Santa Anita Press Release
by Ed Golden
It was business as usual Sunday morning for 23-year-old Santa Anita newcomer Angel (pronounced AIN-jell, as in a celestial being) Cruz and his 26-year-old agent, Matt Nakatani, son of Corey Nakatani.
Cruz won his first race at Santa Anita Saturday with only his second mount this meet, piloting The Hunted to an impressive 5 ¼-length win at nearly 8-1 for trainer Richard Baltas.
“We were both very excited,” Matt said of the victory in the one mile turf event in which The Hunted launched a five-wide bid on the second turn and drew clear in the stretch.
“This is Angel’s fourth year of riding. He came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico when he was 11 years old. He grew up with the Ortiz brothers (Irad Jr. and Jose, currently dominating racing anywhere they choose to hang their tack).
“They taught him how to ride.”
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.