When the gates open for the 2019 Kentucky Derby this Saturday, at least two of the riders will have trained at a famed school for jockeys in Panama.
Located east of Panama City, the Laffit Pincay Jr. Technical Jockey Training Academy has produced some of the world’s top riders, developing a reputation as “one of the world’s storied jockey schools,” according to a fascinating feature in the Louisville Courier-Journal chronicling the school.
“In the decades that Latino jockeys grew to dominate Triple Crown racing, Panama has produced a disproportionate share of top Latin American riders, earning a reputation as “the cradle of the best jockeys in the world,” writer Chris Kenning notes.
Four Panamanian jockeys have won the Kentucky Derby, including the school’s namesake. In this year’s race, cousins Luis and Gabriel Saez have mounts and a shot at fame.
The article details how difficult the process can be, as the aspiring riders learn the tricks of the trade. Less than half of its graduates will earn a living in sport; many will ride in places like Saudi Arabia, Mexico or Dubai, the article notes.
The story can be found here.
Foto Courtesy: www.courier-journal.com