Flores to retire from saddle, become trainer

DEL MAR, Calif. -- Jockey David Flores is retiring this weekend.

Flores said Wednesday that he plans to ride at least through Friday at Del Mar, and possibly through the weekend, before relocating to Ocala, Fla., to begin a training operation focused on pinhooking yearlings.

Flores has spent time working in a similar capacity in Florida in recent years, but said he wants to train full time. He said he could have runners at Florida's racetracks in 2018.

"For me, it's a transition from being a jockey for 33 years to doing something that is new but a full-time job," he said in the Del Mar stables.

"I want to retire. I had a great career and I want to end it at Del Mar. I started here in 1989 when I moved from Tijuana. I got my license here and I want to end it here, too."

Flores said he plans to spend time with family in the next week before traveling to Florida in early August.

As of Wednesday, Flores's final mount was unclear. He is booked to ride three horses Friday -- Fly as a Falcon in the first race, Cafe Flavor in the seventh, and Monetary Policy in the eighth race. He said he might gain other mounts on Saturday and Sunday.

A native of Mexico, Flores, 49, has won 3,608 races in North America and has also ridden in other countries, such as Dubai, England, France, and Singapore. He rode his first winner in 1984 at Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico, and quickly became established in Southern California after moving to this circuit in 1989.

Flores won his first Grade 1 race on Marquetry in the 1991 Hollywood Gold Cup. Marquetry was trained by Bobby Frankel, with whom Flores had a close relationship in the 1990s. For Frankel, Flores won the 1998 Kentucky Oaks with Keeper Hill.

Flores had his best season in 1999, the year he won seven Grade 1 races, including four at Del Mar for trainer Bob Baffert. Flores's mount earned a personal best $11.9 million that season.

In the early 2000s, Flores won three Breeders' Cup races -- the Juvenile Fillies with Tempera at Belmont Park in 2001; the Juvenile with Action This Day at Santa Anita in 2003; and the BC Mile with Singletary the following year at Lone Star Park.

In recent years, Flores was closely allied with trainer Wesley Ward. They won the Group 1 Prix Morny in France with No Nay Never. In June, Flores rode Bound to Nowhere to a fourth-place finish in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in England.

Through Tuesday, Flores has 34 wins this year, including with Iron Rob at Del Mar last Saturday.