Los Alamitos Press Release
Cesar De Alba, the leading Quarter Horse jockey at Los Alamitos in 2016 and recipient of the 2017 Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award, will end his riding career this Sunday night after piloting Howard Nichols’ Dexxter in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, which slated as the ninth race on the card. The 37-year-old will then embark on a new career in racing, as he recently passed his trainers test.
“I’ve always said that when I retired from riding that I wanted to train,” De Alba said. “I’m ready for a new challenge. My father, Salvador De Alba, has been around racehorses his entire life. At San Luis Rey Downs he’s always had one or two of his own. He’s willing to help me in any way he can and I can tell you that he’ll be a big part of my team as I enter this new challenge. His experience will be so valuable for me. I’ve been fortunate to ride many great horses in my career. I have really good horses to ride in each of the big races this closing weekend. I would love to cap it off with a big win this weekend. I’ll go out there and try my best. A win in the Champion of Champions on BH Lisas Boy would be the cherry on top for me and I’m fortunate to have mount aboard Dexxter in the Los Alamitos Two Million final.”
De Alba plans to train both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. “As soon as I get my license to train I’ll look to claim a couple of horses, maybe even a Thoroughbred from across town. Hopefully I’ll pick up some clients. I’ll train some horses here at Los Alamitos and go from there. I’m excited about this new challenge and the opportunities that might come up a result. I feel that I’m ready for them.”
De Alba has won 1,030 Quarter Horse races from 6,114 mounts in his career, 1,000 of those wins coming at Los Alamitos. His mounts have earned $15.8 million. He’ll retire as Los Alamitos’ 15th all-time leading rider. His 90 stakes wins at Los Alamitos rank him 10th all-time. He is currently fifth in the Quarter Horse standings with 51 victories. In his career, De Alba won Grade 1 races with Moonist, BH Lisas Boy, Jess My Kiss, Time For Jess, Little Talks, Bon Accord, Stylish Jess BR, Jumpn Beduino, Hard Hitting Ancient Ruler, and Strength In Numbers. De Alba and his wife, Becky, a state track veterinarian, have two sons, 4-year-old Kevin and 2-year-old Nicholas.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” De Alba added. “I started with the Quarter Horses with the support of Blane Schvaneveldt, Paul Jones, John Cooper and others. I remember the first horse I rode for PJ broke the track record at 300 yards. I rode in some big races for Paul and won some grade ones aboard great mares like Strength In Numbers and Stylish Jess BR, the mother of Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity finalist Flash And Roll. Like most jockeys, I had some injuries and many ups and downs. The great Moonist came along and revived me in the sport. That horse came at a great time for me. I was focused and more mature. It was a special time riding Moonist. Now I have BH Lisas Boy. Bill Hoburg has been so great and so loyal. He told me I would get the mount back on BH Lisas Boy once I came back after my injury earlier this year. When I came back he gave me a chance to ride BH Lisas Boy, just like he had said.
“I won a million dollar race on Little Talks for Burns Ranch and Mike Casselman. I’ve won a lot of races and I would say I accomplished a little bit of everything. Had some nice wins, rode some great horses. It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’ll be riding my last night, but it’ll probably sink in when I’m at home watching the races and I’m not there. I’d like to thank all the horsemen and racing fans for the support they’ve given me throughout my years as a jockey and hope it continues as a trainer. I’m ready for this new challenge and ready to get some clients. I’m excited and I can’t wait.”