Richard Bracho ready for Indiana Derby

Jockey Richard Bracho may be somewhat of a stranger to racing fans at Indiana Grand, but he’s no stranger to success. The native of Caracas, Venezuela will attempt to add the Grade II $500,000-added Indiana Derby to his resume when he gets a leg up from Trainer Tom Amoss on Pilot House in the Saturday, July 16 race.

Bracho earned more than 2,000 wins while riding for the majority of his 26-year career in his native Venezuela. He first came to the United States in 2003 and rode the Philadelphia Park-Monmouth Park circuit, winning almost 100 races. After returning to Venezuela, he returned in 2004 and rode at several different places before he got hurt at Monmouth Park, an injury that sidelined him for many months due to three fractured ribs and three fractured vertebrae. The return for Bracho to the track was in the spring of 2005 and he rode through 2006 before returning to Venezuela.

“I have been back and forth a lot to Venezuela since 2003 and raced at a lot of different places while I’ve been here (in the United States),” said Bracho through Ramiro Torres, who served as the interpreter. “I even rode here at Indiana Grand in 2012 and had a good meet, but then went back. But I am in the United States now for good. I’m not planning on going back to Venezuela.”

It’s understandable why Bracho kept returning to Venezuela. He has a lot of success riding in his native country, winning the Simon Bolivar, Venezuela’s biggest race two times and also captured the prestigious Clasico Caribe three times when it was held in his country.

“It (Clasico Caribe) is a race that has bragging rights if you win,” said Bracho. “Everyone wants to win that race.”

Bracho will feel right at home stepping up to ride in Indiana’s most prestigious and richest race. He has been selected to ride Pilot House from post three for Indiana Grand’s four-time leading trainer Tom Amoss. Bracho rode the chestnut son of Midshipman to victory over Indiana Grand’s turf course in early June and expects him to be tough in the Indiana Derby.

“When I rode him (Pilot House) on the grass, I thought I fit him well,” said Bracho. “I have a lot of faith in him and I think he will do well. I will try with all of my heart to win this race.”

At odds of 10-1 on the morning line, Bracho knows Pilot House will need to be on top of his game to defeat the field assembling for the Indiana Derby. And, he will await some instruction from Amoss before he heads out for the race.

“The race is tough and there is speed in the race, so I’m not sure where we will end up,” said Bracho. “I will wait until Mr. Amoss gives me instruction and see what he says about the race. But either way, getting a good position is key. I have not been on him since his win here, but when I rode him last time, he had a lot of heart. I just want to choose the right time to let him out and let him run.”

Bracho has gotten a lot of run out of a lot of horses this meet at Indiana Grand. He has consistently been among the track’s top five jockeys since the beginning of the meet and maintains a top three percentage of over 50 percent. Many of his 28 wins through Friday, July 15 have been recorded on Amoss-trained horses.

“It is an honor to work for Richard (Bracho),” said Torres, who serves as his valet. “He is a class act and has done very well here this year. He’s going to have a great future riding here.”