Martin Pedroza has his priorities in order.
He has accomplished much in his career of more than 20 years, but he has yet
to attain the world class recognition of his peers in the Southern California
He won the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on a 50-1 shot, Martial Law, in
He won six consecutive races at Oak Tree on Breeders' Cup day in 1992,
equaling a mark set by Laffit Pincay Jr. in 1987.
He is Fairplex Park's all-time leader with 326 victories and is aiming for
his fifth Pomona title at the current meet which ends on Sept. 29.
No jockey tries harder than the 37-year-old native of Panama City, Panama.
His competitive fire burns hot as ever. If a horse Pedroza rides doesn't win,
it's not due to lack of effort on Pedroza's part. He has enough confidence to
fill the entire jockeys' room, but if he's not on a live mount, even Pedroza
can't drag it to the winner's circle, although he's probably strong enough.
"I could have had a better Del Mar meet," said Pedroza, who finished in the
top 10 with 13 wins. "But as long as I'm healthy, that's all I care about. I
always look forward to Pomona. I make good money here. I look forward to
every meet, but especially this one."
Pedroza knows every crevice of the five-eighths of a mile Fairplex oval like
the back of his hand. He also knows it is a track that demands respect.
With talk rampant that this could be the final year of racing at the Los
Angeles County Fair, Pedroza is realistic.
"If you were to ask me, I'd run here every year, but it's not up to me,"
Pedroza said. As for his lack of major stakes mounts, Pedroza is puzzled but
philosophical. Not that he hasn't been given an occasional leg up by training
luminaries such as D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert and Julio Canani, among others.
"I don't know what it is," said Pedroza, who has more than 2,000 career
victories, "I've proved myself to everyone over the years. I don't know what
else they want. I'm not a greedy person. Whatever the good Lord gives me, is
what I take. If I'm given the opportunity, I'm there. If not, well it's too
bad. I've done it all. I've won a million-dollar race, I've won six straight
races in one day."
Pedroza went through a divorce several years ago, but his family, especially
his two sons, Brian and Tyler, mean everything to him.
"My main goals are to stay healhy and enjoy my family and do my job," Pedroza
FAIRWELLS: Tyler Baze won two races Tuesday to take a 7-5 lead over Martin
Pedroza and Matt Garcia, who are tied with five each. Twelve trainers are
tied for the top spot with two wins each . . . Trainer David LaCroix says
Beau Brummel Stakes winner Jimmy O will be pointed to the 1 1/16-mile Gateway
to Glory Stakes on Sept. 26. "He handles the turns here real well," LaCroix
said. "If he comes out of the race all right, why not?" . . . Tuesdays are
. . . Tuesday are Senior Days at the Los Angeles County Fair. Admission is $4
for guests 60 years old and over, and includes entrance to the races.