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Kentucky Derby - Jockey Santos: Santos follows his dream all the way to the winner's circle at Churchill Downs.


VICTORY on Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby completed a rare double for jockey Jose Santos, who last October recorded an even bigger upset when winning the Breeders' Cup Classic on Volponi.

Winning America's two most prestigious races within such a short time completes the Chilean's return to the big time. His career took a relative nosedive in the mid-1990s after he had been North America's leading jockey in terms of prize-money earnings for four consecutive years (1986-89).

"I always have a dream to win the Kentucky Derby," said Santos, his broken English reflecting his roots even though he has been based in the US since 1984.

"I saw the famous Secretariat in 1973 and I was watching in 1978 when I saw Steve Cauthen win," he added. "I was 18 years old and I say `one day I want to be there'. Today it was the day."

Santos, who grew up with six brothers and one sister, started as a groom at 15 in Chile. "We were poor," he said. "We didn't eat so good. I went to school for only six years."

He was already one of the top riders in South America when he left for richer pickings in the States. "I got the opportunity to ride great horses," he said. "I'm still riding great horses - and riding Funny Cide has given me the thrill of my life."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:1U6KY
Date:May 5, 2003
Previous Article:Kentucky Diary: Time to reflect, amidst the grandeur and the nonsense; Nicholas Godfrey on the day after the greatest two minutes in sport.
Next Article:2,000 Guineas reaction/Derby: Guineas hero in the pink: Derby next.

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