WHAT THEY SAY: David McKenzie - RACEHORSE JOCKEY

Friday, September 22, 2017

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When did you start your career as a jockey?

It was natural for me to seek a profession in the sport of horse racing. I have been involved in the game from I was a little boy growing up, and the more I went to the track, the more I got attached to the sport. My father was a trainer of racehorses, my mother made the riding colours (racing silks) for owners, my grandfather was a jockey, so was my uncle, and my brother was a trainer and a jockey. Horse racing runs through the family as you can see, so it came as no surprise that I would get involved in the racing industry. I started my career as a rider in 1963 and I have been part of the sport ever since.

Which horse was your first winner?

A horse by the name of Saint Valentine was my first winner. To be honest, I wasn't all that excited when I won my first race. I was happy, yes, but I was more serious about riding more winners as soon as I got off the mark. Trainer Allan 'Billy' Williams gave me instructions to put the horse in front. That was what I did, and we made one move and won. Happy, yes, but I wanted more winners.

Which horse was your longest-odds winner?

My longest-odds winner was Puffers. I don't remember the odds, but I remember it was at very, very long odds when I won on Puffers. As I said, I am happy when I win races, but I am [anxious to ride] more winners. Each win is like motivation for me to ride more winners.

Which is the best horse you have ridden?

This is a tricky one, as I have ridden so many good and talented racehorses. I have ridden Reprieve, who was a good horse; I have ridden Persian Coin, a really good horse; I have ridden King Pin, another good horse who won the Derby like Reprieve, then there was Royal Crest, another Derby winner. Those were all great horses, but I think the best horse I have ridden in my career was Caroline Park. I won from five furlongs (1,000m) to a mile and a half (2,400m) on Caroline Park, and she became an outstanding broodmare, producing the likes of Reprieve, Appeal Court and Zareba.

Which is the best horse you have seen race at Caymanas Park?

There were plenty, but I would say the Hall of Fame inductee Mark My Word. He was a very good racehorse who won some very good races as well. Mark My Word won the Triple Crown (2000 Guineas, Jamaica Derby and Jamaica St Leger) in 2010, which was brilliant. He also won the Superstakes three times in a row, which was also brilliant. He was a truly great racehorse.

Who influenced your career the most?

My family supported me a lot, as well as friends and other racing people. But my mother Rita McKenzie influenced my career the most. She was always there for me and supported me a lot.

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