Native of Puerto Rico in Pursuit of His First Leading Rider Title
Bossier City, LA – Emanuel Nieves is a young rider with a tremendous work ethic coupled with plenty of skill in the saddle. He is 25-years-old, but many people mistake him for a teenager. However, he is quietly earning the respect of many horsemen and horseplayers in Louisiana with his versatile riding style and well-timed finishes.
Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, a municipality south of San Juan, Nieves had an opportunity to attend Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school with a noted list of graduates that have reached the top ranks in North America.
“It is a two-year program and I was there at the same time as Jose Ortiz,” said Nieves. “His brother Irad was there the year before and I got to know them both. They are really good people.”
In 2012, Nieves made his United States debut at Finger Lakes in New York. He rode his first winner on December 5, guiding Wachiwi to victory in a $9,000 claiming race. Louisiana-based agent Angel Cordero called him and offered to take his book at Delta Downs, so he headed south and has ridden at each of the four Louisiana racetracks in the past six years.
Last year, Nieves got the call from respected former rider and jockey agent Ronald Ardoin encouraging him to come to Louisiana Downs.
“I was doing well at Evangeline Downs, and still ride there on my days off,” said Nieves. “Ronald has such good relationships with horsemen, I felt it would be a good move.”
Last year, Nieves won 47 races, finishing sixth in the standings. He is the current leading jockey with 56 wins, seven more than last year’s top rider, Gerardo Mora.
Nieves has not had a slew of stakes wins at Louisiana Downs, but scored with Sunny Oak last year in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
Two weeks ago, he guided Cabo’s Rumor owned by Northpointe Thoroughbreds to victory in the $60,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenilefor Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. The son of Amanecer de Oro ran fourth to the highly regarded Pickett in the D S Shine Futurity last month at Evangeline Downs and Nieves felt he and his mount learned from that stakes foray.
“He’s a pretty nice baby,” stated Nieves. “He didn’t like the dirt hitting him at Evangeline, so in the Louisiana Downs stakes, I tried to keep him clear of the field. At the 3/8th pole, I asked him and he responded perfectly.”
Nieves appreciates the hard work of his agent in getting him an abundance of quality mounts. He rides for a multitude of trainers including Joey Foster, Al Stall, Jr., Karl Broberg, H. B. Johnson, Joe Duhon, Beverly Burress, Jose Camejo, Sarah Delany, Tommy Ives and Michael McEachern.
On Monday’s card, Nieves rode three winners for three different barns, including a game victory in the fourth aboard Pickett’s Deelite ($17.60) for trainer Joey Foster.
Foster knows Nieves well and is a prominent supporter of the young rider.
“Every day he shows up at the barn, even on his days off.” explained Foster. “He has an excellent work ethic; he’s polite and very professional.”
This would be the first leading rider title for Nieves, and Foster is optimistic that it will come to fruition.
“He deserves it,” said Foster. “Emanuel might look like a kid, but sure doesn’t act like one. This is what he loves to do; we would all be happy to see him become the leading rider.”
With the Louisiana Downs meet continuing through September 27, Nieves is not over confident, but hopeful that he will win the first title of his career.
“It would be amazing and mean a lot,” said Nieves. “I could not have gotten this far without the support of a great team behind me. I work hard every day and am very thankful the opportunity to ride so many good horses.”
Nieves remains close to both Ortiz brothers and cites John Velazquez as another jockey he respects. Jose Ortiz, currently the #1 ranked rider in earnings, according to Equibase statistics, took time from his base in Saratoga to compliment Nieves.
“Emanuel is a great person and after two years at the Jockey School, he is like a brother to me,” said Ortiz. “He always wanted to help others and I am very proud of him!”
Noon Post Time Set for Super Derby Day
The Louisiana Downs racing office is preparing for their next big stakes day on Sunday, September 2. An early post time of 12:00 pm(Central) is planned for the Super Derby card. Nominations close on August 18 for the seven stakes, which include:
$60,000 Unbridled 3 YO & Up 1 1/16 miles (T)
$60,000 River Cities 3 YO & Up F&M 1 1/16 miles (T)
$60,000 Happy Ticket 2 YO Fillies One Mile (T)
$60,000 Sunday Silence 2 YO One Mile (T)
$300,000 SUPER DERBY (G3)
3 YO 1 1/16 miles
$60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin 3 YO LA-Bred One Mile (T)
$60,000 Elge Rasberry 3 YO Fillies, LA-Bred One Mile (T)
Super Derby Charity Golf Tournament Set for August 23
The Super Derby Charity Golf Tournament will be held on Thursday, August 23, at Querbes Golf Course in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The event will benefit Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk & The Winner’s Circle Church, which provides assistance to the Louisiana racing community and backstretch workers. It serves as one of the special events saluting the annual Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby, the marquee race of the Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred season, set for Sunday, September 2.
Sign in for the event’s Four Person Scramble kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with tee off at 10:30 a.m. The fee is $80 per person or $320 for a four-person team. The fee includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and Super Derby t-shirt/cap.
Attendees can register in person in the Louisiana Downs Racing office, or by mail. Checks should be payable to The Backside Benevolence Fund and mailed to: Jennifer Sokol, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, 8000 East Texas Street, Bossier City, Louisiana, 71111.
The deadline for registration is August 16. Hole sponsorships for $100, including a sign, are available, but must be purchased by August 1.
For further information, please contact Jennifer Sokol, Louisiana Downs Racing Office Manager at (318) 741-2512.
About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.