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Ramos' Riding Career Starting To Pick Up Speed At Monmouth


June 14, 2002
Copyright © 2002 STAR-LEDGER. All rights reserved.

Why did Hector Ramos decide he wanted to become a jockey?

"I'm short," he said with a smile.

Ramos, who joined the Monmouth Park jockey colony at the end of May, is tied with Daniel Velazquez as the top apprentice rider at the meet with three victories. A man of few words, Ramos lets his riding speak for itself.

"He's aggressive on the racetrack, but he's a really quiet kid," his agent, Joey DiAngelo, said.

"It's tough to pull the words out of him. But he's a nice kid, very polite and he works hard. He's out at the track every morning."

DiAngelo, who handled Julie Krone's career before she retired, has had luck with rookie riders as well. He was Rachel Lavoy's agent when she was the leading apprentice at both Monmouth and the Meadowlands in 1999 and 2000.

He spotted Ramos riding at Pimlico.

"(Fellow agent) Sal Campo mentioned him to me," DiAngelo said. "We were watching the simulcast from Pimlico and I saw he was riding - I looked up and he had won the race.

"I liked the way he finished on a horse. He hand-rides a horse - he has a strong hand-ride. That's how he won the race (Wednesday at Monmouth)."

Ramos, aboard 18-1 shot Yarnell Hill in the fifth race, lost his whip at the eighth pole, but hand-rode the long shot to a neck victory over 1-5 favorite Whoop's Ah Daisy.

A native of Puerto Rico, Ramos is the first in his family to make a career in horse racing, and the folks back home are happy with his choice.

"My family is very supportive of me," said Ramos, who put his career on hold for a few weeks in March to spend time with his ailing mother. "Racing is a big sport in Puerto Rico, and they are very proud that I have become a rider."

Ramos decided to try his luck in the United States because there are a lot of jockeys in Puerto Rico and a lot fewer horses to ride. Business has been a little slow starting out, but every victory brings more attention his way.

"It's been a little slow this meet, because there are a lot of good journeyman riders and the fields are smaller," DiAngelo said. "But he has been riding every day, and we're starting to get more calls now."

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