There is a jockey on the East Coast who has finished in the top 50 in wins in North America over the last six years. You might not know his name. It is Arnaldo Bocachica, and he rides primarily at Charles Town race track in West Virginia. He has also finished in the top 100 in earnings the last three years, and five times in his career. He is on his way to winning the jockey title at Charles Town for the fourth straight year.
Arnaldo knew he wanted to be a jockey all of his life, as his Dad Orlando Sr. and his brother Orlando Jr. were both jockeys. He went to jockey school for a year and half in Puerto Rico at sixteen years old. After that, he went to Charles Town and got his jockey license.
His first start would come at Charles Town on July 4th, 2006 at the age of eighteen. Twelve days later on July 16th , Arnaldo would not only get his first win but he would go back to back, winning races two and three on that day's card. It didn't take long for Arnaldo to make his mark, as his first full year in 2007 he was leading rider at Charles Town. He also won his first stake race that year on GOYA who was trained by Gary Capuano.
The biggest win of Arnaldo's career to date came in 2016 with COVEY TRACE in the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks. It was another big year as well, as three weeks later he won the Charles Town Classic with SLIP THE CABLE for Jeff Runco. The Classic is the most important horse race in West Virginia.
On March 15th, 2017 Arnaldo lost his father unexpectedly. It's been really hard for him and his family. Here's what Arnaldo had to say: "He was my biggest fan and supporter. He enjoyed my wins more than I did. Seeing him be proud of my success was everything to me. I miss him a lot. He never missed any of my races or of my brothers; he watched horse racing all day. On the biggest nights here where there would be all stake races my dad, my brother, and I used to study the races together. My brother would also help me a lot. Growing up I looked up to my brother a lot. I wanted to be like him."
I asked Arnaldo what his biggest strength is as a rider. He said, "I think my biggest strength is putting the horse in a good position to win. Especially at this small track, I've been here so long I know the riders so well. I know what they are going to do even before they do. I know who will open the rail and who will stay on it. I know who will send hard and who will move early if I'm in the lead. Also, how well I study races from watching replays to reading the DRF."
I have watched a lot of Charles Town and Penn National. Arnaldo reminds me of Edwin Gonzalez who I did an article on as well. Edwin got an opportunity this year to go from Penn National to Gulfstream and has taken full advantage of it. I think Arnaldo could have similar success at a bigger track.
"...makes me feel I should
make the move soon too."
I asked Arnaldo about Edwin and a potential move. This is what he had to say: "Edwin is a good friend of mine. I'm so happy he got the opportunity to go to Gulfstream and that he is doing so well. It makes me feel I should make the move soon too. I would like to go to a bigger track but it would have to be a really good opportunity. It would be hard to leave Charles Town as I get some of the best horses at the track."
Arnaldo has had a really successful career so far winning at 21%. If you don't know the name, start tuning into Charles Town and watch him ride. You'll see he is a great jockey. Arnaldo is easy to root for as he is a class act and one of the nicest guys in the jocks room. I believe he will have a great career whether he stays at Charles Town or goes to a bigger track for another opportunity. We wish him all the success and can't wait to watch the rest of his career. We are also proud to announce Arnaldo Bocachica will be wearing our logo on this jockey pants for a couple races a night. We can't wait to post those winning photos. We thank Arnaldo for representing us and also taking the time for this article.
Photo by Coady Photography