Quarter Horse jockey Damien Martinez scored a stakes win in The Old South Derby and led all AQHA riders in wins during the month of May. Those accomplishments contributed to Martinez being named the AQHA/Jockeys’ Guild “Jockey of the Month”. The award is voted on by a panel of Quarter Horse racing experts for riding accomplishments and achievements during the previous month of racing.
Martinez, currently second in the rider standings at Delta Downs, got the best of a talented field of three-year-olds on May 13th aboard the filly Sr Inseperable. Martinez guided her to a neck victory to tally her first career stakes win in the $71,075 Old South Derby at Delta Downs.
The 22-year-old rider was born in Coahuila, Mexico and began riding professionally in 2012. Martinez is currently one of the youngest riders at Delta Downs.
His start to racing had a rocky beginning as a broken leg in a training accident kept him off mounts for six months. Martinez recalls that after one trainer fired him he thought about quitting. However Texas horseman Brian Stroud saw his potential and the two embarked on a prolific association with Martinez guiding 2014 AQHA world champion JRC Callas First to seven stakes wins.
The young rider made his move to Louisiana this year and it is already paying off. Martinez has already established himself among the veteran colony at Delta Downs and is just four wins behind current leader David Alvarez. In the spring of 2015 at Damian won his first riding title at Sam Houston Race Park.
“As soon as I walked into the room, I was treated well,” said Martinez. “It is great how everyone gets along here.”
He and his wife, Bianca, reside in San Antonio, Texas. They are proud parents of two-year-old Daila, who Martinez calls his “lucky charm”.
For the month of May Damian led all riders in AQHA victories with 15 while placing third in total earnings of $290,114.
The American Quarter Horse Association, founded in 1940, is the world’s largest equine breed registry and membership organization. With more than 5.6 million horses registered, AQHA functions as the official record keeping and governing body of the American Quarter Horse industry. AQHA records all American Quarter Horse ownership, processes approved show and race results, catalogs performance and produce data on all American Quarter Horses, maintains association funds and publicizes the American Quarter Horse industry. Find more at www.aqharacing.com.
The voters are:
Steve Anderson (Daily Racing Form)
Andrea Caudill (Q-Racing Journal Editor)
Martha Claussen (AQHA Wrangler Aces coordinator)
Chris Kotulak (Remington Park handicapper/analyst)
Don Stevens (Delta Downs announcer)
Doug McPherson (Ajax Downs Handicapper/Clocker, Woodbine Equibase Caller)