De La Cruz wins second leading jockey title

Fernando De La Cruz has been a force the entire 2016 racing season. The native of Peru led the standings for nearly all of the 120-day race meet and eventually, pulled away from the field, 48 wins ahead of his next closest opponent en route to his second title at Indiana Grand.

 

Fernando De La Cruz is joined by many family members as he accepts his second leading jockey award at Indiana Grand from Kevin Greely, director of racing, and Jon Schuster (far right), vice president and general manager of racing. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Fernando De La Cruz is joined by many family members as he accepts his second leading jockey award at Indiana Grand from Kevin Greely, director of racing, and Jon Schuster (far right), vice president and general manager of racing. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

De La Cruz won the title at Indiana Grand in 2014. During that season, he earned 130 wins. De La Cruz reached that tally Friday, Oct. 28 as part of his four-win afternoon, bringing his tally heading into the final night of racing to 131 wins. The mark is the second largest in the history of the track behind Malcolm Franklin’s record of 158 wins during the 2013 racing season.

“Fernando (De La Cruz) has had a very impressive year,” said Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing. “We appreciate the class you bring to our racing program and congratulate you for your success this year.”

 De La Cruz was joined by many of his family members in the winner’s circle. Schuster and Kevin Greely, director of racing, made the winner’s circle presentation.

 De La Cruz was the leading jockey at Hoosier Park for their final Thoroughbred meet in 2012. He also maintains a spot among the track’s top 10 jockeys at Tampa Bay Downs each winter. De La Cruz has earned several stakes wins in 2016, including $100,000 Brickyard Stakes aboard Bucchero. He and his family have been in the United States since 2009 and since that time, he has maintained a position among Indiana’s top 10 riders each season.

 “I’m very happy right now,” said De La Cruz. “I want to thank my family because they support me and keep me working hard. I also want to thank my agent (Don Cespedes) for his hard work and to all the owners and trainers who gave me the opportunity to ride, especially trainers Brad Cox and Marvin Johnson.”

 Racing dates for 2017 will be approved and announced soon by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.