Watch: no stirrups, no problem as jockey delivers remarkable winning ride
Losing both irons coming out of the stalls usually means a jockey's race is over before it has begun – unless you're Alex Cruz.
The US-based rider showed great skill and determination to post a remarkable success on Akasi at Emerald Downs on Sunday, having lost the use of his stirrups for the entire 5½f contest.
Three-race maiden Akasi caused the equipment malfunction by darting right exiting the stalls, leaving Cruz with seemingly no other option than trying to stay aboard.
With the filly well adrift of the field in the back straight – and not even in camera shot – her backers could have been forgiven for tearing up their tickets.
Wait for it— TVG (@TVG) September 19, 2021
Full race replay & reaction here from @ChristinaBlackr & @TVGMike of the 4th from @EmeraldDowns!
Is this your nominee for TVG's Wild Ride of 2021??
Alex Cruz aboard #7 Akasi pic.twitter.com/wSpb8nrykX
But as the camera panned out as the field turned in, the David Martinez-trained two-year-old reappeared charting a wide course with Cruz sitting high in the saddle.
Akasi still looked to have plenty to do to get involved, but she gradually started to pick up and went past two of her four rivals.
Entering the final furlong, Cruz's mount was only in third place but with the jockey somehow managing to use his whip, she charged home for the unlikeliest of victories.
The success enhanced the Puerto Rican jockey's already lofty status at Emerald Downs as this summer he racked up a course record by winning at least one race at 44 consecutive fixtures at the Washington track.
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