This week, we're launching a new feature called Pop Quiz, in which we ask well-known racing personalities a series of questions that go beyond the expected and reveal the lighter side of the people who make the industry tick.
Joel Rosario, 28, grabbed headlines this spring with his wins in the Dubai World Cup on Animal Kingdom and in the Kentucky Derby aboard Orb, and has continued his hot streak through this summer. Rosario has a 23 percent win percentage for 2013, and as of July his mounts have earned $14.2 million.
Rosario spent six months in jockey school before turning pro at the age of 14. He was the leading rider in the Dominican Republic four times before moving his tack to California, where he picked up stakes mounts two years later. Rosario cracked the top five riders nationally by earnings in 2009 and has been on the rise ever since.
How do you prepare for a race?
I get ready, work out, do my routine every day. Some days I lose some weight. I do different exercises to build muscle. For me, I'm riding every day so I don't really have to do too much.
What's your favorite sport besides racing?
What was the last thing that you Googled?
Maybe myself? I don't remember exactly, but maybe myself.
What was the last thing that played on your iPhone?
I know it wasn't music. Probably Equibase, where they have the race replays and all that.
If you could change any one thing about racing, what would it be?
I've got to think about that. I think everything is perfect, so I don't know. Maybe winning more races.
What would you be doing if you weren't a jockey?
I tried baseball, but it didn't work out because I was too small. That was all I had wanted in life. I don't know. If I weren't a jockey I'd probably be doing something else. Mucking stalls or something.
Do you have any superstitions or something you do for good luck?
I pray every day.
Who is your role model in the industry?
There's a lot of really good jockeys out there to look up to. I'd have to say Jerry Bailey was one of my favorite jockeys, and Laffit Pincay. I can't really say, there's a lot of good jockeys.
What was the best advice that somebody ever gave you?
When I win two or three races [in a row], someone commented to me, 'Just because you won two or three, don't think you're good now.' That's very good advice.
Who's your favorite Thoroughbred that you've ridden?
I have a bunch, but I want to say Animal Kingdom, and Orb.
Who's your favorite Thoroughbred that you never rode?
I'm going with Zenyatta. She was a really good horse.
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