Horse Racing

Take riding for a career, not for a day job – jockey Roderick DaCosta urges apprentices

BY HURBUN WILLIAMS
Observer writer

Friday, March 15, 2019

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JAMAICAN jockey Roderick DaCosta, a winner of 303 races on local soil but who over the past years has settled in Canada while plying his riding skills at racetracks there, including Fort Erie, was again in the saddle at the Park on Saturday last, March 9, 2019.

DaCosta, after climbing down from riding the Joseph Thomas-trained Big Dream in the seventh race gave an update on his present status.

“It has been about three to four years since I have ridden down here and I decided to get myself back in the saddle today (last Saturday).

“It is so exciting for me to renew acquaintances with some of my fellow graduates.

“Along with this, it brings me great joy to see the young kids (new batch of claiming apprentices) doing their best to get their acts together to be of worth in the years to come.

“I have been riding 33 years now and I am trying to keep myself in good riding shape by being strong, healthy and competitive. Trevor Simpson, Joe Buchanan and myself, we all graduated at the same time in 1986.

“I returned home in January and I was not going to ride. There was, however, a change of heart and then I started to train to get myself ready for riding as it could be another month or so before I return to Canada where I live with my wife and three boys.

“I broke my leg a year and a half ago and that gave me a setback.

“So, when I came home, I made it my duty to go to the beach every day and trained diligently to get myself back into good riding trim and I am back together once again,” DaCosta shared.

Since DaCosta began riding on the North American racing circuit in 1992, he has so far ridden 241 winners with 213 second-place finishes, 216 thirds from 1,650 rides with total earnings of approximately CAN$2,768,868.

DaCosta's most successful year for winners while riding in Canada came in 2007 when he rode 35 winners from 208 rides earning CAN$322,325, surpassing the previous year where he won 33 races from 176 rides with earnings of CAN$406,406.

“I must say that I have done pretty well in Canada. I linked up with a trainer by the name of Ross Amata, who won two championships at Fort Erie and I rode all his horses. I've also ridden some good winners for Mark Fournier, who was also a champion trainer. I have won the Rainbow Connection Stakes in a record time of 56.0 seconds flat aboard his (Mark Fournier), speedball filly, Shot Gun Ella.

“I've had other notable successes in the saddle but just over a year ago, I broke my leg while in the parade ring aboard Senor Red, on whom I had already won two races.

Senor Red began to act up and after stepping off the horse, I broke the calcareous bone of the leg which gave me a setback and that injury has laid me up for some time now.

“I have continued remedial work at the Hellshire Beach since arriving in January and I am getting back to good racing trim,” said DaCosta.

DaCosta then ended with a message to the young apprentice riders.

“There is something I would like to say to the apprentices out there. Hold your heads high and focus on riding. Take riding for a career, not for a day job.

“Take it (riding) as a career, so that many of you can make yourselves into something worthwhile, to become a big man out of it and turn around and then you must help your families.

“Most of all, save your riding cheques in a reputable bank, don't go around squandering your earnings because at the end of the day if you do not put most of it aside, you will not have anything to fall back on. The effort and labour that you put into accumulating it will be lost if you do not save.

“For if you fail to save then you will fail to see what the effort and sacrifice was for. So, keep working hard, sacrifice yourself, train hard and be diligent at what you do forthright,” he said.


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