Joe Badilla Returns to Riding

Champion jockey returns after eight year absence.

Q-Racing Journal

Joe Badilla aboard his All American Futurity winner A Delightful Dasher. PHOTO: AQHA Photo

On May 11, champion jockey Joe Badilla Jr. rode his first race in eight years, and he made it a winning one.

Mounted on 21 Partnership’s Zoomin Away, Badilla proved he hadn’t lost a step as he won the Zoetis SunRay Starter Allowance Challenge at SunRay Park as the even-money favorite.

He is also named to ride Hector Borunda Cardena's Apollitical Rally in Race 3 at SunRay Park on Sunday.

Badilla began riding in 1990, and has mount earnings of more than $23.2 million.

He took 2005 off from riding, then stopped riding again after making 58 starts in 2006.

He was the sport’s champion jockey in 1995, 1998-99 and 2001.

Among his biggest wins were the 1999 All American Futurity (G1) win A Delightful Dasher, Los Alamitos Million (G1) victories aboard Kingman Kid and Evening Snow and the 2002 Champion of Champions (G1) with Whosleavingwho.

Since 2005, Badilla has worked as a trainer. Among his stakes winners is Grade 2 winner Zulu Dragon ($181,009).

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