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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (4/13/10)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700

Jockey Carlos Silva Set to Retire Saturday

Silva (6K)
Carlos Silva
STICKNEY, IL - Saturday’s card will mark the end of a great riding career for a local legend as jockey Carlos Silva will be riding in his final races.

This is the end of a riding career that began 32 years ago in the United States in 1978. Since then, Silva has won more than his share of big races in a profession that has seen him in the winner’s circle more than 3,500 times.

Carlos certainly made his mark on the Chicago circuit. He currently stands third all-time for victories at Arlington Park and he is second at Hawthorne, behind only Randy Meier. Silva holds a pair of riding titles at Hawthorne in 1980 and 1982 and was a top 10 jockey at Arlington Park for nine straight seasons, from 1990-2000.

In regards to stakes victories, Silva won his share as well. He won the Hawthorne Juvenile on three occasions, and posted some dominating days during the Illinois-bred stakes cards. He was victorious in the 1981 Hawthorne Derby aboard longshot Jeremy Jet, who would later become the 1981 Illinois Horse of the Year.

One of the best jockey-trainer combinations in the 1990s was the team of Carlos Silva-Gene Cilio. The duo teamed up for three consecutive stakes scores during the Illinois Festival of Racing on December 2, 1995 to cap a year that had earlier seen the pair win four consecutive races at Sportsman’s Park on April 24. Cilio provided Silva many great opportunities.

“When Gene returned to training in Illinois, he started with a single three-year-old filly named Call the Lady that I won on and we later won a stakes race together. The next year, he purchased a farm in Illinois, in the mid 1980s, and we were together from that point on. We were really good friends and were a great team together. There was just so much trust between the two of us. We won so many stakes together. The two that stand out for me were Your Ladyship and Take Note of Me. It was tough when Gene passed because we were so close, but his brother Ron was so good to me as well and I cherish the relationship that we had.”

In recent years, the duo of Silva and Richard Hazelton became a very formidable combo and it is only fitting that both marked the end to great careers this spring at Hawthorne. When browsing past Illinois Stakes winners for Hazelton, runners ridden by Silva show up in nearly every state-bred stakes run. Stakes winners for the combo include Seven Brides, Prairie King, Caruso, Meadow Bride, Shandy, Classic Appeal, Devil’s Halo, Rolling Sea, Copper State, and Daisy Junebug. Many of these horses became state-bred champs. Silva has always been a supporter of Illinois racing.

“I had an opportunity to start riding for Richard early in the 1990s. At the start it was only a horse here and there. As we had success, it became more horses then Richard asked me to ride all of his horses. We became a great team, along with owners Richard and Gail Radke and Ben Barnow, and they supported me 100 percent. We had so much success together and I thank them all for the support they gave me.”

While Silva is riding off into the sunset in regards to his riding career, it doesn’t mean he is leaving the racetrack. In fact, Silva is only changing professions to another career that he already knows well.

“I am going to start working for Brandon Meier as his jock’s agent. I have been my own agent for the past two years so I know what the job is all about. When I was thinking about ending my riding career I was trying to figure out what I was going to do and what I know is the racetrack. Brandon and I started talking and I thought it was a joke when he asked me to hustle his book. He said he was serious and I asked him to think about it for a few days and make sure that this was what he wanted to do. He thought about it and we are going to team up. We will start out at Arlington. We are going into a tough meeting there and we know it will be hard. The best thing is we are both hard workers which will pay off. He is a very good rider and will only improve. The trainers have been very supportive of me and know how good of a rider Brandon is and I have my confidence in him.”

“I have had a good career, I am happy with my decision to retire from riding and my family is very supportive. I am very excited and thank Brandon for giving me the opportunity to be his agent.”

While we will miss seeing Carlos in the winner’s circle, we wish him the best of luck, sending his young rider to the circle, hopefully many times!

Hawthorne Race Course is in its 101st year of racing under Carey family ownership. Hawthorne races Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday – Sunday with a first post of 1:35 pm daily through April 25. For more information on racing at Hawthorne, visit our website at

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