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

My bro and I

A photo posted by Victor Espinoza (@espinozasvictor) on

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!”

READ: This is Why Alex Torres Wears a Funny Hat

He Donated his Belmont Stakes Winnings to Charity

Martha #City Hope

A photo posted by Victor Espinoza (@espinozasvictor) on

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

First win of the day @delmarracing

A photo posted by Victor Espinoza (@espinozasvictor) on

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?

 READ: Sports Reporter Beto Duran is L.A.’s Man of the People

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!

9 Mistakes to Avoid After College Graduation


9 Mistakes to Avoid After College Graduation

The moment you graduate from college is the best feeling in the world. But riding that wave of relief for too long can have serious repercussions. Here’s what not to do after shedding the cap and gown.

Taking a Me Break

Nothing sounds sweeter than spending six months on your parents’ couch watching the entire series of OITNB after four grueling years of school. Beware, too long of a break tells prospective employers you’re lazy.

Career Flip-Flopping

Typing Computer
Credit: millenniills / Tumblr

Jumping from job to job equates to no expertise and starting over at every new company. Next thing you know, it’s been three years since graduation and you’re still working as an assistant.

Selling Yourself Short


It’s easy to get discouraged, but it’s impossible to land a job without applying. Don’t limit your options.

Not Negotiating Salary

Credit: NBC / chrisevans.xyz / Tumblr

Out of approximately 8,000 graduates who entered the workforce between 2012 and 2015, only 38% negotiated salary. Say what?! Why would you let yourself get jipped? Ask for what you deserve.

Shirking Your Student Loan

Rihanna MTV Gif

Most lenders give a six-month grace period after graduation to start paying back student loans, but some recent grads pretend that period never ends. Take financial responsibility before you do major damage to your credit score.

Social Media Fails


Job seekers! Hiring managers look at your social feeds. Don’t rant about your ex or post drunk #AboutLastNight pics, it’s not professional. If you just can’t help yourself, make all your profiles private.

Moving to Overly Competitive Cities


Heading to cities where the job market is exceedingly competitive may result in longer job search periods.

Jumping into Any Job


Money isn’t everything. And while paying off credit cards and loans is a priority, so is finding the right job — the one that challenges, stimulates and makes you want to stick around for more than a year.

Not Knowing How to Dress for an Interview


Business suits are not appropriate for creative positions and Frida-inspired flower crowns are not suitable for a corporate gigs. Get to know your audience before picking out your interview outfit.

What mistake do you wish you’d avoided after college? Leave a comment below to let us know.

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