Lopez Wins Apprentice Jockey Eclipse Award

by Laura Pepper

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Former Quarter Horse rider Pascacio “Paco” Lopez is already making his mark in Thoroughbred racing and hopes to continue his success.

In 2008, Lopez finished 16th in North America by wins with 229. He was Gulfstream Park’s leading apprentice and won a riding title at Calder Race Course.

“I didn’t expect to do so well, but thank God everything went well and they gave me the opportunity to do very well,” Lopez said.

Agent Cory Moran has handled Lopez’s book during his championship season, ten years after helping Shaun Bridgmohan win the Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice in 1998.

“[Lopez is] a good rider, he saves ground, and he’s one of the better riders I’ve had, and I’ve had a lot of leading riders,” Moran said. “I’m excited about him. I think he’s going to do good, real good.”

Lopez won 13 stakes races in four months at Calder. His favorite moment was riding Big Drama to victory in each of the three divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes series.

“The biggest part to me was winning the Stallion Stakes, because you can count with your hands how many people have won that,” Lopez said.