Cesar De Alba Retires from Race Riding

Cesar De Alba Retires from Race Riding

De Alba will retire after Sunday's races to begin a career as a trainer.

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Cesar De Alba, the leading Quarter Horse jockey at Los Alamitos in 2016 and recipient of the 2017 Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award, will end his riding career after Sunday's Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two-Million Futurity.

De Alba, 37, will begin a career as a trainer after he rides Howard Nichols’ Dexxter in the "Deuce," California's richest horse race. He plans to train both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds.

“I’ve always said that when I retired from riding that I wanted to train,” De Alba said. “I’m ready for a new challenge. My father, Salvador De Alba, has been around racehorses his entire life. At San Luis Rey Downs he’s always had one or two of his own. He’s willing to help me in any way he can and I can tell you that he’ll be a big part of my team as I enter this new challenge. His experience will be so valuable for me.

"I’ve been fortunate to ride many great horses in my career," he added. "I have really good horses to ride in each of the big races this closing weekend. I would love to cap it off with a big win this weekend. I’ll go out there and try my best. A win in the Champion of Champions on BH Lisas Boy would be the cherry on top for me and I’m fortunate to have mount aboard Dexxter in the Los Alamitos Two Million final.”

De Alba has won 1,030 Quarter Horses from 6,114 mounts during his career, with 1,000 of those wins coming at Los Alamitos. His mounts have earned $15.8 million.

De Alba will retire from the saddle as Los Alamitos' 15th all-time leading rider. His 90 stakes wins at the track rank him 10th all time. He and his wife, Becky, a state track veterinarian, have two sons, Kevin, 4, and Nicholas, 2.

“As soon as I get my license to train I’ll look to claim a couple of horses, maybe even a Thoroughbred from across town," De Alba said. "Hopefully I’ll pick up some clients. I’ll train some horses here at Los Alamitos and go from there. I’m excited about this new challenge and the opportunities that might come up a result. I feel that I’m ready for them."

De Alba credits trainers Blane Schvaneveldt, Paul Jones and John Cooper with helping him get his start as a Quarter Horse rider.

“I remember the first horse I rode for (Paul Jones) broke the track record at 300 yards," he recalled. "I rode in some big races for Paul and won some grade ones aboard great mares like Strength In Numbers and Stylish Jess BR, the mother of Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity finalist Flash And Roll. Like most jockeys, I had some injuries and many ups and downs. The great Moonist came along and revived me in the sport.

"That horse came at a great time for me," he added. "I was focused and more mature. It was a special time riding Moonist. Now I have BH Lisas Boy. Bill Hoburg has been so great and so loyal. He told me I would get the mount back on BH Lisas Boy once I came back after my injury earlier this year. When I came back he gave me a chance to ride BH Lisas Boy, just like he had said.

“I won a million dollar race on Little Talks for Burns Ranch and Mike Casselman," De Alba said. "It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’ll be riding my last night, but it’ll probably sink in when I’m at home watching the races and I’m not there. I’m ready for this new challenge and ready to get some clients. I’m excited and I can’t wait.”

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