Tis the season right? Well for jockey Martin Garcia, the month of November provided many reasons to be both jolly and thankful at the beginning and at the end.
November of 2014 began with Garcia gaining perhaps the biggest win of his career. Guiding the three-year old Bayern to a rough and tumble win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, the 29-year old native of Veracruz, Mexico proved once again why he has been a “go-to” rider for trainer Bob Baffert. The month ended with Garcia guiding another Baffert trained three-year old, Hoppertunity, the winner’s circle in the 140th running of the grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.
“I have been lucky to ride some really good horses lately,” says Garcia. “Every morning and every day is a lot of enjoyment for me. I give thanks to everyone in the Bob Baffert barn. Everybody plays their part in making me successful. I especially owe a lot of thanks to Mr. Baffert and his owners for trusting in me and pushing me to be the best. That is why I work really hard because I don’t want to let them down. They have put a lot of faith in me and doing my job to the best of my abilities is what it is really all about.”
As in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Garcia enjoyed a great ride on Hoppertunity in the Clark win. Stalking the early pace, Martin moved this son of Any Given Saturday and let the big dog eat. Repelling a late charge from Protonico and keeping Hoppertunity to task, Garcia led another horse to the winner’s circle in a big race, a place he is thankful to be.