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Racing News

COTTO SCORES CAREER VICTORY NO. 1,000 ON OLDSMAR OVAL’S CLOSING DAY
Published May 4, 2024
by Mike Henry
pedrocotto
Pedro Cotto, Jr.

For much of his 22-year career, jockey Pedro Cotto, Jr., has flown beneath the radar as a journeyman riding around the edges of fame and fortune.

Given a chance to reach a career milestone in today’s eighth race at Tampa Bay Downs on 5-year-old gelding Skipperini, Cotto responded with a flawless performance worthy of his sport’s top practitioners.

Cotto kept Skipperini off the pace set by Sandy Lane Kitten in the mile-and-a-sixteenth claiming race on the turf, then took control in the stretch before holding off Initforthelove by a half-length. Skipperini paid $31.60 to win.

Today was the final day of the 2023-2024 Oldsmar meet.

“There have been ups and downs in my career, but I’m glad I made it,” Cotto said. “I hope I can get another 1,000, but it is what it is. I plan to keep going.”

Skipperini, a Florida-bred, is owned by Acclaimed Racing Stable and trained by Darien Rodriguez.

“I think it’s great. I’m happy for him,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a hard-working guy and he rode this horse perfect.”

In addition to competing during the afternoons, Cotto has worked as an exercise rider this season for leading trainer Kathleen O’Connell. “Her getting the training title makes this milestone more special to me,” Cotto said.

“I’m glad it happened here because this has been my second home,” said Cotto, a 39-year-old product of Carolina, Puerto Rico who is moving his tack to Delaware Park. “My family and friends always tell me I have the ability and the health to keep doing it, and I agree. Working for (O’Connell) has helped me a lot with my fitness and mentally, and I feel on top of my game.

“Anywhere I go, I feel it’s going to be a good year.”    

pedrocotto
Pedro Cotto, Jr.

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