Nunez, a mainstay in South Florida jockeys’ rooms from 1986-2020, sent out Pacific Legend ($13.60) for a 1 1/4-length victory in the first race of a nine-race card, a six-furlong maiden race for $12,500 claimers. The Israel Silvestre Chavez-owned runner stalked the pace under Jesus Rios before rallying to victory in the final furlong. Pacific Legend, a Flat Out gelding, scored his first victory in 17 starts.
“I feel good winning my first race as a trainer after riding so many years,” said the 55-year-old Nunez, who is currently training a stable of three horses at Gulfstream. “I’ll keep working hard. Sometimes you get lucky.”
The training victory for Nunez was his first from 16 starts. Pacific Legend was the first starter for the trainer on May 22.
Nunez won 10 graded stakes during his riding career, his first coming aboard Fabulous Indian in the Appleton Handicap (G3T) in 1989 and his last on Fly by Phil in the Tropical Park Derby (G3T) in 2010. One of his best years came in 2007 when he won 148 races and his mounts made more than $3.5 million.
His final ride came on Designed by Kitten in September 2020 at Gulfstream Park, riding her to a fourth-place finish.