Nik Juarez, runaway leader of the Monmouth Park jockey standings, will begin riding in New York when Belmont Park opens Sept. 8, according to Juarez and his new agent, Ron Anderson.
Juarez will ride at Belmont and Aqueduct through fall and then return to Florida, where he has ridden with success since January 2016. At the last Gulfstream Park winter meet, Juarez tied for fourth in the standings with Javier Castellano, trailing only Luis Saez, Paco Lopez, and Tyler Gaffalione.
"I'm taking a leap of faith," Juarez said about riding in New York.
Juarez, 24, is a native of Westminster, Md. He began his career in Maryland in 2013 and has ridden at Monmouth each summer since 2014. At the beginning of 2016, he left Maryland for South Florida.
Juarez will be parting ways with agent Jay Rushing at the conclusion of the Monmouth Park meet Sept. 10. Anderson will continue to represent Joel Rosario.
Over the years, Anderson has represented the Hall of Fame jockeys Chris Antley, Jerry Bailey, Garrett Gomez, and Gary Stevens, plus Corey Nakatani and Fernando Toro.
"Over the last five or six years, I've had some guys approach me about taking them on, but nothing really felt right," Anderson said. "They were either going to conflict with Joel or there was something else. This feels different. I've told Nik it's not going to be any berry patch here. It's going to take a while for him to get started. But in some ways, I feel this is an opportune time for him to come here."
Juarez has won 441 races from 2,788 mounts in his career and has purse earnings of more than $12.4 million. This year, Juarez won the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on Actress for trainer Jason Servis and the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks on Teresa Z for Anthony Margotta Jr. He also has won the Grade 3 Iselin twice, the Grade 3 Salvator Mile, and the Grade 3 Skip Away.
Juarez has 65 wins at the Monmouth meet and leads second-place rider Antonio Gallardo by 19.