Lady and The Track | November 24, 2020

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Joe Santos Shines in Career as a Jockey Agent

Joe Santos Shines in Career as a Jockey Agent: At five-foot-ten-inches, Joe Santos had little hope of following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a jockey.

“Yeah, I’m just too big. I can’t ride horses,” the 21-year-old said, half in jest and half in simple honesty.

Joe Santos Jockey Agent

Joe Santos and his riders have certainly flourished in their current regions so far, highlighted by Didiel Osorio (left) claiming the leading jockey title at Ellis Park.

Instead, a career as a jockey agent has been several years in the making. As the son of successful jockey Jose Santos, the regular rider of the popular Funny Cide, among many notable others, a career revolving around the racetrack was more or less bred into Joe. Joe would accompany his father around the New York and Florida racetracks during his early years, making connections and learning the ways of the backside that would eventually compose the essence of his career.

Those invaluable experiences with his father propelled Joe into quite an early go at working as a jockey agent. As a teenager in high school, Joe acted as an agent sporadically and began practicing the tactics he would need to succeed.

Upon relocating to Louisville, Kentucky, to attend Bellarmine University, Joe was adamant that racing would still be an integral part of his life. Like Carly Kaiser and Liam Benson, both of whom Joe claims as friends, he found enjoyable work at the Kentucky Derby Museum. In December of 2013, Joe fully entered a career as a jockey agent and was forced to leave his job there to pursue even greater things.

Two very promising jockeys are currently under the care of Joe, Didiel Osorio and Jack Gilligan. Most recently, those two have been riding at Ellis Park, and while Joe mostly focuses his work on the Indiana and Kentucky racetrack meets, he is considering making a move to Oaklawn for the winter. He and his riders have certainly flourished in their current regions so far, highlighted by Osorio claiming the leading jockey title at Ellis Park.

“It’s a good job. You get to travel with jockeys, you’re close to the races, and you’re always on the backside. It’s a lot of fun,” Joe happily relayed about his life as an agent.

Communication is key to Joe’s job as an agent, and his scholastic focuses on broadcast communications and sports administration aid him in that process. His days consist of walking on the backside and simply talking to people in an attempt to convince them to put his riders on their horses. When he’s not out building relationships, he’s researching races and trying to decide which horse offers the best chance to his jockeys.

Joe recognizes those two major aspects of his job, but as a member of a younger generation, he is also aware that there are newer ways to stay on top of things as an agent: “It’s just research and contacts. I do a lot of stuff on Facebook and Twitter, and I think that helps a lot.”

Although he was unable to directly emulate his father, Joe has found a passion of his own along the same lines, and he plans on pursuing a career as a jockey agent for the rest of his life.

“I love this. It’s just fun; I enjoy it. If you’ve got a job you don’t want to go to, you should probably stop doing that.”

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