Latinos in Pennsylvania are helping shape the sport of thoroughbred horse racing

Bensalem, Pa. (CBS) – As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at CBS3, we got an inside look into how Latinos are helping shape the sport of thoroughbred horse racing.

From Puerto Rico to Peru.

Jockeys from all over are competing in this weekend’s PA Derby, all while celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

Latino pride can be felt all throughout Parx Racing in Bensalem.

These trainers and jockeys have made a name for themselves in the billion-dollar sport.

“This game is so hard,” Parx Racing trainer Daniel Velazquez said. “It’s dominated at the top of the food chain by some White trainers who are really good, but we have some really good Hispanic trainers.”

For trainer Daniel Velazquez, thoroughbred horse racing has been in his family for generations.

“I’m proud to be Peruvian,” Velazquez said in Spanish. “Everybody confuses me as just a White boy, but I’m like no no no. I speak Spanish. I was born in Peru.”

Joining him at the racetrack is Puerto Rican jockey Abner Adorno. He says it’s an honor to bring his island roots to the Pennsylvania Derby.

“This week is like the most exciting week of the year here in Pennsylvania. I have been blessed to be riding in the big races this week,” Adorno said.

Another jockey prepping for the big day is fellow Puerto Rican Josué Arce.

“Horse racing back home in Puerto Rico is a big deal. We take it seriously. We love the sport and the horses,” Arce said.

Often while they are competing, many choose to rep home. From the trainers to the groomers to the jockeys, many celebrate Hispanic heritage.

“They play a big part. They’re a big help and without them we couldn’t do it. They’re really the heartbeat of this game,” Velazquez said.

The PA Derby is set to attract nearly 10,000 people this weekend.


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