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After much pain, jockey Romero Maragh is a winner again at Gulfstream Park

Jamaica Observer 2020-02-14 11:27:57

Romero Maragh celebrated a “special” moment in the Gulfstream Park winners' circle Wednesday (February 12) when the 19-year-old apprentice jockey rode his first winner since fracturing two vertebrae in a January 31, 2019 spill.

Maragh, who underwent surgery to fuse four vertebrae, made his return to riding on January 19 at Gulfstream before scoring aboard Allabouthedrama, a US$14.40 winner in Wednesday's second race.

“It's very special – it's been over a year – after all the pain and everything I've been through,” said Maragh, crediting his family and girlfriend with supporting him through his recovery and during his successful comeback.

Prior to being sidelined, Maragh had won 85 races, including two aboard Maximum Security. He guided the future Eclipse Award champion in his 9 ¾-length debut victory in US$16,000 maiden claiming race on December 20, 2018. Then he scored a 6 ½-length optional claiming starter allowance win aboard the future Florida Derby (G1) winner on January 27, 2019, four days before being sidelined.

The Hollywood, Florida, native had to work a lot harder to win with Allaboutthedrama than he did with Maximum Security, who went on to hit the wire first in the Kentucky Derby. After pressing the pace on the inside while lapped on Two Cents Worth along the backstretch and into the homestretch, Allaboutthedrama responded to Maragh's vigorous handling to pull away to a 2 ¼-length victory.

“She broke sharp, but I was committed because I was the inside horse. I was putting a little pressure on her the whole way, but I had to keep her there or lose position. I don't think I would have won [otherwise],” the cousin of journeyman jockey Rajiv Maragh said.

It didn't take Maragh long to find the winners' circle again. He came back in Race 8 to guide Lady Archa (US$6.40) with an off-the-pace score.