After spending all of 2021 and the first half of 2022 competing at Gulfstream Park with limited success, former New York standout Angel Arroyo is hoping to rejuvenate his career at Tampa Bay Downs.
The early returns are promising. With retired jockey Jose Angel Garcia as his agent, the Panama product has ridden five winners, including an impressive gate-to-wire score on 8-1 shot Duke Skywalker in today’s first race.
“That’s the main reason I came here – to get some of my business back,” said Arroyo, who rode 100 or more winners each year from 2010-13 and again in 2017. He was the leading rider at Parx Racing in 2012 with 160 victories.
From 2014-17, Arroyo won five graded stakes in New York, three on the New York-bred filly Highway Star.
Arroyo and Garcia joined forces at Colonial Downs in Virginia during the summer. Garcia said Arroyo fits well with the Tampa Bay Downs colony because of his experience and aggressive approach, which he displayed by hustling Duke Skywalker out of the gate to upset a 3-10 favorite.
“He is a very good gate rider and he is aggressive down the lane,” Garcia said. “Right now, we’re going step by step. I think he is already showing everybody what he can do, and trainers have to take a look at what he’s capable of.”
“I like Tampa, and working with Jose is like having two heads for every race,” Arroyo said.
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