Leonel Reyes Notches 500th U.S. Victory
Hits Milestone Aboard Half to Rombauer
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jockey Leonel Reyes rode his 500th winner in the U.S. in style Sunday, guiding Republique, a half-sister to 2021 Preakness (G1) winner Rombauer, to a thoroughly professional triumph in the Race 9 feature at Gulfstream Park.
“Thank God and all the owners who have helped me,” Reyes said. “I’m so happy. I had records in Venezuela but 500 in the U.S. makes me proud.”
John Fradkin and Jane Fradkin’s Republique, who graduated in her debut over Gulfstream’s Tapeta surface at 5 ½ furlongs April 14, came right back to win around two turns on the all-weather surface Sunday. The homebred daughter of Strong Mandate pressed the pace before taking over on the turn into the homestretch and going on to score by a length.
“She’s a good filly. She got good position and when I asked her, she ran strong to the end,” Reyes said.
Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., Republic ran a mile and 70 yards in 1:41.35.
The 35-year-old journeyman, a two-time national champion in Venezuela, ventured to the U.S. in 2016 and has established himself as a year-round force in Gulfstream Park’s jockey colony.
Reyes, who scored his first victory in the U.S. aboard Virgen Morena March 23, 2016, was a nine-time titlist at National Racetrack Valencia. He rode more than 1400 winners in Venezuela before relocating to South Florida.