By Nick Hahn
It seems that the meet at Colonial Downs serves as a launching point for little-known jockeys to "cut their teeth". Ryan Fogelsonger, Sheldon Russell, Horatio Karamanos have taken a little momentum out of the Pimlico meet early in their careers and saw their win total "snowball" in Colonial's summer meet.
On Saturday's edition of "Off to the Races", our Jockey Jive featured guest will be apprentice rider Tadious Simpson, a 21-year old Jamaican rider who won four races in his first week.
Simpson is the son of Jamaican champion rider Trevor Simpson. According to the younger Simpson, the five-time leading Jamaican rider in regard to wins initially discouraged his son from following him into the saddle. However Tadious, as the first son would accompany his father to the track on Saturdays. In Jamaica races are held two days a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Eventually Tadious gained his father's blessing to race.
Once in the United States, Tadious began riding horses in Florida and entered his first races at Monmouth Park. He would win his first race with his tack at Finger Lakes and eventually moved to Aqueduct.
At Aqueduct, former jockey Nick Santagata, a frequent rider at Colonial Downs a few years ago, told jockey agent J.D Brown to take a look at him. Brown has represented other jockeys at Colonial Downs with breakout meets such as Carlos Quinnones, Katie Crews and last year apprentice rider Josean Rameriz.
Simpson has now won 38 career races. With his 40th win, his 7 pound apprentice allowance will drop to 5 pounds. On opening day at Colonial, Simpson won two of first three races at big prices.
"I was shocked," said Simpson about the big prices on his early meet wins. "But I followed the trainer's instructions. I want to ride hard because the trainer is giving you a shot, especially as a bug."
Learn more about Tadious Simpson on "Off to the Races", Saturday morning live at 11:05 on ESPN950 AM in Richmond. Off to the Races is hosted by Nick Hahn and "Derby" Bill Watson and is also streamed on the web at http://www.espn950am.com/.
(Photo by Coady Photography)