Luis Rivera Jr. said the credit for Strawberry Red’s victory in Friday night’s third race at Monmouth Park belonged to the horse’s owner, trainer, and jockey.
In other words, to him.
The 53-year-old rider posted his first victory as an owner, trainer, and jockey since Strawberry Red won at Monmouth Park on Aug. 8, 2018, when the gelded son of Regal Ransom rallied through the slop to overtake Victory Chimes for a victory in a $12,500 claimer. Strawberry Red paid $13.60 for his sixth career win.
“Everyone gets to celebrate this — the owner, trainer and jockey,” said Rivera, who took out his trainer’s license in June 2018. He has 1,560 winners in a riding career dating back to 1987.
Rivera’s La Familia Stable owns Strawberry Red, who came back to Rivera’s care from trainer Bill Hogan two starts ago. Strawberry Red won a race at Monmouth Park a year ago with Rivera as the trainer, but Isaac Castillo rode the horse.
The 2018 victory by Strawberry Red was the last time Rivera pulled off his “trifecta” as winning owner, trainer, and rider. That also marked his first victory as a trainer.
“I just get up every morning and start working,” Rivera said. “That’s all there is to it. I just have the one horse now that I own, train, and ride so that makes it a little easier. But this is why I keep doing this, for times like this. I love it.”
Rivera said he took out his training license “because I know I can’t ride forever. I need something to do when I stop riding.”
Editor’s note: On July 23 in the ninth race at Delaware Park, Kirsten Swan won an Arabian race aboard DEEMED A MISTRESS at 63.50-1 odds. Like Rivera, Swan also owns and trains the 5-year-old, Virginia-bred mare.
The $129 winner was Swan’s first victory as a trainer. She has amassed 74 victories between Thoroughbred and Arabian races as a rider since taking out her jockey’s license in 2008, according to Equibase statistics.