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Camejo Finds Fair Grounds Winners' Circle

Fair Grounds Race Course
Photo: CDI

Jockey Jose Camejo, 33, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, has been riding for five years in the United States but visited the winner’s circle at Fair Grounds for the first time in the last race Saturday aboard Joseph Robson’s Watch Pat for trainer Don Roberson.


“It was very exciting, very emotional for me to win my first race at Fair Grounds,” said Camejo on Sunday. “I like Fair Grounds, and I like New Orleans. I like the people and I feel very comfortable here.


“I was leading rider in Mexico in 2002, came to the United States to ride briefly in Florida, but ended up at Turfway Park in 2005 and won my first American race at River Downs that summer,” said Camejo. “I won the same stakes race in 2005 and 2006 at Hoosier aboard a horse named Lack a Rock, and the same stakes in 2007 and 2008 aboard another horse at Turfway Park. I broke my back in Indiana in 2009 but returned to ride at Louisiana Downs last summer.


“I’m very grateful to trainers like Keith Desormeaux, Andy Leggio, Sweet Hodges, Don Roberson and Robert Husak for giving me a chance since I got here,” said Camejo. “I think I can do well here as long as I keep riding for guys like that.”


Camejo’s engagements are being handled by Javier Torres, who served as Fair Grounds’ assistant clerk of scales last season.



Conditioner Eric Heitzmann enjoyed the first training triple of his career during Friday’s Starlight Racing program, ably assisted by the riding hat trick of jockey Jesse Campbell, and it was accomplished successively. 


Russell Welch’s Mr. Shorty won the third, Eric, Carmel (Eric’s wife) and Mike (Eric’s brother) Heitzmann’s Howiteel scored in the fourth, and Hudson Longhorns’ Roll Me Away took the fifth.


“I feel very lucky, very blessed,” said Heitzmann Sunday. “It’s always especially good when the family wins one. It makes for a good Christmas dinner.”


Heitzmann, who trained in Dubai for four years, met his wife in Dubai. “She was a stewardess for Emirates Airlines,” said Heitzmann. “I met her on one of her flights.”






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