Prominent Russian Jockey Magomet Kappushev Makes U.S. Debut in First Race

Prominent Russian Jockey Magomet Kappushev Makes U.S. Debut in First Race


Prominent Russian Jockey Magomet Kappushev Makes U.S. Debut in First Race

            HALLANDALE BEACH – Magomet Kappushev, who once trained and rode horses for Russian President Vladimir Putin, made his U.S. riding debut at Gulfstream Park Monday, guiding Lucky Black to a second-place finish in the first race.

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

            Kappushev, who has competed throughout Europe, as well as in Dubai and Asia, tracked the leaders in fourth place aboard Lucky Black before urging the 2-year-old daughter of Hard Spun for her run in the stretch, settling for second on the 12-1 shot, three lengths behind odds-on favorite Hot Stuff. The 41-year-old veteran also rode in the fifth race, finishing fourth aboard 30-1 longshot Daddy’s Kid.

            Among the horses he trained for Putin were three Arabians that were a gift from King Abdullah of Jordan. Putin also gifted Kappushev with a watch for his achievements in the resurgent racing industry in Russia.

            “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 plans to remain in Florida for the foreseeable future.

            “I just had a baby boy (Timur) born here in Miami, so I’m planning to stay here and ride in Florida,” Kappushev said.

            Viva Rafaela Returns to Winning Form in Feature

Brazilian import Viva Rafaela scored her first victory in the U.S in Monday’s featured seventh race, drawing off to a 1 ½-length victory under Hall of Famer Edgar Prado.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old daughter of Know Heights had run twice at Saratoga since shipping from Brazil, where she captured the Grade 1 Brazilian Oaks.

Sent to post as the 9-5 favorite, Viva Rafaela pressed the early pace into the stretch before surging to the lead and continuing on to her third victory in nine starts. She ran the 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:45.69. Glamour N Glory closed for second under Joe Bravo, 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Puzzling and jockey Jose Lezcano.

Who's Hot: Jockey Paco Lopez, who rode three winners Sunday, scored a double aboard Hot Stuff ($3.40) in the first and Hey Leroy ($19) in the fourth. Apprentice Jonathan Gonzales also doubled with I Aint’s Gonna Lie ($5.80) in the sixth and Uptown Charmer ($21.40) in the eighth race.

            Rainbow 6 Payoff:  $14,942.83