in a horrific accident at Gulfstream in which he was left paralyzed from the neck down due to a fracture of his C-4 vertebra. After visiting his father in the hospital, Coa decided to return to the jockey school and, two months later, his father miraculously walked out of the Memorial Regional Hospital South in Hollywood.
The younger Coa enjoyed a productive apprenticeship, which ended last month, particularly at Aqueduct, where he finished seventh in the winter/spring standings with 32 winners.
“Riding in New York was a good experience. There are a lot of good jockeys there. I learned a lot,” Coa said.
Speechify Impressive Winner for Team Valor
Team Valor International's Speechify, a 3-year-old son of Harlan's Holiday trained by Ralph Nicks, made an impressive debut here Saturday when he drew away to a 10 1/2- length victory while covering six furlongs in 1:12.02 under jockey Juan Leyva.
"Ralph told me from the beginning he liked this horse," said Leyva, referring to Nicks, who was in Saratoga. "He always did everything easily and professionally, just like he ran today. He broke super sharp and I was able to get him where I wanted to be, outside, and when I asked him turning for home to kick in, he did."
Speechify is out of the stakes-placed Saint Ballado mare, Preach It, who broke her maiden at Gulfstream March 7, 2004.