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Jockey - Victor Espinoza


Victor Espinoza

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This article is about the jockey. For the Medal of Honor recipient, see Victor H. Espinoza.

Victor Espinoza

<img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Victor_Espinoza.jpg" width="209" height="239" alt="Victor Espinoza.jpg" title="Victor Espinoza.jpg" />
Victor Espinoza in the winners circle at the2014 Preakness Stakes




May 23, 1972 (age 43)
Tulancingo, Mexico

Career wins

3,200+ (ongoing)

Major racing wins

Moccasin Stakes (1996, 2000)
Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (1999)
Hollywood Gold Cup (2000)
Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (2000, 2001, 2004)
Del Mar Futurity (2001, 2004, 2006)
Sham Stakes (2001, 2005, 2006)
Wood Memorial Stakes (2001)
Providencia Stakes (2001, 2008)
Haskell Invitational Handicap (2002)
San Diego Handicap (2003, 2004, 2005)
Delta Jackpot Stakes (2004)
Sunshine Millions Classic (2004)
Pimlico Special (2004)
Thunder Road Handicap (2004, 2006)
Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (2005)
Arlington Million (2006)
CashCall Mile Invitational Stakes (2006)
C. L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship(2006)
Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (2006)
WinStar Derby (2006, 2007)
Las Flores Handicap (2006, 2008)
La Cañada Stakes (2007)
San Felipe Stakes (2007)
Winstar Oaks (2006, 2007, 2009)
A Gleam Invitational Handicap (2007)
Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap(2008)
California Cup Distance Handicap (2008)
Tuzla Handicap (2008)
Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes (2010)
Del Mar Handicap(2013)
Santa Anita Derby (2014)

American Classics / Breeders' Cup wins:
Breeders' Cup Distaff (2000)
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (2014)
Kentucky Derby (2002, 2014, 2015)
Preakness Stakes (2002, 2014, 2015)
Belmont Stakes (2015) Triple Crown Winner(2015)

International wins
Dubai Golden Shaheen (2015)
Windsor Castle Stakes (UK, 2014)

Racing awards

ESPY Award for Best Jockey (2002, 2014)

Significant horses

War EmblemPeace RulesBehaving Badly,
California ChromeCongaree
Declan's MoonThe Tin ManAmerican PharoahBob and JohnSecret CircleTake Charge Brandi

Victor Espinoza (born May 23, 1972) is a jockey in American Thoroughbred horse racing who won the Triple Crown in 2015 on American Pharoah. He began riding in his native Mexico and went on to compete at racetracks in California. He has won the Kentucky Derby three times, riding War Emblem in 2002, California Chrome in 2014, and American Pharoah in 2015. He also won the Preakness Stakes three times, ridingWar Emblem in 2002 California Chrome in 2014 and American Pharoah in 2015. He was the first jockey in history to enter the Belmont Stakes with a third opportunity to win the Triple Crown,[1] finally winning the elusive honor in 2015—becoming the oldest jockey to win the award.[2]



Background and early career[edit]

Espinoza was born on a dairy farm in Hidalgo, Mexico, the eleventh of twelve children.[3][4] He and his brother José, his senior by three years, enjoyed riding horses on the farm; when he was 15 he traveled to Cancún to assist his brother as a Quarter Horse trainer.[3] He paid for jockey school by driving a bus in Mexico City at age 17.[4][5] Within a few years, Espinoza was racing thoroughbreds at Mexico City's track, Hipódromo de las Américas.[3][6] His first winner there was in 1992.[7]

Espinoza moved to Northern California, where by 1994 he was the leading apprentice rider at the Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fieldsracetracks.[4] A year later, he moved to Los Angeles.[3] His big break came in 2000 when he won the Breeders' Cup Distaff aboard Spain.[3] He rode his first Kentucky Derby in 2001, placing third on Congaree,[7] and in 2002, he won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes atop War Emblem.[3] Between 2000 and 2006 he averaged 193 wins a year and twice finished third in total earnings among jockeys.[3] However, his career entered a slump until he decided to refocus. As he explained, "One day, I woke up and I said ‘This is not how I’m going to end up my career." He hired a new agent in January 2013, Brian Beach, and with a change in motivation[8] went on to obtain his 3,000th career win, aboard Flashy Delight, on May 31, 2013, at Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California.[9] After winning the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes on California Chrome, in June 2014 Espinoza traveled to Britain to win the Windsor Castle Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting on theWesley A. Ward-trained colt Hootenanny.[10]

California Chrome and American Pharoah[edit]

<img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/95/Los_Alamitos_Sept_2014_IMG_6809_%2815131065789%29.jpg/220px-Los_Alamitos_Sept_2014_IMG_6809_%2815131065789%29.jpg" width="220" height="147" />
Main articles: California Chrome and American Pharoah

Espinoza became the first jockey in history to get three opportunities to win the Triple Crown[1] and earned back-to-back wins with California Chrome and American Pharoah in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, only the sixth jockey in history to do so.[7]

In December 2013[11] Espinoza was selected as the jockey for California Chrome by veteran horse trainerArt Sherman, who had used him as a jockey during Espinoza's years in Northern California.[5] Up to that point, California Chrome had won only 2 of his 6 starts.[11] Espinoza rode California Chrome to consecutive victories in the King Glorious Stakes on December 22,[11] the California Cup Derby on January 25, 2014,[12] the San Felipe Stakes on March 8,[13] and the Santa Anita Derby on April 5.[14][15]On May 3, 2014, Espinoza lengthened the winning streak as he rode California Chrome to victory in the Kentucky Derby, marking the jockey's second Kentucky Derby win.[3] On May 17, California Chrome placed first in the Preakness Stakes, also Espinoza's second Preakness win.[6] On June 7, Espinoza's 6 for 6 streak aboard California Chrome came to an end when, due to an injury sustained right out of the starting gate, the Triple Crown contender finished in a dead heat for fourth place in the Belmont Stakes.[16]

In the fall of 2014, Espinoza also became the regular rider of American Pharoah, trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Ahmed Zayat. Espinoza started with the colt's second race, the Grade I Del Mar Futurity on September 4.[17] The pair went on to win the FrontRunner Stakes.[18] The colt was scratched from the Breeders' Cup Juvenile,[19] but the pair reunited in 2015 with wins in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby[17] American Pharoah and Espinoza then won the 2015 Kentucky Derby[20] After the win, Espinoza said, "I feel like the luckiest Mexican on earth.[21] However, his performance attracted some scrutiny as he struck the horse 32 times with his whip during the race.[22] On May 16, 2015, Espinoza and American Pharoah won the 2015 Preakness Stakes on a sloppy track, setting up Espinoza's third attempt at the Triple Crown.[23] Espinoza won the triple crown on June 6, 2015 with American Pharoah.

Espinoza became the first Latino jockey to win the Triple Crown, and, at age 43, the oldest.[24]


Espinoza is unmarried and has no children.[25] He donates ten percent of his winnings to the City of Hope to support pediatric cancer research.[25][26] Following his Triple Crown win, he announced that he would be donating 100% of his Belmont Stakes earnings to the City of Hope.[27][28][a]

Year-end charts[edit]

<img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9d/Garcia_and_Espinoza.jpg/220px-Garcia_and_Espinoza.jpg" width="220" height="247" />{| <thead><tr> <th class="headerSort" title="Sort ascending">Chart (2000–present)</th> <th class="headerSort" title="Sort ascending">Peak
position</th> </tr></thead>|- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2000 | 7 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2001 | 11 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2002 | 6 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2003 | 14 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2004 | 3 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2005 | 7 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2006 | 3 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2007 | 11 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2008 | 27 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2009 | 20 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2010 | 23 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2011 | 19 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2012 | 49 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2013 | 24 |- | National Earnings List for Jockeys 2014 | 8 <tfoot></tfoot>|}


#Jump up^ The total paid to the winning horse at the 2015 Belmont was $800,000; jockeys typically earn 10% of the purse awarded to the horse


#Jump up to:a b "Victor Espinoza will look for Triple Crown for a third time"NBC Sports. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  1. Jump up^ "American Pharoah completes the Triple Crown, wins Belmont Stakes". Retrieved 2015-06-06.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Layden, Tim (May 15, 2014). "Victor and Jose Espinoza share a career but lead two different lives".Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  3. Jump up to:a b c Arrington, Debbie (May 30, 2014). "The players behind California Chrome bring passion"The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  4. Jump up to:a b Crawford, Eric (May 17, 2014). "Preakness: From humble beginnings to riding Chrome"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  5. Jump up to:a b Drape, Joe (May 17, 2014). "California Chrome Wins Preakness for Second Jewel"The New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  6. Jump up to:a b c Harris, Beth (June 2, 2015). "Belmont Stakes 2015: Victor Espinoza confident American Pharoah can win elusive Triple Crown"Herald-Sun/Associated Press. RetrievedJune 4, 2015.
  7. Jump up^ "Espinoza: ‘Look Forward, Never Look Back’".paulickreport.com. Retrieved May 17, 2015.


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