By Jenny Kellner
Former jockey Robbie Davis got his first win as a trainer Saturday afternoon as 39-1 shot Sandyinthesun, ridden by his daughter, Jackie, got up by a nose to win the seventh race at Aqueduct Racetrack.
"To me, it’s better than any win I ever rode," said Davis, who co-owns the 4-year-old gelded son of Say Florida Sandy with Thomas Ponzarella. "It was an incredible race. It’s unimaginable, the feeling."
Sandyinthesun, who is the only horse Davis has in training, returned $81.50 for a $2 win bet as he won his first race in five starts.
"I am so happy," said Jackie Davis, who graduated from the North American Racing Academy in Versailles, Kentucky and rode her first winner at the Big A in 2008. "This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. This is like winning my first race."
Sandyinthesun, for whom Davis and Ponzarella paid $700 as a yearling, finished 11th in his first start at Saratoga Race Course in September, and was then off the board in three subsequent races. After he finished eighth in his most recent start on November 20, Davis equipped the New York-bred gelding with blinkers and he responded Saturday with a solid surge between horses in the stretch to win the 1 1/16-mile turf race in a bob at the wire.
"I’m just so thankful to get this horse to the races," said Davis. "I’m just so glad to be able to do this with Jackie and everybody here at Aqueduct. I’d like to thank the good Lord. It’s going to be a great Christmas for everybody."
Davis, who with his wife, Marguerite, owns an 80-acre horse farm in upstate New York near Saratoga, retired as a jockey in 2002 after winning 3,382 races and $115,732,836 in purses. A former director of the Jockey’s Guild, he served as his daughter’s agent for a time before taking out his trainer’s license, and returned to the saddle once, riding Sandyinthesun to a sixth-place finish at Belmont on October 23.
"We put the blinkers on him and he responded well with them," he said. "I thought, we have one last shot on the turf so let me get the blinkers on him. I always thought he was a turf horse and he finally responded for us. I’m ecstatic, just ecstatic. To be able to do it with my daughter and the family … I just couldn’t be happier with the way he performed today."