Los Alamitos Race Course, CA - June 15, 2003 - While Gene Autry always will be remembered as the Singing Cowboy, Alex Bautista has made a claim to the moniker of Singing Jockey at Los Alamitos Race Course. The native of Guadalajara, Mexico can be heard serenading his horses in pre-race warm-ups, often with the types of rhymes that one would hear on Mariachi Night at the Hollywood Bowl.
Bautista has been singing a particularly happy tune of late. And why not? After all, the veteran pilot is sitting pretty at the top of the Quarter Horse and Arabian standings while also ranking second in the Thoroughbred standings.
A winner of 117 races after the first 94 racing nights of the year, Bautista is on pace to win almost 250 races this season. That would break the single-season record he set last of 231 wins.
"It's nice to be on top of the Quarter Horse charts again," said Bautista, the breed's leading pilot at Los Alamitos in 2000. "Right now, I just want to stay healthy and keep riding as strong as possible."
Bautista understands that a jockey is only as good as the stock he rides, so he is the first to credit his success to the horsemen that employ his services.
"I've had a chance to ride a lot of great horses this year," the jockey said. "I've been on a lot of great Quarter Horses, Arabians and Thoroughbreds. Trainers like Blane Schvaneveldt, Felix Gonzalez, Concepcion Balderrama and John Cooper have been giving a lot of top horses to ride and I can't say enough good things about the owners that also put me on their horses."
Bautista lists his winning ride aboard Hawkish in the Kindergarten Futurity on May 17 as his favorite moment so far this year. El Cantante (the Spanish word for singer) is also looking forward to piloting Magic And Rhythm in the Governor's Cup Derby on Champions Night.
"Magic And Rhythm was outstanding in the derby trials and I think she'll be super in the final," Bautista said. "But Hawkish will always rank high because he set a track record in such an important race like the Kindergarten."