Birthdate: June 2, 1976; Guadalajara, Mexico
Residence: Chino, California
Top Career Moments:
- Won the 2006 B of A California Champ. Challenge with Apollitical Time
- Won the 2006 Cal Breeders Matron with Apollitical Time
- Won the 2006 Champion of Champions with Wave Carver
- Won the 2007 Golden State Futurity with Eye For Corona
- Won the 2005 Governor s Cup Derby with Apollitical Time
- Won the 2006 Governor s Cup Derby with Wave Carver
- Won the 2005 Kaweah Bar Hcp with Corona Captain
- Won the 2006 Los Al Invitational with Apollitical Time
- Won the 2005 Super Derby with Apollitcal Time
- Won the 2006 Super Derby with Wave Carver
- Won the 2007 Super Derby with Little Bit Of Baja
- Won the 2006 Mildred Vessels with Apollitical Time
- Won the 2007 Southern California Derby with Trisk
- Won the Los Alamitos Derby with Miami Cartel in 2002 and Marmet in 2001.
- Set an all-time record at Los Alamitos with 220 wins in a single season in 2002
- Was named AQHA Champion Jockey after winning his second straight Quarter Horse Jockey title at Los Alamitos in 2002.
- Won an all-time record 24 stakes races during a single season at Los Alamitos in 2002. Won a total of 25 stakes races during the calendar year.
- Won the Southern California Derby with Agouti in 2002.
- Won the Los Alamitos Winter Derby with Panther Mountain in 2002.
- Won the Mildred N Vessels Memorial Handicap with Running Bac in 2002.
- Piloted Runahalf to a second place finish in the Champion of Champions in 2002.
- Won the Champion of Champions with The Down Side in 2003.
- Won the 2003 California Breeders Matron Stakes with Inthetwinkleofaneye.
- Won the PCQHRA Breeders Derby with Stel Corona in 2003.
- Won the Go Man Go Handicap with champion aged stallion Takin On Spoon Man in 2003.
- Won the Governor's Cup Futurity with Metallic Lion in 2003.
- Won the Corona Chick Handicap with Feel The Roar in 2004.
- Won the Bayer Legend Challenge Championship with A New Hero in 2004.
- Won the 2004 California Breeders Sprint Stakes and 2003 El Primero Del Ano Derby with Sum Special Strawfly.
Career Profile: Ramon Sanchez has been Mr. Consistency at Los Alamitos over the past four seasons, as the jockey has been third or better in each of the last four years. The jockey has won three of the last four riding titles, his best year coming in 2002 when he set a track record for most wins with 220 on the way to being named AQHA Champion Jockey. His 25 stakes win that year were also a record number. Ramon, one of the hand-picked riders for the all-powerful Paul Jones stable, has ridden some of the best horses in the nation, including the likes of Champion of Champions winner The Down Side.
Raised in San Jose Cateposco near Guadalajara, Mexico, Ramon Sanchez as a child was afraid of any horse that would go faster than a trot. It was not until his grandfather, Ramon, was in need of a young rider than Sanchez's talents began to blossom. "My grandfather had trouble finding a jockey who would consistently ride for him," Sanchez explained. "He couldn't find someone to gallop or exercise his horses and often ended up struggling to find a jockey. He was tired of the daily hassle, so he took a look at my five brothers and I, and said, "Ramon, you have the perfect body to be a jockey. You're going to ride my horses." It sounded like it could be fun and exciting, plus I was named after my grandfather, so I looked up to him. He gave me a good horse and from there I began to learn to ride. With time, I wasn't afraid of horses trotting anymore and started enjoying the speed. The faster the horse went, the more I liked it. I had a few falls but after awhile I didn't think about it. I only worried about making the horse go faster and faster."
Ramon's first experience as a pilot came in match races in Guadalajara. He would ride en faja, the traditional manner in which jockeys ride horses in Mexican match races. A faja is a belt that wraps around a horse's girth and jockey's thighs and secures the rider tightly on a horse. After a year of riding en faja, Sanchez began to ride on a saddle. "Riding with the saddle, now that was a different way of doing things for me," he said. "You basically have to relearn to ride."
Ramon's life changed when he met Carlos and Alex Bautista in Guadalajara. Already top 10 riders at Los Alamitos, the Bautista talked Sanchez into coming to Los Alamitos. "Los Alamitos was always on a mind from that point on," he said. "They helped me right away. I left home because I felt that the time was right since I was still young, had no responsibilities, and the only one that I needed to take care of was myself. Looking back, if I had known earlier about Los Alamitos, I would have gotten here sooner." At first, Sanchez struggled just to get mounts aboard longshots. "It was hard. I had never left home or been away from my parents. And like every young rider that comes here, I had high hopes of making it big. I was putting too much pressure on myself, and the pressure came from my belief that I was one of the best riders in Guadalajara. I came here expecting to win a lot of races, and when I wasn't I started doubting myself and thinking "Am I not as good as I think I am?"
Ramon secured only 59 Quarter Horse mounts in 1999. "I felt like I was getting a mount every other month," said Ramon. "If I would have had a bad season (in 2000) I would have quit riding and moved on with my life. All I can say now is that dedication and hard work really does pay off." Business picked up for Ramon and by 2001, the jockey was the leading rider here with 166 wins. That year, Ramon won the Val Tonks Award awarded to the top young Quarter Horse jockey in California. He also won his PCQHRA Jockey of the Year award. The following year, Ramon enjoyed one of the greatest seasons by jockey in Quarter Horse racing history, winning a single meet record 220 wins at Los Alamitos on the way to being named AQHA Champion Jockey in 2002. Ramon was also the "King of Derbies" that year, as he swept the Los Alamitos Winter Derby, Southern California Derby and Los Alamitos Derby. If that wasn't impressive enough, he accomplished the feat by riding three different horses to victory.
Just when everything seemed rosy for the champion rider, he encountered a major setback when he was injured in a spill on February 23, 2003. Ramon was eventually released from Long Beach Memorial Hospital and had to undergo 6 hours of therapy daily at a medical facility in Pomona. He finally return to the saddle in the trials to the El Primero Del Ano Derby on April 11, 2003 winning his first race back aboard Sum Special Strawfly. By the end of the year, Ramon had picked up his third Quarter Horse title in a row. Ramon finished third in the standings in 2004, however, he still won 12 stakes races plus a meet-high 38 allowance races. "To be honest, my dream was not to be the leading rider at Los Alamitos. I just wanted to make it here and be successful. I think I've done that. I've had my ups and downs but I feel that that's helped me mature as a person and a rider. This has been the greatest trip of my life and I wouldn't change anything."