He’s Jesús Velázquez, a 26-year-old professional jockey born in Puerto Rico and competing in The Big Fresno Fair horse racing. Velázquez was 16 years old when he entered jockey school in Puerto Rico. The academy is free, but only 20 lucky and talented individuals are chosen each year.
Velázquez came to the United States in 2009 and started his career in Philadelphia. He returned to his country for a brief time, then came back to the U.S. at the famed track at Hollywood Park.
Valázquez is talented away from the sport: With his many freckles, he could easily be a heartthrob as a singer because he loves singing, and, along with his other love, boxing.
1. What is your favorite horse racing movie?
2. What favorite should you not eat to keep your weight manageable?
“Tortillas, de maiz (corn). It’s no good. They make you fat.”
3. What is your favorite sport?
“Boxing. (Miguel) Cotto is my favorite boxer.”
4. What is favorite car?
“BMW. I love BMW.”
5. What should bettors look for before a race and choosing a horse and jockey?
“That’s a hard question: They should look at the horses, the rider. They should look at the form, you know? There are some horses, they don’t even move (a lot), but they win. They are quiet horses; they have class.”
6. What music do you listen to?
“Reggaetón. I like all kinds of music, but I like to listen to reggaetón.”
7. Which do you prefer? Dogs or cats?
“Dogs. I have two dogs: Chloe and Jockey. They are Jack Russells. Chloe is the male.”
8. If you were not a jockey, what would you be doing?
“Boxing. That’s what I did when I was younger. I’m a right (hander).”
9. If you were rich and had a lot of money, what would you do with it?
“I would help my family. Maybe get some places (property), make some business.”
10. Who do you think is the best horse of all time?
“Zenyatta. Mike Smith used to ride her and won all the races.”
11. When you retire, where will you go and what will you do?
“Puerto Rico, and maybe I’ll be teaching some kids how to ride. That would be good, you know?”
12. How is your family in Puerto Rico? Recent disaster with regard to the hurricanes.
“Right now it’s been kind of hard because of everything going on. They are okay.”
Catch Velázquez and the live horse racing through the run of the Big Fresno Fair, which ends this Sunday (Oct. 15). You get ground floor at the Brian I. Tatarian Grandstand with your paid general admission ticket. It’s $5 for reserved seats; $7 for box seats, but you must purchase the entire box with options in two-, three-, four- and six-seat options.