Hawthorne Racecourse (3/3/12)
Contact: Ron Uchman
OFF TO A GREAT START
There is usually an abundance of apprentice riders at Hawthorne, especially in the spring, but “bug” boys are few and far between this meet. So far we have had only one ride (as of Wednesday) a race.
Alejandro Contreras, a 25-year-old native of Guerro, Mexico has been drawing plenty of attention for his riding ability. You can tell that he’s had plenty of experience in the irons, even if it hasn’t been in races.
He won two of his first 18 local races but doubled his win total when he and trainer John Haran teamed up to win two of the first three races on Wednesday’s card.
“My father used to work in horse racing. I always wanted to get involved. So, I came to the United States and originally got a job as a hotwalker in Kentucky. After a while I started galloping horses. I did that for about seven or eight years. Finally I decided to try to become a jockey.
“I started my riding career at River Downs in Ohio in September of 2011. I got my first five wins pretty quickly. I won two races within a couple of weeks after I started riding and then I won four in one night.
“After I left River Downs, I went to Turfway and Keeneland. I won the first race I rode at Keeneland. I also tried Oaklawn but couldn’t get much business.
“I didn’t really want to go back to Turfway and Liz Morris approached me about coming to Chicago. I thought it would be a great opportunity. Liz works very hard.
“Chicago takes some getting used to. It’s big and crowded and not like many other places that I’ve been. But, I am getting used to it.
“This is a great circuit. You can live in the same place all year and not have to pack up and move to somewhere else every couple of months. My wife and daughter are still in Kentucky but will come if I am successful here and can stay.”
They should start packing!