Adolfo MORALES had a little extra spring in his step this week. Considering his recent red-hot streak, that saw him win six races over three days, including two $30,000 stakes races (Saturday on C.C. Ride in the Agassiz and Golden Stripe in the Distaff) who would blame him?
But the icing on his cake, was that he had recently purchased the perfect gift for his wife Paola's 42 birthday.
"I bought her a horse," he said Tuesday morning at Assiniboia Downs. "He's a five-year-old appaloosa pony named Joey. My wife, who I haven't seen all summer, can ride very well. She used to jump, but now she rides around the neighborhood just for fun. In Phoenix you can even ride your horse in the streets."
'People tell me that I'm crazy that on my time off I go riding with my wife because, you know, I am riding every day.
But there are a bunch of beautiful places around Phoenix where you can ride your horse.
In fact you can ride around right in your own neighbourhood'
With 15 racing days left, jockeys have only 13 days from the last date here (Sept. 22), and opening day (Oct. 5) at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, where many, including Morales, migrate to for the winter season.
So how does this Peruvian-born jockey, who calls Phoenix home, relieve the stress of having to produce every day as well as overcome the long summer months away from his family, which includes his daughter Ximena, 12, and son Alonso, 18?
First of all, he plans to spend a couple days in Hawaii with Paola before Turf Paradise opens. Then, as often as he can work them in, he plans to take long rides with her in the countryside and hills surrounding their home.
"People tell me that I'm crazy that on my time off I go riding with my wife," he said laughing, "because, you know, I am riding every day. But there are a bunch of beautiful places around Phoenix where you can ride your horse. In fact you can ride around right in your own neighbourhood. I board my horses a couple of blocks from my house. So I can just walk over there to get my horse anytime I want. Paola rides every morning."
Another reason Morales is so pumped is his 29 per cent winning percentage.
"That is exceptionally high," he said. "That's one win for every three races. Paul Nolan is next with 21."
Jennifer Reid, who is third in the win standings sits at 16 per cent.
Only wins count when deciding top jockey, but that race is beginning to heat up as Morales with 54 wins is only one behind Nolan, who has 55.
Morales is also tied with Christopher Husbands as top stakes winner with four, including earlier wins in the R.C. Anderson (July 13) and Gold Strike Mile (July 27), both on A Girl's Gotta Do.
Morales pointed out that his two stakes wins Saturday could have just as easily been three.
"On Friday I also ran second in the CTHS Stakes (on Smoke Show). In Peru I was known for my stakes riding," said the only jockey to ever win all four legs of Peru's Quadruple Crown in 1992 on Stash. "The first time I raced here, I won the Manitoba Derby (Smuggler's Hold) and finished second in the Assiniboia Oaks (on Himynameissarah)."
Last year, he rode in four stakes races here, finishing third in both the R.J. Speers (I Am Awesome) and the Oaks (Rehab Your Soul). In the other two, he was out of the money.
In tonight's third race, Morales will step into the irons of Regal Silver for the running of the $30,000 Debutant Stakes for two-year-old fillies.
Post times tonight and Saturday are 7 p.m.