Jockey Santos has earned his place in winner's circle

By BRIAN RICKERD State Journal Sports Writer Published:

LOUISVILLE - The Kentucky Derby is for dreamers.

Add the name of jockey Jose Santos to the exclusive club.

Santos guided 12-1 shot, Funny Cide, to the winner's circle Saturday in the 129th running of the Derby, fighting off favored Empire Maker and Peace Rules down the stretch.

Santos said he came a long way to win the Derby.

He was referring to the journey from his home base of New York, where Funny Cide was bred and where Santos does most of his riding.

But, in fact, Santos came a lot farther than that.

He came some 30 years and thousands of miles from his home land of Chili.

Santos said he saw his first Kentucky Derby in 1973 when he was 12-years-old and the legendary Secretariat won the race.

Santos was living in poverty in Chili then, working as a groom and selling newspapers, trying to help he and his six brothers and one sister survive.

For more on this story, see Sunday's State Journal.

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