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“I have super people around me,” she said. “Between my agent (Danny Mellul) and (jockey) Samuel Marin, they’ve helped me tremendously. And (jockeys) Angel Rodriguez, and Angel Arroyo, Jesus Castanon, Marcos Meneses. …and Joe Bravo. … and the trainers, including Derek Ryan.

“I’m trying to think of everybody, and it’s hard because I can’t believe how blessed I’ve been to have people who care and have wanted to give me advice and teach me,” the Trenton, N.J., product said. “Whatever anybody has to say, I do my best to listen and think about how I can apply it into my riding.”

With 30 victories to her credit – including Friday’s on the Gerald Bennett-trained 3-year-old gelding Legendary Beast in the fifth race – since beginning her career in September of 2022 at Monmouth Park, Iorio accepts that her learning curve as a jockey is in its fledgling stage.

She is quick to emphasize she might not even be at the racetrack were it not for the lessons she’s absorbed from an 18-year-old Thoroughbred gelding named Judge Well, who switched to being a three-day eventing horse after his racing days ended in 2013.

Three-day eventing competitions consist of dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Iorio, who turns 32 later this month, competed with Judge Well for a few years before becoming a jockey and still owns him, boarding him at a nearby facility.

“I’ve had him almost five years and I’ve learned an incredible amount from him,” Iorio said. “He is my boy, my love, my everything. I truly believe he gave me the foundation that made it possible for me to transition into horse racing, because even at (18) he is still very much a Thoroughbred and still has the racetrack in him.

“All the little quirks and sensitivities, and particularities, that come with him have set me up well to handle a lot of the racehorses here. He has been a blessing in my life in more ways than I can explain.”

Iorio has been a major racing fan since Smarty Jones and Barbaro captured her heart as a young girl, and when the chance to gallop horses for trainer Tom Proctor at Glen Hill Farm in Ocala arrived during the winter of 2020-21, she jumped at it.

 

“When I got back to New Jersey, I had to figure out how to keep going (in racing).”

Count leading Oldsmar trainer Kathleen O’Connell among those who believe Iorio can keep going.

“For one thing, she has a good, strong work ethic. And she listens to the right people as far as trying to learn and get advice,” O’Connell said. “She has a good feel for horses and a passion for the business. To see someone who has started from scratch and worked her way up as a ‘bug’ rider is impressive.

“She knows she is going to make mistakes, and she tries to learn something every race. She looks at the form and she never thinks she has no shot going into a race. She comes into everything with the right attitude, which is huge in our business.”

Iorio showed last year she can rebound from the adversity that is part and parcel of the racing game. She broke her right fibula in a morning training accident here last March, but was able to return to competition in less than two months.

Suddenly, within the last 5-to-6 weeks, she has emerged as a threat to win races just about every time she gets on a horse.

Those 30 career winners include 13 since Jan. 31, a run of success which made her a clear-cut choice for the Boot Barn Jockey of the Month Award. Now, she wants to build on that.

“I’m grateful for what has happened. The best thing I can do is keep putting my best self forward,” Iorio said. “Keep the positivity flowing, keep my focus up and just stay dedicated to my work.”

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