LQHBA Insider - By Martha Claussen May  26, 2018

JOCKEY EDDIE SANCHEZ

There is no question that at first glance, Eddie Sanchez, does not fit the traditional jockey mold. He’s 5’10’ in stature, which is considerably taller than his fellow riders. But his height never seems to be a factor once he gets in the saddle and gets his mounts flying to the finish line.

The son of trainer Jose Sanchez is only 19-years-old and has found his true calling. The confident young man with a winning smile was not always a happy person.

"I was a troublemaker as a young kid," admitted Sanchez. "Growing up, I was always in fights, but when I began to gallop horses, things changed for me."

Sanchez watched races and knew he had a lot to learn to be a successful rider.

"I admired so many good jockeys," he said. "Jacky Martin, Saul Ramirez, Jr., G.R. Carter and Jose Arriaga. "When I first began riding, I used to get nervous, but I have become more confident each day in this job."

He had one of his most memorable career highlights one year ago at Delta Downs, when he won the $322,285 Lassie Futurity (RG2) aboard Dashnunder Afullmoon for owner Rogelio Marquez, Jr. One of two finalists trained by his father, the daughter of Heza Fast Dash upset the field at odds of 28-1! What could be better than winning your first graded stake as a young jockey? How about accomplishing that milestone on your 19th birthday!

Six weeks later, Sanchez piloted Dashnunder Afullmoon to a decisive victory in the $705,495 Lee Berwick Memorial Futurity (RG1) on the closing night of the Delta Downs meet. She entered the gates as the favorite and was later honored as LQHBA champion 2-year-old filly.

"She’s the best filly I’ve ever ridden," said Sanchez.

Saul Ramirez, Jr., who retired two years ago after 27 years as highly respected jockey, is now a trainer and having a very good year. Sanchez will ride key prospects for him in the upcoming Lassie and Laddie Futurities this month.

"I’ve known Eddie since he was a little kid," said Ramirez. "His family asked me to help order his first pair of boots when he got his license. I called the bootmaker I use in California and he thought I was joking when I told him I had a 16-year-old rider who needed a size nine!"

Sanchez’s top mounts also include Together to the End, the winner of the $233,573 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3) and Shesa Diamond Diva, the runner-up of the 2017 LQHBA Louisiana Million (RG1) last December at Evangeline Downs

He acknowledges that choosing between multiple qualifiers for futurities and derbies is extremely challenging but won’t face that dilemma this month.

He won three Lassie trial races on April 27 and four the next night for the Laddie, but only qualified one juvenile for each race. He will guide Amending The Bar in the $283,715 Lassie Futurity (RG2) and fastest qualifier Acoronas Toast in the $359,715 Laddie Futurity (RG2).

The young rider could have another huge celebration again this year as his birthday falls on the final of the Laddie Futurity. He likes his chances on Acoronas Toast, who despite his diminutive size, is a speedy son of Coronas Leaving You.

So, the stage is set for the tallest jockey to ride the smallest finalist on his 20th birthday! Sanchez is enjoying the 2018 Delta Downs meet but can barely contain his enthusiasm when it comes to winning another major race on his birthday.

"That would be great," he said with his trademark grin!

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The LQHBA Insider is a monthly feature written by Martha Claussen for www.lqhba.com. She served as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park for ten years. She continues to be active in writing, fan education and Quarter Horse racing publicity in Texas, Louisiana and other regions in North America.