HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Apprentice jockey Stephanie LaRicci sent Language of Love to the lead shortly after the start of Sunday’s third race at Gulfstream and continued on to record her first career victory aboard her very first mount.
“It was incredible. We broke and I said, ‘I’m going to lay off the speed horse.’ And then I said, ‘Wait, I am the speed horse,’’ LaRicci said. “It felt easy when we were going around the turn. I didn’t want to look back, and I said, ‘Come on, baby, take it home.’”
Language of Love returned $22 to win after prevailing by 3 ½ lengths in the six-furlong maiden claiming race.
“I’ve wanted to do this since I was a little girl. I didn’t think it would happen. I thought I was getting a little too old,” said the 25-year-old native of Homestead, FL, who was accompanied to the winner’s circle by her parents.
LaRicci has worked for David Fawkes, the trainer of Language of Love, during her four years on the racetrack.
“She started out walking. Shortly after she started galloping. She’s been galloping steady for 3 ½ years,” Fawkes said. “She’s done a great job and she deserves this opportunity.”
Upon her return to the jockey’s room, LaRicci received the traditional shower of ice water, baby powder and raw eggs, courtesy of the track’s veteran riders.