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By Greg Thompson, StallioneSearch.comFebruary 20, 2012
Alex Baldillez Jr. * Coady Photography
Former All American Futurity (G1)-winning jockey Alex Baldillez Jr. proves that a focused veteran rider put in the right opportunity is a recipe for success. The 53-year-old Texas native, professing that he feels fresher today than he did 10 to 15 years ago in his career, walks away with the Hialeah Park riding title in front of his nearest competitor by 18 victories.
The turn of good fortune that lead to winning the meet title was a winding road to the finish line. As Baldillez arrived in South Florida at the beginning of the meet, he was not seeing too much promise for prosperous results. He almost made the decision to leave the meet to be back with his family in Arlington, Texas.
“I told my agent that I felt that I was on the verge of paying to be here,” said Baldillez. “Things didn’t really get off to such a great start for me here at Hialeah. I was almost ready to go back home to Texas when things began to look up. I began to get on better horses and began to have my choice of mounts in races once the wins began to roll in. I am sure glad that I didn’t pack up and go back, because this has turned into one of the top meets of my career.”
As for his success this meet, Baldillez is thankful to his agent for the great job of getting him on quality horses. He went on to explain that the majority of the credit he gives for his success at Hialeah is directed toward the horsemen on the backside who pointed their horses in the right spots for the greatest chance at victory.
“I would have to say that I owe most of the success I have seen in this meet to the trainers and owners who gave me the opportunity to ride all these winners,” said Baldillez. “I am grateful to them for putting me on their live horses, but also for the opportunity to ride another horse that might have looked like it had a better chance to win in a race. In racing, being able to go from outfit to outfit to find the best horse to ride in the race isn’t always something that is made available. This meet, several trainers afforded me that luxury. They allowed me to take off their horses to ride another if we felt it had a better chance in the race, and none of them seemed to take it personally and get mad.”
With the Hialeah meet title being added to his collection of milestones in his long and successful career, Baldillez intends on carrying the positive momentum of winning over to the Remington Park Quarter Horse race meet that begins on March 2.
“I feel great, and I am riding with a ton of confidence,” said Baldillez. “I am hoping that this success will carry over to Oklahoma City, but I realize it is a different world at Remington as compared to Hialeah. I am focused, healthy and looking forward to it.”
Baldillez currently leads the nation in wins, as well as earnings thus far in the year of 2012. His 35 wins since January 1 has put him within 18 victories of 1,500 for his career. Alex is the oldest of a trio of brothers who are all jockeys. Roy Baldillez, the middle brother, won the 2011 edition of the All American Futurity, while the youngest brother Orlando is a prominent rider on the Louisiana racing circuit.
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