A pair of graded stakes wins including an upset victory in the $1 million Rainbow Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs on July 19th has propelled Jockey Ricky Ramirez to another riding accomplishment. He was named the AQHA/Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Month for July. The award is voted on by a panel of Quarter Horse racing experts for riding accomplishments and achievements for the previous month of racing.
Tres Friends, sent to post at odds of 9-1 despite his status as the fastest qualifier, scored his first stakes victory in the Rainbow Futurity. Ridden by Ricky Ramirez for trainer Blane Wood, Tres Friends covered 400 yards in :19.744, and his winning margin was a neck from 9-5 favorite First Valiant Sign in the Ruidoso feature event.
“He brushed at the start and was in the lead by the second jump,” said Ramirez of Tres Friends’ performance. “He really ran a good race.”
Less than a week later Ramirez would score big again when a $33,000 buy at last year’s Texas Quarter Horse Association Yearling Sale, Cartels Pop Pop paid dividends for his connections with his half-length victory on July 25th at Retama Park in the $413,776 TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2).
Cartels Pop Pop went 350 yards in :17.967 under jockey Ricky Ramirez. The colt by The Louisiana Cartel earned $184,130 to push his bankroll to $190,435 from five outs. Blane Wood saddled Cartels Pop Pop for his son, who was holding down the fort at Ruidoso Downs. Ramirez is happy to ride for both father and son, winning graded events for both in the same week.
“He didn’t break that well, but he came running at the end,” said Ramirez.
Growing up in Odessa, Texas, the now 30 year-old Ramirez cut his teeth in the early days at the match race track in his hometown. Born with a smaller stature that leaned heavily towards the perfect makeup for the building of an elite level jockey, there wasn’t a day in Ramirez memory that doesn’t include something related to an equine pursuit.
“My father did a little bit of racing riding back in his native Mexico as a younger man,” said Ramirez. “He would ride some on his father’s horses from time to time, and it seemed that since my birth that I cannot remember a day when my father himself didn’t have horses in our backyard. To be a jockey is all that I ever wanted to do. I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything beside ride racehorses for a living.
“We did make several trips to see the All American in Ruidoso when I was a child and as a teenager,” said Ramirez. “I got a chance to see all of these riders I had always heard about, like G.R. Carter, Jacky Martin, and Jerry Nicodemus. Seeing them ride, and see them win would just inspire me to follow my dream of becoming a jockey even more.”
On his current relationship with the Woods, Ramirez said, “Blane and Trey are great to ride for. When things are going well, and when thing aren’t going as well, we still are very much a team. Race riding is sometimes problematic, and mistakes happen in races quite often. Blane and Trey are good about never holding a grudge about it when they happen. They both know that mistakes are going to happen, and that it is just a part of the game. They will discuss it with me, if at all, and then move on. I can see them two to three races later, and it is as if it never happened. They both are very supportive, and we have had a lot of success together.”
Ramirez finished the month with 14 wins, ten seconds, and seven thirds from 72 mounts, and was first in AQHA earnings with $915,690 in purses won.