Don’t let the looks fool you.
Behind Pablo Morales’ youthful appearance hides a ruthless competitor.
âHe looks so nice and polite,â said his agent, Paula Bacon, laughing, as these are actually two traits that Morales possesses in abundance. “But he’s actually a baby-faced sniper disguised as a sheep.”
Bacon’s metaphor was not far off the past two Saturdays at Tampa Bay Downs. After riding five winners on Jan.1, Morales did it again today, starting 4-4 ââbefore calming down to go 5-8 with one second.
(Tampa Bay Downs)
The performance gives Morales 23 wins in the competition, placing him tied for the first time with Antonio Gallardo. This is the third time Morales has won five races on a Tampa Bay Downs map.
âUnreal. It was awesome, what can I say?â Said Morales. âI’m as happy as I can get. This game is really weird, and we just have to stay in it everyday. It’s things like this that help me keep going, no matter what.
Bacon, a former jockey, said all the pieces were in place for the 33-year-old Lima, Peru product to compete for his first competitive title at the Tampa Bay Downs. Morales won seven titles at Presque Isle Downs, where he more than doubled second with 120 winners last season.
âHe gets good mounts and he makes them count,â Bacon said. âIt drives incredibly well. He has a lot of natural physical abilities, he understands right away and he makes smart decisions in his races.
Bacon, who looked at today’s card at home, marveled at Morales’ winning run in race five, a first class claiming a mile on turf for the 3-year-old fillies. After keeping his mount, the gray filly of trainer Tim Hamm Music Amore, in an early stalking position, Morales spotted a turn opening for the house and headed Music Amore to the Promised Land, resulting in a victory of ‘a length and a half of Sign and Seal.
âHe made the last second decision to take the home turn, and I thought it was a very smart decision,â Bacon said. “When he changed course to get inside, I thought it won the race for him.”
Morales’ winning streak was interrupted in the seventh turf race, the Lambholm South Race of the Week, when he finished second aboard Pythoness by a half-length at Bleecker Street, a 4-year-old filly. years ridden by Hector Rafael Diaz, Jr., and coached by Chad Brown.
âYeah, it took dang Chad Brown to get it,â Bacon said of the four-time Eclipse Award-winning coach.
Morales’ first victory came in race two on Daily Briefing, a 4 year old filly owned by Curragh Stables and trained by John P. Terranova, II. She paid $ 8.40 to win as a second bet pick.
Morales won the third race on Bear Creek, a 5 year old gelding owned by Mark Hoffman and trained by Dennis Ward. He paid $ 10.80 to win.
After missing out on fourth place and winning 2-1 over favorite Music Amore, Morales won race six over favorite 5-2 Curlin’s Thrill, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Sabal Racing Stable and Patrick Rhodes and trained by Darien Rodriguez .
The jockey’s fifth victory came in race ninth, a comeback from 5-year-old Florida gelding Cajun Casanova, owned by Monster Racing Stables and coached by Jose H. Delgado. Cajun Casanova paid $ 5.80 to win as a second choice bet. âThis horse just ran huge today,â said Morales. âHe ran against tough horses, but when things go like that, he’s a monster. He loved to run and he gives it all.
Bacon, who retired as a jockey since 2002, is looking forward to teaming up with Morales throughout the season in hopes of fighting for the top spot.
âWe still have to work our buttocks to get anywhere,â she said. “It’s a very deep colony of jockeys, but I know Pablo will stick to the task.”
Morales agrees with Bacon’s assessment that he is physically and mentally capable of wrestling. âI’m fit and healthy, and that’s the main thing. I will continue to work and wait for the right opportunities, and when I get them thank goodness I can prove myself because by proving myself to the coaches and owners they will choose to ride me. Obviously, I can’t do anything without their help, âhe said.
âI am extremely grateful for all the connections. I do it for myself, my family and the people who support me. It can be kind of a roller coaster here, but days like this put me in a fight, and hopefully I’ll be able to stay busier.