After riding in Saudi Arabia for the past four months, jockey Alan Garcia scored aboard his first mount back in the U.S. in Tuesday’s first race at Gulfstream Park. The 29-year-old journeyman guided My Dear Regina ($12.60) for an off-the-pace victory in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.
“It’s a great way to come back,” said Garcia, who last rode in the U.S. at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.
Garcia said he enjoyed his experience in Saudi Arabia.
“It was a great experience. I rode a lot of nice horses there,” he said. “I rode horses for King Abdullah and a lot of princes. I can’t complain.”
Garcia began his career in his native Peru in 2002-2003 before coming to the U.S., where he quickly established himself as a successful rider in New York and New Jersey. Career highlights include winning rides aboard Da’ Tara in the 2008 Belmont Stakes (G1) and Lahudood in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1).
Garcia is scheduled to ride at Gulfstream Park for three weeks before venturing to Canada to ride full-time at Woodbine Race Course, which opens its 2015 meet on April 11.