angle-left Nutrena Challenge Champion Jockey

Nutrena Challenge Champion Jockey

Challenge champion jockey Ricardo Moreno is having a great year.

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By Andrea Caudill

It’s been a great year for jockey Ricardo Moreno.

First, he has been honored as the 2019 Nutrena Challenge Champion Jockey. But even better, he is a newlywed and is expecting his first child. 

“This is my year,” he says with a delighted smile. 

Moreno grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and his uncle Armando Andrade taught him how to ride. He worked on a ranch as a kid and began match riding at age 12. 

In 2013, he made a big move – all the way to Canada. There he began riding in recognized races, and has a win-place-show record of more than 60%, including 137 wins in 465 starts and earnings of more than $820,000.  

For years he has dated Haley Leech, the daughter of trainer William Leech, and who as of September 19 became Haley Moreno. They are expecting a child in March.

This year, Moreno won an impressive four of five Challenge races, with one second-place finish, which nudged him to the top of the standings to become the Nutrena Challenge Champion Jockey.

Among his victories are with Stripsteak in the Bank of America Evergreen Championship Challenge, Getit Hot in the Adequan® Evergreen Park Derby Challenge, True Copy in the ARC Evergreen Park Distaff Challenge and Gone To Be Bright in the Cox Ranch Evergreen Park Distance Challenge. 

The family has brought all three horses down to the Challenge Championships, where each horse will contest their respective championship races with Moreno in the saddle. 

For the Nutrena Challenge Champion Jockey victory, he earns $2,500 cash and a custom buckle from Awards Recognition Concepts.

“Every Challenge race I’ve won has been a big win for me,” Moreno said. “I am so happy (to earn this award). I work every day for this, and am happy to ride nice horses.”

He thanked the owners for letting him ride their horses, and his new father-in-law and other trainers he has ridden for this year. 

“I’m just proud of him,” his wife said. “He’s worked really hard.” 

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