Olivo makes the switch to Quarter Horse training

Victor Olivo has been a successful Quarter Horse jockey in Indiana for the past decade. He won the title at Indiana Grand in 2012 and is currently ranked in second place on the list of all-time leading Quarter Horse jockeys at Indiana Grand. However, at the end of the racing season in 2015, he rode his last horse back to be unsaddled. He knew it was time to pursue another avenue in Quarter Horse racing.

Olivo took some horses to Hialeah to race this winter and went through the process to become a Quarter Horse trainer, receiving his license in Florida. He returned to Wilkinson, Ind. this spring as he always does, ready to race at Indiana Grand, only this time, he will have a different vantage point during the races.

“It’s more exciting I think to be a trainer rather than a jockey,” said Olivo. “And I get more nervous. As a jockey I was always relaxed and went into every race the same, whether it was a claimer or a stakes race. Now, they all feel like stakes races to me.”

Olivo didn’t wait long to visit the winner’s circle. He got his first training win with Carters Success in the final race Tuesday, April 26. He was mentored into training by Paul Martin. Olivo has been the jockey for all of Martin’s horses over the past four or five years, including the stable’s standout WH Design By Dash, who is nearing $300,000 in earnings. Martin also had an entry in the race, finishing third behind Carters Success with Rock This Candy Tree ridden by Cristian Esqueda.

“The student beat the teacher,” said Olivo with a smile.

Olivo currently has 18 horses in training at his farm outside of Wilkinson, which is just north of Greenfield, Ind. Of the 18 in training, he owns five of them himself. Carters Success is one that Olivo owns, making his first win even that much more significant. Fernando Fonseca-Soto, a new jockey at Indiana Grand this season, was aboard for the win.

“Fernando started riding at Arapahoe in Colorado and then went to Iowa last year and was at Hialeah this winter,” said Olivo. “He asked if I needed a jockey so he came to Indiana this year, and he’s been riding for me.”

One thing that is more important to Olivo than racing is his family. The devoted family man had some of his kids in the winner’s circle for his first win, and he’s also enjoying another new aspect of life with them.

“Before I really had to watch what I ate,” said Olivo. “Now, the kids will want to go eat and I can say ‘Let’s go’ and not have to just watch.”

Olivo is off to a great start in his new career as a Quarter Horse trainer. If he has half the success in Indiana that he’s had as a jockey, he will be well on his way to a bright future.