CESAR DE ALBA
- Won the 2007 California Juvenile Challenge with Cantwait
- Won the 2007 Los Al Invitational with Strength In Numbers
- Won the 2007 PCQHRA Fut with Ancient Ruler
Cesar De Alba, 23, has been riding regularly at Los Alamitos for the past month and has become a regular fixture in the winner's circle. Through Saturday, Aug. 13, he had won eight races in 33 starts, including a double on Aug. 13.
"I've just been here for the past month," De Alba said. "I'm doing alright and getting to ride some nice horses. So I'm hoping to stick around awhile."
Yet although De Alba has just started riding full-time at Los Alamitos Race Course, he has a history at the track.
"My first ever win came here," he said.
In only his second race as a professional jockey, De Alba piloted a Thoroughbred named Brite Jaz to win a 4 1/2-furlong, $3,200 claiming race by a neck on Jan. 12, 2002.
The jockey also has some strong family ties at Los Alamitos, as his uncle is Eddie Garcia, the second all-time winningest jockey at Los Alamitos Race Course. De Alba is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to the United States when he was six years old. Growing up in Valley Center in north San Diego County, De Alba's father introduced him to riding horses.
"Ever since I was a little kid I've liked it," he said. "I would watch my uncle (at Los Alamitos) and jockeys like Laffit Pincay, Bill Shoemaker and Eddie Delahoussaye."
While Garcia, whose sister is De Alba's mother, made a name for himself as a Quarter Horse jockey, De Alba has focused on riding Thoroughbreds. He rode his first race four years ago at Hollywood Park for trainer Bob Hess, Jr. He says his greatest thrill came when winning a $100,000, 1 1/2-mile stakes wire-to-wire as an apprentice at Philadelphia Park. Now he is creating a niche for himself riding Thoroughbreds at Los Alamitos Race Course, though he did have a Quarter Horse winner last week.
But despite his successes, De Alba is well grounded. In the same race where he won aboard the Thoroughbred Hotforteacher in the meet's second fastest 4 1/2-furlong time of :50.56 seconds, fellow jockey Maggie Carter hit the ground in a spill. The first thing he did when he returned to the jockey's room was to find Carter to ask if she was alright.
"Everybody tells me to stay humble and learn from other riders," he said. "I just want to be as successful as I can be and hope I can do this for as long as I know how."