From Golden Gate Fields
Jockey Brayan Pena, a 24-year-old native of Guatemala, got his long-awaited first victory Saturday at Golden Gate Fields when he urged My Game to a neck decision over Mojave Heat in the second race.
Pena’s initial win came six years after he rode his first race at Calder Race Course in Florida on Sept. 1, 2008. Pena finished second that day and would ride in only seven more races in 2008. Pena competed in just seven races in 2009 and didn’t ride any races from 2010 to 2012.
“I was galloping horses for trainer Wesley Ward in Florida and just rode a few races to have some fun and learn some things,” said Pena. “I moved to Southern California in 2010 and went to work for trainer John Sadler.”
Pena planned to begin riding full time in 2013 but his campaign was stymied after one race due to immigration issues. Pena finished second in a race at Del Mar in his lone ride.
My Game was Pena’s third mount of 2014 – he rode in two races at Del Mar – and the 19th of his career. My Game won the one-mile race for $6,250 claimers in front-running fashion, digging in tenaciously under Pena to hold off Mohave Heat and Mystorynmstikntoit.
“It was the most exciting moment of my life,” said Pena of the victory. “I couldn’t wait to get to the winner’s circle to get my picture taken.”
My Game, a 6-year-old gelding who earned his second win in 10 starts, paid $17.40. Gloria Buckridge trains My Game and owns him in partnership with John Lee and Tom O’Brien.
Pena said he is now serious about a riding career and has hired “Oakland Ron” Freitas as his agent.
“This time I am focused on being a jockey,” said Pena.