LQHBA Insider - By Martha Claussen July  25, 2024


When you watch jockey Bryan Candanosa enter the winner's circle following a victory, two things stand out. First, that engaging smile and secondly, this up and comer has some serious talent!

Hopefully the smile will continue to be a trademark for the 19-year-old rider, who is in the middle of his third year on the Louisiana-Texas Quarter Horse circuit. Born in Dallas, Candanosa is the second of seven children in his family. Neither of his parents were involved in racing, but his uncle Adalberto Candanosa rode both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses with graded stakes wins at Remington Park and Lone Star Park. Candanosa remembers going to the racetrack with him when he was ten-years-old and was instantly hooked.

"It was amazing to watch my uncle and so many other great riders at Remington Park," he recalled. "I would stand on the rail and chase them down the track apron!"

He attended Garland High School for one year, opting for home schooling after his freshman year so he could spend time working with his uncle in the barn. He began galloping as young teen.

The first trainer in Louisiana who gave him his start was Orlando Orozco.

"His uncle made sure he knew his way around the barn," said Orozco. "When he began to gallop for me, I saw his talent, but I also noticed he was very respectful as well as a hard worker."

One day, Orozco had the young rider working horses out of the gates.

"I remember asking the outrider to look at this kid," he said. "He agreed with me that Bryan had potential."

Candanosa made his debut at Evangeline Downs on November 9, 2018, with his first win coming three weeks later aboard the aptly named Irish Bomb ($51.60) for trainer Porfiero Fierro. He won 38 races in 2019; 34 in 2020 and is on track to boost that total this year.

However, Candanosa is not big on the importance of statistics.

"Numbers are just numbers," he stated. "All I focus on when I ride a race is me and the horse. "The feeling when they give everything coming down the stretch is breathtaking!"

Gilbert Ortiz, who has won over 3,000 races, is one of the most respected journeymen in Quarter Horse racing and is currently riding at Delta Downs.

The young rider admits to watching every race Ortiz rides and admires him a great deal.

"I have learned so much from him," admits Candanosa. "He has a very unique riding style and sets an amazing standard in the jocks room."

"He's a nice kid," said Ortiz. "He'll ask me questions and really listens to everything I share. You can tell how much he loves riding; he's a hard worker but knows that there is always more to learn."

Candanosa, whose business is handled by agent Gerald Thomas, has won 95 races to date, with his top horses to date being Cruzin Cartel, winner of the $406,000 TQHA Sale Futurity last July at Retama Park and Stone Cold Leader, who won the 550-yard $50,000 Tower of the Americas Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park on July 2.

Trainer Eric Long gave credit to the young jockey on his driving finish aboard Stone Cold Leader.

"Bryan has galloped for us in Louisiana and is a young rider with natural talent," said Long. "We believe in him and know how hard it is to break through in Texas and Louisiana with so many established jockeys."

Candanosa appreciates each owner and trainer for their faith in him. He is not rushing to set goals and hopes he will continue to ride for many decades to come.

"I want to learn more," he stated. "The smallest details are so important and will make a difference as I continue to ride. Maybe one day I will have an opportunity to ride in the All American (Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs), but for now, every race means a lot."

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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.