Hawthorne Racecourse (3/18/12)
Contact: Ron Uchman
A WELCOME ADDITION
Quincy Hamilton has ridden on the Illinois circuit in the past, he’s been a regular at Arlington the last few years, but he recently made the decision to make the northern Illinois circuit his own and stay here year round.
Why did he come to Illinois?
“I’ve mostly ridden around the Midwest and Southwest but I did go to Maryland with the bug for about nine months. I had some success but then I found out I was going to be a father and went back to Oklahoma. I won a couple of riding titles between Texas and Oklahoma.
“But, although I was successful in that part of my life, I really just wanted to make a career move and head to Chicago. I wanted to be able to ride, for the most part, on one circuit. I told you how often I moved and how many schools I attended. It was hell. I didn’t want that for my kids.
“I have custody of my two kids, Carter and Emma, and I wanted to get to a place where they would be able to live a solid, stable life…where I could put them through school and not be moving around the country every two months.”
That’s certainly understandable. Hamilton attended 13 different schools growing up.
“My father-in law (Quincy recently married Mandy, daughter of trainer Moises Yanez) has a farm up in Woodstock, in a nice rural area, and they have a great school system.”
What made him become a rider?
“I really didn’t want much to do with horses when I was younger but in the summer of my senior year of high school, I started driving my dad around to different farms and I started getting on some babies. My dad, John, rides Quarter Horses. He’s currently the leading rider at Louisiana Downs. He’s usually in the top three riders in Louisiana.
“After awhile I was kind of persuaded to get on a couple for some cash. It was better than anything else I was doing at the time.
“I never rode in a pari-mutuel Quarter Horse race. My dad saw what I was trying to do and he guided me in that direction.
“Slowly but surely I kind of worked my way away from Quarter Horses and got in with some great Thoroughbred people. I started breaking horses. I went to the track with Steve Asmussen and his 2-year-olds when I was about 17 years old.
“I did that for about a year and a half and then, when I was 19; I got my jockey license at Sam Houston. My first winner was on Private Boot. She was more horse than I could handle but somehow she dragged me around there. I remember it like it was yesterday. She was only my fifth mount.
“My dad and I stay pretty close. Our worlds are so different but it doesn’t matter. We like to poke fun at each other but we want each other to do well. I know if I’m doing better than him, I’m doing pretty darn good.
“I’ve been friends with several of the local riders for a long time. Then in 2009 I went to Arlington for the summer. I scored my 1,000th career win there (Classic Actress). Everybody around here seemed to accept me. I thought I had pretty good connections with the trainers as well as the jockeys. It was really a no-brainer to come here. I believe it was the best career decision I could have made for my career and for my family.”