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Mexican Jockey Victor Espinoza Started at a Goat Farm, Now He's Dancing With the Stars


Mexican Jockey Victor Espinoza Started at a Goat Farm, Now He’s Dancing With the Stars

Rob Carr / Getty

Victor Espinoza’s name will go down in history. He became the first jockey in 37 years to win horse racing’s Triple Crown after riding American Pharaoh to a resounding victory at the Belmont Stakes. Here’s a closer look at Espinoza, who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico to pursue his dream of becoming a jockey.

He’s the 11th of 12 Children

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My bro and I

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That’s Victor on the right with his brother Jose, a retired jockey. Espinoza told the Washington Post that he can’t always remember the names of his siblings.

He Lived on a Goat Farm in Mexico

Victor Espinoza at the ESPN Espy Awards

Photo Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty

As a kid, Espinoza used to help his brother herd more than 2,000 goats on a farm. Now he gets honored at events like the ESPYs.

He’s One of 11 Jockeys to Win Horse Racing’s Triple Crown

Victor Espinoza riding American Pharaoh at the Belmont Stakes

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons / Getty

He’s also the first Latino to win the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

TV Cameras Caught Him Saying “Holy Shit” After His Win


The mic also picked up Espinoza saying something that rhymes with “Fruta Madre.”  One of the assistants was heard telling Espinoza, “¡Dame otro pinche abrazo, cabrón!”

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He Donated his Belmont Stakes Winnings to Charity

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Martha #City Hope

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Espinoza announced that he would donate all of his winnings – $80,000 minus what he pays his agent and assistants – to City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment center. He’s been donating 10 percent of his winnings to City of Hope for several years.

He’s Earned More than $4.5 million Over the Course of His Career

Victor Espinoza riding California Chrome
Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty

Not bad for a guy who used to work as a horse groomer and bus driver.

He’s Met with Royalty

Jockey Victor Espinoza with England's Queen Elizabeth

Photo Credit: Kristin Sinclair / Getty

That’s Espinoza with Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Ascot race in England.

He’s a Fan of Breaking Bad

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First win of the day @delmarracing

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Espinoza proudly shows off his Los Pollos Hermanos shirt after a race at Del Mar racetrack in California.

He’s Got Big Arms for a Guy Who is Only 5’2″

Jockey Victor Espinoza rides California Chrome
Photo Credit: csak / flickr

Is that a bulletproof vest for those guns, Victor?

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He’s Got a Decent Sinker

Victor Espinoza first pitch at New York Yankees game

After his Belmont Stakes victory, Espinoza threw out the first pitch at a Yankees game. He walked all the way out to the rubber and threw a nice little sinker that earned applause from the Yankee faithful.

He Isn’t Short on Confidence

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 06: Victor Espinoza, celebrates atop American Pharoah #5, in the winner's circle after winning the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 6, 2015 in Elmont, New York. With the wins American Pharoah becomes the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Photo Credit: Rob Carr / Getty

During an interview on the Today ShowEspinoza said American Pharaoh could have won by a larger margin: “I could have won a little bit farther. Maybe another three or four lengths.”

Now, Espinoza has made it all the way to Dancing With the Stars.


Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty

His dance partner will be Ukranian beauty Karina Smirnoff, a former DWTS winner who has three inches on Espinoza (she’s 5’3″).

What do you think of Espinoza’s rags-to-riches story? Share on Facebook and let your friends know!

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