Richie Silverstein and Martin Pedroza
have been an “item” for nearly three decades. The durable agent and the unsinkable jockey have maintained a business relationship that has developed into a trusting friendship.
Pedroza, under-rated as a world class rider, has a reputation first and foremost centered on his overwhelming success at Fairplex Park, a five-eighths of a mile course in Pomona 20 miles east of Santa Anita where the 48-year-old Pedroza has won a record 15 riding titles, 14 of them with Silverstein calling the shots.
At the meet that concluded Sept. 22, Pedroza was the leading rider with 25 wins, giving him a career record 730 at the Los Angeles County Fair track. His wins came from 73 mounts for a winning percentage of 34 percent. He had $485,540 in purse earnings.
The 25 victories came despite Pedroza missing three days recovering from a sore knee in a riding mishap in the sixth race on Sept. 14. The pain on his face was beyond a grimace after he worked horses at Santa Anita early this week.
“He got dropped in an unfortunate incident that probably should have never happened, but it did happen,” Silverstein said. “That’s racing. Pomona’s Pomona. This is three years in a row we’ve had to sustain an injury, and it’s unfortunate. They weren’t breakdowns. The track was safe, it was terrific. It was a credit to Martin that he rode the last three days. It’s a miracle.
“It was a good meet, and all in all, we were happy to be back on top again and happy to win the (Ralph M. Hinds) Handicap again (aboard Blueskiesnrainbows for Jerry Hollendorfer).” Last year, Pedroza was dethroned at Fairplex by Edwin Maldonado. Pedroza’s career statistics are remarkably consistent. He has 3,586 firsts, 3,547 seconds and 3,456 thirds.
Any doubters of Pedroza’s grit and determination should watch a replay of Saturday’s Grade I Vosburgh Invitational victory aboard Private Zone at Belmont Park.
Private Zone appeared beaten in deep stretch, but Pedroza would have none of it. Passed on the outside by John Velazquez aboard Justin Phillip, Pedroza called on all his reserve, rousing Private Zone for an unlikely nose victory. Rene Douglas, a former jockey who retired in 2009 after a paralyzing spill at Arlington Park, manages Private Zone for the Good Friends Stable trained by Doug O’Neill.
“Douglas found Private Zone in Panama, and there aren’t too many good horses there,” Silverstein said. “This may be the first American Grade I stakes winner that came from there. I talked to Rene yesterday and he’s very excited, so much so that if all goes well, he definitely will come to Santa Anita to see Private Zone run (in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Nov. 2) at Santa Anita. This would be a rare trip, although he did go to Dubai (for the Golden Shaheen). Rene usually does everything at his home in Florida via computer.”
The Vosburgh was only Pedroza’s second ride ever at Belmont. He finished second on Miss Iron Smoke for the late Brian Mayberry in the Grade I Matron in 1991.
“Martin riding for Rene carries extra significance,” Silverstein said. “I like to think that I’m Martin’s best friend, but Rene and Martin went through jockey school together (in their native Panama), they’ve known each other since their early teens. With Rene’s unfortunate accident, they are closer than ever.”
Silverstein, Pedroza’s agent off and on for the better part of 27 years, has achieved much but still has his sights set on greater things.
“My goal was to get him to 3,000 wins,” Silverstein said. “Now we’re close to 3,600 (3,586 through Saturday). My goal was to get him to $100 million in purses, we’ve passed that ($100,686,406). My next goal is to get him to 4,000 winners.
“I’m four years way."