LEXINGTON, KY (April 20, 2017) – It has been a very good five days for jockey Paco Lopez.
The 31-year-old native of Mexico, who earned the Eclipse Award as North America’s top apprentice in 2008, made his way into the Keeneland records on Saturday by winning his first two stakes here. Following a three-day break with his family in South Florida, Lopez again found the winner’s circle on his first mount Wednesday, Amberspatriot for John Hancock.
Lopez, who first rode at Keeneland during the 2012 Fall Meet, on April 15 won the Ben Ali (G3) on Watershed and topped off the day with the head victory by Dickinson over Lady Eli in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1).
“I could have gone inside or outside,” Lopez said of the stretch run. “Lady Eli got the jump on me, but I was confident Dickinson could run her down.”
Lopez has won all three times he has ridden the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee.
“The first time I saw her run was at Parx and she won really easily,” Lopez said of the Sept. 6 allowance race that Dickinson won by 4½ lengths in her grass debut. In that race, Lopez finished third, nearly 10 lengths back on another entrant.
Lopez picked up the mount on Dickinson for the Feb. 11 Suwannee River (G3) when previous rider John Velazquez was out of town for the day.
“She pulled away real easy that day at Gulfstream,” said Lopez, who followed that victory with a score in the Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 11.
Dickinson is pointing to the $700,000 Just A Game (G1) at a mile at Belmont Park on June 10 and a possible rematch with Lady Eli, who is undefeated in four starts over the Belmont turf.
“A lot can happen with these fillies,” Lopez said about the possibility of meeting Lady Eli again. “But my filly, she is a very nice filly.”