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"Equestrian is its own language" for Da Silva and his fellow jockeys

Woodbine Racetrack. Jockey Eurico Da Silva guides Pink Lloyd to his 8th straight stake win by capturing the Kennedy Road stakes for Entourage Stable and trainer Robert Tiller.
Woodbine Racetrack. Jockey Eurico Da Silva leads Pink Floyd to eight consecutive victories by winning the Entourage Stable and trainer Robert Tiller's Kennedy Road stake. SunMedia

Shortly after Brazilian jockey Eurico Da Silva arrived at Woodbine Racetrack in 2004, he was among the jockeys. Faced with fellow riders. room.

"Something happened in the race, but I didn't know what it was," he said in 2019 after a great career with seven sovereign awards. Da Silva, who retired from the race, said. As an outstanding jockey in Canada. "A man approached me and hit me in the face. We fought, and when we were done we became friends again. That's the way we did it. I tried not to do much. ”

Thoroughbred horse racing is one of the most dangerous sports and the jockey is one of the toughest athletes. Serious injuries and even deaths are not uncommon. An ambulance follows each race.

Unlike most professional sports, the contract is not guaranteed. If you don't win, you can't make money. If you get injured other than a little insurance, you will not be paid. And if you're resting for a long time, or if you're in a slump, owners and trainers often throw you away for another rider.

It's a dog-eat dog world, where jockeys compete fiercely for mounts and victory in every race. Still, as Da Silva told Toronto Sun this month, riders can compete for teeth and nails in individual relentless sports and foster deep and lasting friendships. Part of it is due to the nature of horseback riding. It's inherently dangerous. As veteran Woodbine Rider Emma-Jayne Wilson said, it feels like all the jockeys are together.

"There is friendship right next to the hop," Wilson told the sun. "We respect each other's achievements. It's safe at first, so some respect is immediately given. You can see the ups and downs of the game what others are experiencing."

We often see Woodbine jockeys talking and joking before and after the race. Despite the fact that many do not speak each other's language, Woodbine Racetrack's room has friendship. Riders come from all over the world and there are many differences in language and culture. In fact, Woodbine's Jock Room could be one of the most multicultural countries in the world and the most multicultural workplace.

Current jockey colonies include Puerto Rico (Rafael Hernandez), Japan (Kazushi Kimura, Daisuke Fukumoto), Spain (Antonio Gallardo), Ireland (David Moran), and the United States (David Moran). David Moran) riders are included. Declan Carroll), Barbados (Patrick Husbands, Kebe Nichols, Slade Jones, Jason Hoyte, Juan Crawford), Jamaica (Shaun Bridgmo), Turkey (Sahin Shivac), Mexico (Lewis Contreras,) Eswan Flores, Ismael Mosquila), Brazil (Leo Salles), and Canada-born top Jock, Wilson, Gary Boulanger, Justinstein, Steve Baren, Jeffrey Alderson. Prior to this season, riders from England, Hong Kong, France, Peru and other countries made Woodbine their hometown. Woodbine probably has more riders whose native language is Spanish than English. Still, there is a deep bond between riders, and everyone is generally on good terms, with the exception of the occasional race-related

"Equestrian is its own language," Wilson said.


Daisuke Fukumoto, who won the Queen's Plate in 2020 on the mysterious horse Mighty Heart in one eye, came to Woodbine at the age of 17 in 2015. rice field. Does he know someone or he speaks english. After working as a groom and hotwalker for two years, Fukumoto began his jockey career and is now one of the leading riders on the Rexdale truck. His best friends in the jockey's room were Jerome Lermite from France and Saleth from Brazil. Fukumoto's agent, Plum Shiva, who I met while working in the barn of Reed Baker, is from Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean.

"Interesting," Wilson said. "It's a gathering of people from all disciplines, different countries and different cultures, and it's a testament to the quality of Woodbine's racing. We're recognized on the world stage. It's a great race. , Many people want to come here and race. "

Certainly not all jocks are companions. You hear an occasional explosion. From time to time, the rider must be trained by a steward. But Da Silva said there was really a feeling that they were all together and that other riders would reach out if the jockey was injured or struggling.

"There was a lot of humanity there," said Da Silva, who won consecutive Queen's Plates in the Eye of the Leopard and Big Red Mike in 2009 and 2010. "And if the jockey collapses, it's like everyone hit his face."

On June 20, the Woodbine community raised money for the injured jockey Sina Ryan. To do this, we held a "Back Stretch Baseball Tournament" at Paul Coffey Park in Malton. Such events are fairly common. Horse racing people like to brag about how they stick together. When Ryan was injured in an athletic accident in early May, his fellow jockey Isabelwenk immediately opened a GoFundMe page, raising over $ 15,000 in donations.

"Woodbine is our second home," said Rafael Hernandez, a truck-leading rider in 2020. The enemy working here. It's a fierce competition, but it's also a family.

For years, Woodbine has attracted great riders from all over the world. There are many reasons for that-wallets are good, trucks are world class and the seasons are long. This year's race calendar starts on April 16th and continues until December 11th. In many other countries where horse racing is popular, top jocks often have to move from track to track, as each facility's race calendar lasts only a few weeks or months.

"I think this is one of Woodbine's biggest assets," said Mike Fox on Queen's Plate in 2007, the first woman to win one of Canada's most prestigious races. Wilson, who led to, said. "In the United States, there are circuits. You used to go to Arlington, Kentucky, New Orleans and then back up. That is, three different places. Someone wants to make their deal and have a family. If so, you want to settle down somewhere. It's difficult. Woodbine is one of the longest and most ongoing conferences in North America. You buy a home and raise a family. And if you really want, you can rest those months during the winter and put it back in the spring, or you can go south in the winter () And you can race). There are so many options. ”

Horse racing fans can now watch and bet on races around the world. All major trucks are well known and Woodbine enjoys its reputation as a good place to work. As a result, many international riders gather on the Tobiko truck. And it will be a difficult place to succeed. In fact, the jockey's room doesn't have as many local stars as it once did. As of June 20, only two Canadian-born jockeys were among the top ten jockeys in terms of revenue this season.

"I've seen young Canadian-born jockeys trying to trade here, and I think it's a testament to the quality of the colony. It means deep. Really deep. "Wilson said. "I've seen people come here thinking it's going to be easy, and they find it not that easy. The guy came, the guy left, the guy stayed."

Every year, a new jock with a solid reputation from other tracks joins the Woodbine Colony. I have a grudge. This is unavoidable given the large number of mounts. But Wilson said the best riders welcomed the challenge.

"Currently, the field is getting smaller due to horse population issues. Every time I cut the pie a little more, the horse is split a little more, but I welcome the competition," she said. Said. "The only way to be the best is to compete with the best. Over the years, we've been going back and forth between numerous jocks. You stay here and the others I have your guys who are successful from the jurisdiction. Young guys like Crush and Daisuke came here to do business. They are from Japan and see Woodbine as a beacon, an opportunity. It wasn't surprising to me that people wanted to come here and race. "

Wilson said they were as long as the trainers and owners went. He said he wanted a quality rider and didn't care about his hometown or gender.

"Woodbine makes up a significant proportion of female riders, eliminating the prejudices associated with being a female jockey," said Brampton's native. "I think trainers, owners and everyone judge riders based on ability, not gender. You have to show that you are competent. Judge these riders by gender. Judge by ability, not by ability. Are they good enough?Are they fit well? Are they strong enough? Do they have equestrian skills? That is the problem. It has nothing to do with gender. Woodbine has trained a sufficient number of riders, both male and female. This proves that it is not gender. It's about ability.


Hernandez appeared in an interview with Toronto Sun wearing a red blue Jays maple leaf hat. Obviously, the friendly jockey is very happy to be in Canada and race at Woodbine. But like most of his fellow Jocks, he is proud of his hometown, Puerto Rico in the case of Hernandez. Small flags from different countries are proudly flying throughout the jockey's room. Hernandez has his home flag on his locker. Hernandez raced from Puerto Rico at Tampa Bay Downs at the age of 19 before moving to Fairmont Park near St. Louis for about 10 years. But like many jocks, he ran the circuit and constantly moved from track to track, including occasional rides to big stakes races at Woodbine. Hernandez won the 2015 Queen's Plate with Shaman Ghost. Interesting side: After arriving in Canada in 2015, Fukuomoto's first visit to Woodbine was on Plate Day, when Hernandez won the Shaman Ghost.

"I see the racetrack," Holy. This is a great racetrack, "Fukumoto said. "And so many people. That day I saw Rafi (Hernandez) win. I wanted to ride here. I want to ride the Queen's Plate."

Five years later, Fukumoto Won the plate with Mighty Heart.

While racing on various tracks in the United States, Hernandez and his wife decided to start a family, Woodbine seems to be the perfect place to start the Tobiko track from 2016. I call it my hometown.

{106 Hernandez said he had a lot of friends in the jockey's room, but admitted that fierce racing competition made friendships difficult. Discussions and even physical changes occur.

"You get hot and sometimes yell," Hernandez said. "But we try not to reach that point. We are a family. When we see two guys too hot, we try to pull them apart and let them talk to each other. "
Hernandez said it was important not to offend the beef. I have too many stakes. It's too dangerous to ride when you're angry.

"I don't want my enemies to work. I'll do my best on the course, but nothing dangerous," he said. "But it's a horse. There are no gas pedals, brakes or steel wheels to control the horse. Sometimes you do your best to control the horse, but you can't and something happens in the race. , You went back to (the jockey's room) and talked to the man, "Buddy, that wasn't my intention. The horse went out and bumped, but I did my best to keep the race safe. "It's a competition, you want to win. And in this game, there's no contract like any other sport. You don't win, you don't make money. So go out and 100% Don't give. To win the race, you have to give 200%, so that's difficult. "

Da Silva doesn't want to show weaknesses on and off the track is business Said that it is the nature of. But if someone is having a hard time, someone else will reach out.

Regardless of where you are from or the language you speak,

SBuffery @ postmedia. com
Twitter @Beezersun

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