By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: When veteran jockey Frank Fuentes, now retired, caught his initial glimpse of newcomer Amadeo Perez riding at Hastings several years ago, he had nothing but encouraging things to say about him.
“He’s a good kid,” Fuentes said. “On the track he rides clean and never bothers anyone out there. As a person, he treats everyone with respect. He’s going to do well here.”
Fuentes couldn’t have been more accurate. When Perez was acknowledged as Leading Jockey last year at the Thoroughbred Industry Awards Dinner, it was his third career trip to the podium. He also won the title in 2014 and 2012.
A native of Mexico City, Perez for the first time made Vancouver his year-round home by spending the winter months here with wife Anna and six-year-old son Mizael.
It was a move that pleased his agent Trapper Barroby to no end. “Amadeo was working at the track earlier than ever this spring and it was obvious he was working harder than ever,” Barroby says. “Last year he finished in great form and we’re expecting big things again this season.”
A quick glance at the jockey standings in today’s racing program endorses his agent’s optimism. Heading into weekend number two, Perez already had five wins, three seconds and three third-place finishes in 14 starts.
While he didn’t hit the winner’s circle opening day, he more than made up for it with a sterling Sunday … five victories on an eight-race card, closing out the afternoon with consecutive successful rides in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th.
“I have won four on the same card once before but never five,” Perez glowed in the aftermath.
He and fellow Mexican rider Enrique Gonzalez have engaged in some spirited competition over the years at Hastings. Gonzalez scooped the 2013 leading jockey title by winning 12 races over the final four days of the schedule to finish two victories ahead of Perez. Last season they finished one-two in the standings.
Barroby has fun watching the two do battle with a unique interest. It has something to do with the fact he’s the agent of record for both.