Rosario quick to introduce himself
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Any doubts about whether Joel Rosario would have a major impact on the local jockey colony riding regularly here for the first time this winter were quickly erased opening weekend after he posted hat tricks on each of the first two cards of the 2012-13 session.
Rosario, 27, moved his tack to the East Coast from Southern California this past summer and had a successful stay in New York, finishing fourth in the standings at Saratoga and third during Belmont Park’s fall meeting. Rosario is not a total stranger to Gulfstream, having ridden Final Mesa to victory for Wesley Ward in the Grade 3 Old Hat in January 2011.
“I’m very happy to get off to a fast start,” said Rosario, who won two of the seven Claiming Crown races on Saturday’s card. “I decided first to try New York and then down here to Florida because I felt there were more opportunities on the East Coast. And it also puts me a lot closer to my family, who are in the Dominican Republic, than when I was riding in California.”
Rosario said part of his decision to come to south Florida for the winter also was weather-related.
“I have a lot of trainers down here I’ve been riding for in New York who race here during the winter,” said Rosario, whose engagements are being handled by veteran agent Ron Anderson. “And it’s also too cold up in New York during the winter. I love this weather. I love Florida.”