LARC NEWS Posted: 9/16/2016 11:11:02 PM


By Sonja Eschenburg

Los Alamitos Publicity

Local jockey Erick Garcia has horse racing in his blood.  Although he didn't actually start riding horses until age 17, Garcia's dad worked as a groomsman and his cousins as trainers.  In fact, one of his biggest influences both on and off the track is close family friend, Keith Craigmyle, a local trainer who has been heavily involved in Garcia's jockey's career thus far.  That being said, it came as no surprise then that Garcia chose to stay true to his horse racing roots and pursue a career as a jockey.  Now at a mere age of 21, Garcia is in the middle of his first season as a Los Alamitos jockey.


As an apprentice jockey Garcia realizes the key to success is no easy feat.  In fact, Garcia cannot stress enough the importance of preparing for a race - mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Garcia said, "We always pray for everyone's safety - both the horses and riders, but besides that I make sure to work out with a four mile run, eat a light protein-based meal, and tend to isolate myself from surrounding distractions by listening to music."


The connection between horse and jockey is absolutely pivotal in regards to race performance.  Garcia said, "The stronger the connection, the better one's chances of performing well.  You just learn to read each other and during races that obviously allows you to more easily adjust accordingly."  That being said, no two horses are the same.  A jockey needs to be able to hop on a horse and understand how to both measure and manage its capabilities in order to reach its full potential.  Garcia said, "I started out riding Quarter Horses.  I love the adrenaline rush you get out the gate with them.”   


Garcia added that Thoroughbreds are his preference right now.


Regardless of their breed though, "Two to three year old horses are (his) favorite," said Garcia, "not necessarily knowing yet what (he is) working with is exciting and gives (him) something to look forward to."

Of course, Garcia has faced his own fair share of trials and tribulations along his journey.  He said, "If I could give an aspiring jockey any piece of advice it would be to always work hard, stay dedicated, and remember, safety first.  Just be patient and know when you are ready."       



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