From the time I first went to the races as a boy with my family in Puerto Rico - I was about 6 at the time – I knew that’s where I wanted to work one day.
The excitement of the sport dazzled me from the start. I was 11 when we moved to Philadelphia, and my aspiration to work with horses only grew stronger.
Some years later, I started working as a groom and hot walker, and later, as a member of the starting crew at the New York Racing Association (NYRA). Of all the jobs on the racetrack, this was the one I really wanted. It’s the main reason I remain at NYRA, where I’ve been for more than 20 years now, and as head starter for a little more than a year.
My life in horse racing also provides a path forward for my family. This sport is full of people like our gate crew – working behind-the-scenes as exercise riders, grooms, blacksmiths, clockers, maintenance people, truck drivers and the like, who are providing for their families as well. We’re a community united by our love for the horses and working hard to ensure that our kids will get the opportunity to go to college and purse their own dreams.
There is nowhere I’d rather be. I’m proud to be a part of this sport, doing what I’ve wanted to do from the time I was a boy. And I’m fortunate to be part of an industry that provides good jobs and a real future for a lot of people. Horse racing isn’t just about the owners you see in the winner’s circle. It’s about people like the starting crew who are building both our sport and the future of our families.