Wilko Rum is the first horse ever to run in the Manitoba Derby after beginning his career in Puerto Rico. The chestnut colt made his first six lifetime starts at Hipodromo Camarero, formerly known as El Comandante Race Track, 20 minutes outside San Juan.
Puerto Rico has a long and storied racing history that includes Eclipse Award winning jockey Angel Cordero as well as 1976 Kentucky Derby-G1 winner Bold Forbes, 1990 Santa Anita Derby-G1 winner Mr. Frisky, and Camarero, who holds the world record for winning 56 races in a row!
Wilko Rum would like to add to that history and he appears to be moving in the right direction for Alberta horse whisperer Wally T.M. Pugh and Pan Am Racing Stable.
He made his first start in North America on April 11, 2014, at Pimlico Race Course, finishing fourth in a six furlong allowance race. He then ventured to Charles Town and scored an off the pace victory in an allowance race going 1 1/16-miles over a sloppy track. After a two-month layoff he returned to finish third in a one-mile allowance race at Mountaineer Park, which should have him perfectly prepped for the Manitoba Derby.
Already proven over a distance of ground, Wilko Rum is by 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1 winner Wilko, and is slated to be ridden by J.D. Acosta, one of the top jockeys in North America who currently leads the standings at Charles Town with 92 wins.
A native of Puerto Rico, Acosta finished third in North America by number of wins in 2013 with 218. He's won six riding titles and over 2,600 races, highlighted by a victory aboard Sweet Goodbye in the 2010 Barbara Fritchie Handicap-G2.