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One time deli worker Martin Garcia moves to New York; It’s a move the 33YO jockey should have made long ago

By Warren Eves

Martin Garcia’s move to New York should not shock anyone.

For years I have been puzzled as to why so many top jockeys continue to fight the huge odds to ride on the much coveted Southern California horse racing circuit.

Garcia, as competent a rider as you can find, made his announcement in a David Grening story in the Daily Racing Form on Nov., 9.

Having been reared on the SoCal circuit way back in the 50s I know the weather and the venue is attractive. What I have never understood is why so many saddle talents continue to buck huge odds. There are so many fine jockeys only the trainers benefit because they have so many choices. They have the luxury of knowing they can employ a top rider. That was not the case when I started out in the business.

Garcia, who went from making sandwiches in a deli to race riding in 2005, made a big splash in horse racing when he won the 2010 Preakness on Lookin at Lucky.  The irony? He was replacing the late and great Garrett Gomez who did not get along with the colt that well in the Kentucky Derby.

Having worked and ridden many a great horses for “Baffy” in Southern California for 13 years,  Martin has a number of good years left at 33. He’d like to get back to the level when his mounts won more than $10-million in 2010, 2013 and 2014.  His new agent will be Tony Micallef.

You have to give Garcia credit for staying the course despite the way “Baffy” treated him from time to time.  “Baffy” has dangled the chance of riding one of his high priced blue bloods out there and Martin stuck around. Garcia has galloped and worked more exceptional equine talents than probably anyone on planet one.

Notes scribbled on my program–Back in 2008 Martin Garcia’s new agent Tony Micallief surrendered his license for personal reasons. He was handling jockey Alan Garcia at the time. Micallief has also represented jockeys Mike Luzzi and Rajiv Maragh…………..In his second year Garcia rode the most horses of his career when 1,275 mounts earned $6,079,804………….When Garcia won the Preakness Super Saver backed up and finished a soundly beaten eighth with Calvin Borel. “Baffy” admitted Garcia had ridden a perfect race aboard Lookin at Lucky in winning the Preakness. The young rider was making a whole lot more than he did when working at Chicago’s Metropolitan Deli in Pleasanton, California…………..Lookin At Lucky currently stands at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., for $17,500 live foal.  Currently his top money-earners are Madefromlucky and Accelerate……………..Those who watched the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile are aware Accelerate does not like the Del Mar surface. He struggled finishing third in the Pacific Classic and wound up soundly beaten in the Cup Dirt Mile.

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About The Author

Warren Eves
Warren Eves is a senior turf writer from the state of California who calls Pearl River, Louisiana his home. The one time editor of the Pasadena Independent Star News moved on to handle publicity for racetracks coast to coast. Eves gained his first exposure to the racetrack through a school buddy the late Art Lerille, Jr., who eventually became a trainer in California. Warren worked as farm manager for crack two-year-old trainer Ray Priddy, before holding on track jobs at the racetrack. He worked for Hall of Fame trainer M.E. "Buster" Millerick, Allen Drumheller, Jr., and Dick Moon. Eves has a well rounded background in all breeds. He developed Quarter Horse Report in 1979 with Ed Burgart, track announcer, at Los Alamitos Race Course. It was an innovative publication which revolutionized the industry with actual descriptions of the workouts. While handling publicity at Saratoga Raceway in upstate New York Eves was named employee of the year in 1970. He also handled publicity for Sunland Park, Centennial Park, Ascot Park, Thistledown, and two harness meetings in California. Eves then went into the 900-line business with his best plays and has compiled his own Kentucky Derby ratings for many years. In 1997 he began going back and forth to Las Vegas teaming up with Ralph Siraco to create the long runining radio show Raceday Las Vegas. Eves has produced and directed many horse racing shows on both radio and television. In 2010 he got a call from Mark Geiger. That's when he began writing www.pricehorsecentral.com. Eves, with a reputation of a trip handicapper, is known for his video tape scrutiny. He currently monitors horse racing in for a major horseplayer. While writing for Ridder Publication at the Pasadena Star News his investigative reporting was highly regarded by his peers. Often on the cutting edge, Eves has been given the green light to write about what issues he sees fit to cover. Have a question. His book "Hold All Tickets" is soon to be made available for those who come to this site. It's a factual account of actual events and happenings that took place in the 70s, 80s and 90s. If Warren doesn't know the answer to a question you may have, he'll tell you up front. Eves won't drop it there, however, he'll find someone who knows the answer and get back to you.

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