Singapore’s leading rider says he’ll be back
By J.J. Hysell
Jockey Joao Moriera’s whirlwind weekend started at Arlington on Saturday and ended with a second-place finish in a stakes race at Churchill Downs on Monday.
Moreira, an internationally recognized rider who is a three-time champion jockey in Singapore, came to the U.S. to ride for trainer Wesley Ward. His trip was delayed a couple of days due to a visa snafu, but once he got here, he immediately acclimated to the American racing scene.
In his first race at Arlington, Moreira finished third on the Ward-trained Finura in a turf test. He was second aboard Sisterhood for Ward and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron.
Moreira picked up a mount in an additional stakes race with the absence of Garrett Gomez, who took the day off after being involved in a spill at Hollywood Park on Friday. Moreira guided Procurement to a fifth-place finish in the Arlington Classic for Tom Proctor and Glen Hill Farm.
The next day, Moreria – who has raced at venues throughout the world, including Australia, France, Dubai and Hong Kong – made his first visit to Churchill Downs. After a spin over the track that resulted in a third place finish with Seans Silverdancer in an allowance, Moreira found the winner’s circle.
He tallied his first North American victory with a 25-1 shot, Princess Millie, in the last race of the day for Ward, the trainer that made it all happen.
On Monday, Moreira completed his U.S. tour with a second aboard favorite Judy the Beauty in the Grade 3 Winning Colors.
“It’s been fantastic,” the native of Brazil said of the trip.
When asked if he eyed the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in November at Santa Anita for his return, he replied: “I hope so. . . if I can get a good ride.”
“If there is really an opportunity for me (to ride in the U.S.), I will definitely grab it.”