Tied for leading rider honors through last weekend and
among the leaders since the Thoroughbred Racing Season began on Thanksgiving
Day is jockey Richard Eramia, off to an unusually fast start for
someone in only his second season at Fair Grounds.
“Yes, I’m off to a very good start,” said Eramia, a
31-year-old native of Uruguay,
when talking in the jockeys’ room Monday morning. “I’m a little surprised to be
tied for leading rider, and I’m very grateful to my agent Rick Mocklin.
He’s a very good agent, he knows a lot of people and he keeps putting me on
very good horses.
“I came to New Orleans for
the first time last year to ride,” said Eramia, “but I really didn’t know what
to expect coming into a new place after riding mostly on the Texas circuit for about four years, but I
did all right for someone just breaking in here. I finished 11th in the
standings at the end of the season, but then I went to Louisiana Downs last
summer and did very well, leading the standings most of the way before
finishing three wins behind Don Simington at the end of the meeting.
“I ride a lot of horses for trainers like Michelle
Lovell, Morris Nicks and Sweet Hodges, both at Louisiana
Downs and down here, and they’ve put me on some very good horses,” said Eramia,
who rode for about 10 years in his native Uruguay before coming to this
country. “I don’t know if I can stay on as leading rider, but if I can stay
near the top and finish in the top seven or eight riders I’ll be very pleased.
This is a very good jockey colony down here and I like all these guys very
much. I figure all I can do is keep working hard, and if I do maybe the Good
Lord will pay me back.”
As a devoted family man, Eramia speaks constantly of his
wife Jessica, his 6-year-old daughter Cynthia and his 2-year-old
son Laffit, who remain at their home in Dallas while the jockey plies his trade at
Fair Grounds. Not surprisingly, his son is named in honor of Hall of Fame
jockey Laffit Pincay Jr.
“I’ve never met him, but I met (Hall of Fame) Braulio
Baeza once and he called him up and put me on the phone with him,” Eramia
said. “I told him I named my son after him and he said: ‘That was very nice of
you. Thank you very much. I am honored.’”
One who has watched Eramia’s constant improvement over the
last few years is Roy Wood, state steward at Fair Grounds and also at
“I’ve been watching Richard for several years and watched
his riding ability improve constantly over that time,” said Wood. “I’ve been
Equally impressed has been conditioner Michelle Lovell,
currently on or near the lead in the trainer standings at Fair Grounds in the
season’s initial days, and a horsewoman who names Eramia on most of her stock,
both at Louisiana Downs and at Fair Grounds.
“He’s always been a real good rider,” said Lovell, “and now
he’s coming into his own to be an even better rider. He’s honest and he always
gives you 110-percent. We always try to support him because he’s been very good