Hawthorne Racecourse (3/20/11)
Contact: Ron Uchman
BUGS: Constantino Roman
And then there’s Constantino Roman, the last of the three apprentice riders currently based at Hawthorne.
Roman entered the local scene late last year and although he was young and just starting riding, he appeared to be far more polished than most starting out and made an immediate impression on long-time racegoers. He guided longshot Arrested By Duffy, trained by Emmagene K.Schwan, to the winner’s circle in only the fifth mount of his career.
Born October 13, 1990, this 20-year-old grew up in Guerrero, Mexico but he had been working horses for locally based trainer Brian Williamson and owner Nancy Vanier for about four years before turning pro.
“He worked a ton of horses for me,” offered Williamson. “When he first came to my barn, I was kind of looking at him and he just looked so young, skinny and light, that I was hesitant. ‘I don’t know. But, I think I had just lost an exercise boy so I thought I’d give him a try. I’ll let him gallop one,’ I thought, so they brought him around and I put him on a horse.
“I put him on a tough one. He did well. Right away I knew that he was a good hand on a horse. He sat good. He showed pretty quickly that he could gallop. Once he started breezing, he looked even better.
“He’s probably breezed thousands for me over the last four years. He traveled all over with us. He went to Oaklawn a couple of years ago and went to Tampa last year and worked horses all over the place. He was more than ready to take this step.
“Horses respond to him. That’s something that can’t be taught.”
While not exactly a father figure to Roman, he’s far too young for that (wink, wink), Williamson does feel a sense of responsibility and it’s apparent that Roman still looks to him for guidance.
“He’s just a good kid and I think that he’s already a good rider. He got that fifth win (and lost three pounds from his apprentice allowance) a little quicker than I would have liked but he was ready. I think he has a very bright future.”
In 2010, Roman rode in 93 races, winning 7 times and finishing in the money in another 18 races. So far in 2011, through last Sunday, he has won with 11 of 70 mounts (16%) and finished in the money with another 18. Currently through Sunday, he is fourth in the jockey standings.
“I am much more confident,” Roman had to say through a translator. “I think that I am riding better all the time. I’m riding better and winning more so I’m getting more mounts. I get a lot of support from the other riders, even though we’re in competition, and I get pointers from those with more experience.
“I couldn’t have this success without the help of the trainers and owners that let me ride their horses and I can’t thank them enough.”
Success and humility. Nice combination.
Hawthorne Race Course is in its 102nd year of racing under Carey family ownership. Hawthorne races Friday and Saturday in February, beginning February 11. In March and April, live racing will take place every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through the end of April. First post daily is 1:30 pm. For more information on racing at Hawthorne, visit our website at www.Hawthorneracecourse.com.