Carlos Huerta's fast rise is due to a combination of things. He has more experience, greater confidence in his abilities and in Gomez, a superstar trainer that trusts him to sit on his horses.
"Jaime gave me a chance to work his horses in the morning and that was a priceless opportunity," said Huerta. "Being able to work with Jaime's 2-year-olds gave me the chance to work on my skills and that's helped me out a great deal."
Gomez is pleased to have Huerta on his team. "He's a hard worker and I believe that he has a bright future here. Over the years I've brought some good, young riders to Los Alamitos and Carlos fits that bill. He has his head screw on right. He's a good kid away from the track. He's done a good job for my barn."
Prior to his arrival to the Los Alamitos about a year ago, Huerta spent six months at trainer Santiago Rodriguez's ranch in Hemet. "That's where I learned to gallop," Huerta said. "Little by little I got better and better. My only other experience riding horses was the two to three months I spent riding in match races in Mexico before going to Santiago's ranch."
Huerta grew up in Colima, Mexico, where his father was a rancher and his two brothers avid horsemen. His brothers are now working as grooms at Los Alamitos, but it's been Huerta who has grabbed the spotlight. He even took part in his first Grade 1 race earlier this year after qualifying the Guillermo Morales-trained Perksandmiracles in the Kindergarten Futurity for owner Jaime Godinez.
"After I rode her to win her Kindergarten trial I saw that she had the fifth fastest qualifying time up to that point," Huerta said. "I was so happy but all I wanted was the night to end as quickly as possible, with her still among the top 10 qualifiers. To qualify a horse into a race like the Kindergarten is the best thing that can happen to young rider."
Perksandmiracles would eventually covered the 300 yards in the Kindergarten in a time of :15.62 while finishing in seventh place. "Her trial race and the final have been my two most memorable races thus far," Huerta added.
Carlos also credits his agent Saul Servin for helping him become a busy man at the Orange County track. "When I started coming here, I asked him if he could help me out. He never turned me down. He told me he would help me and that's what he's done for me. I started riding Thoroughbreds and Arabians and he saw that I believe he saw that I had a lot of heart for this sport. He's been there for me ever since."
Huerta lists J.R. Ramirez and Ramon Sanchez among the jockeys that he admires most. "I like their riding style and how they do things on a horse. They're two guys that I'm patterning myself after.
"Since the first day that I arrived at Santiago's ranch my dream was to become a jockey at Los Alamitos," he added. "I love riding horses and I'm happy to say that I've made that dream come true. My new dream is to now become one of the top guys at Los Alamitos."