European jockey Andrea Atzeni, a rising international star, will relocate to California for early winter, adding depth to a Santa Anita colony already strengthened by the return of East Coast jockey Joel Rosario.
Atzeni, 27, was scheduled to arrive Thursday from England, where he is among the country’s leading riders and was the regular jockey for multiple Group 1 winner Postponed. Atzeni, who has won more than two dozen Group 1 races, will make his Santa Anita debut on Friday.
The Italian-born Atzeni plans to ride in California for “about six weeks” before he returns to England, according to his local agent, Matt Nakatani. Atzeni is booked on two mounts Friday and two Saturday, including Kodiak West in the Grade 1 American Oaks. Atzeni’s first ride Friday is on race-4 contender Rather Nosy in a maiden race on the downhill turf course. His initial mounts are for trainers Simon Callaghan and Neil Drysdale.
Though he will be riding for the first time at Santa Anita, Atzeni is no stranger to North American racing. On Oct. 13 at Woodbine, Atzeni won two Grade 1’s – the E.P. Taylor with Sheikha Reika and Canadian International with Desert Encounter.
Atzeni has ridden in five Breeders’ Cup races the past two years. He was aboard high-odds runners and none finished in the money. This year in England, Atzeni was the sixth-leading jockey with 86 wins, according to the Professional Jockeys Association.
Atzeni and Rosario, who plans to ride at Santa Anita until spring, bolster a Santa Anita colony that also includes locally based Flavien Prat, Drayden Van Dyke, Mike Smith, Joe Talamo, Giovanni Franco and Rafael Bejarano.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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