An Interview with Jockey Daniel Centeno

In The Gate


He's won nearly twenty nine hundred races here in the United States and nearly nine hundred more in his native Venezuela. Many of those wins have come Tampa Bay downs. Where Jockey Daniel? Centennial was in search of his seventh riding title even earned his first ride in a triple crown race. The preakness where we finished eleventh on it always mining all jockeys have obstacles to overcome. That's obviously the nature of the business. But one year ago Daniel Centennial had an even tougher burden to bear in January of two thousand. Nineteen centennial's longtime partner Ashley. George died after a nearly lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis roses. She left behind their daughter. Jasmine who's now in seventh grade. It's tough enough being a single dad and oh by the way Santana also has a twenty year old son son in college but it's pretty tough to work from home when you do what he does. So let's find out how he makes it all work as we welcome for the first time here to win the gate jockey. Daniel Centeno already. A handful of wins for you at the Tampa Bay. Meet a place where you've had quite a bit of success over the years more so than in Maryland where you ridden over the summer. What's been the key to your success in Tampa I dunno being here for light Fifteen sixteen years now for my first time and I I talk like it. I love the weather. I'm never been relieved. Grind with the cold weather. I never try to stay up on the winning thing and I did year by year. You know writing better courses that train and I got to my support here at the beginning from gaming as Kathy O'CONNELL and ride them for their like. WHO So? Maybe you know. Open a lot of a lot more awesome around the track and you know all my area that had been working for Greg to you split you. Year between Laurel Park in Maryland and Tampa. But now I know we're not going to see you what aqueduct in the winter based on what you just said but what made you choose those tracks supposed to say New York or California well because People that are right in for here in Tampa wants to go to Laurel Delaware and the year see bars. So that's like my shadow. God Nora Bill and it's pretty time so I'm really basically driving them. Everywhere are but We're doing good and a lot of oxygen around jockeys are said to have particular writing styles go for example Paco. Lopez takes horses away from the gate aggressively. Everybody knows that likes to go to the early lead. Pat Day was known as wait all day coming from behind. Nine Calvin Burrell is Calvin Bo Rail. You know where he's taking is horses. What do you consider to be your style? Well I I would say eighty two. I like to be more delay but You know it depends on what kind of house I've gone awry but I would like to be close to my thousand dollars outbreak throats to the Leo to pay Being the lead. But it's a defendant to pry. Sometimes you gotTa Jenny a little bit your style to fit all on the horses you know and then workout good too but I'm I feel more comfortable. Really close to the lay or something. That'd be proponent department of your nearly two thousand nine hundred career wins. You've won five grade three races in your career and a single grade to aboard ring weekend in the two thousand fourteen Tampa Bay Derby. You weren't a ride in the preakness as well in two thousand nineteen. What do those kinds of races mean to you? They they mean a lot for me. You know because I can help your mom. I Don t still down so I'd be doing building my curry of keying in this country like little by little step-by-step working hard right in the for different track The Great State for me the main a lot for me you know like I were so hot. And it's like a bay off for my work and I'm never give up and try you know especially luckier when I wrote a pregnant of like a drink of through. You know the the big horse and it would broaden your really good him. Kelly Rowland the ordinary. They give me the opportunity right. Trading is what so I drink too for me. Was it hard not to look around and just take in the atmosphere and instead focus on what you were doing. How hard list to do? Yeah well I come from Venezuela complete different compare here and then you really have to focus at work workout every day so you can get your business and you know doing your job and you know made me thanks you know and then try to cloud what every day. How hard was it making the adjustment from Venezuela coming here as a young man not sure of the language and not knowing what's at your prospects would be? What was that adjustment like well? There's a big chance you know especially with the with the language that you have to really talk to do every body and understand what they wanna tell you frighteners on there. When I was in Minnesota last dot doing English class and private I went to high school and in a private school so when I came back here I can't hear one time? Nineteen Ninety six. So I didn't really good because language I think more mar and then went back to Venezuela so I wanNA come back yet again and and do the same. That's what I do. Day lift classes private and Eleven when again by Two Thousand and three door. Hi You I was big little be I understand a little bit and then I got it your breakfast every day. You're talking every day so make as you Jackie Daniels. Centeno joins us here on the gate. It's been a year or so now. I belief since your partner Ashley George passed away from cystic fibrosis. What was it like losing her? And what's alive. You know US work together for the book thing and we went to a lot of work on every time Fago. What's getting worse and especially my daughter Yachtsman but I'm blessed my daughter's so throng which Banja La doing amazing and Making it every day you gotta be strong for my daughter and then their best for her. Now I believe when you have cystic fibrosis yes you have it almost your entire life so you must have known when you met her that she had this condition. Is that right. Yeah Yeah Yeah keep telling me from the beginning to doing doing okay. But in the meantime wanting her lungs would getting worse and worse than that was boring. They're are there only chantey how they would've transplant. And the medical cameras are not that both longtime plans doing quake and one day. Keep them back home for Halloween. And she that stroke and she was to call my mom to wake like Lamb and never for memory to talk in everything but no memory and keep going. I asked me and see what's in the two years and and doctors say to her body was rejecting everything again and then get get Her body stop working. Did you say she was in a hospital for two years. was that kind of in and out or was she in a hospital all the time time for two years to two years. Happy because you know she can be herself grandma what they get her. I was flying back and forth some time with me to see her but kick No recognize anybody know memories your longtime memories. The more you so I went to Work Yom okay and too much medication So it was really good time for my daughter and either adopt nine so oh my goodness now. It's one thing to being a dad but it's another thing when those kids are both teenagers because says many of our listeners know teen is four letter word I know I have a teenager and yours are on the opposite end of the teenage spectrums. Just when when you finish the teenage thing it all starts over again. How have you been able to manage all of that and your job well? And that's another the team did it. Don't nobody could All I think I'm blessed and my father and me to do everything so and then report report anything. I wasn't never pectin something like that but I was thinking

Coming up next