Apprentice jockey Alexis Centeno won the fifth race of his career the other day at Del Mar in the third race on July 27th, aboard Flying Business for trainer Matthew Chew, which although an accomplishment, in and by itself doesn’t really raise most eyebrows. Maybe it should. Centeno’s book is being handled by Erick “Goldy” Arroyo, who is the son of agent Nelson Arroyo. The Arroyo’s have a history of spotting young riding talent coming out of Puerto Rico. Nelson was instrumental in bringing over Jorge Velez and Heriberto Figueroa and launching their US careers. Centeno, along with Velez, Figueroa, as well as Manny Franco, Irad Ortiz Jr., and Jose Ortiz, graduated The Jockey School of Puerto Rico.
While Goldy is handling booking mounts for Centeno, it is a family affair in schooling him and bringing him along the right way.
Nelson had this to say about the family’s latest protege:
“Alexis has the perfect build. He’s just physically perfect to be a rider. He is 5 feet and 105 pounds soaking wet and all muscle. He is very fit. He is behind because of the pandemic but he is learning and improving fast, really fast. Usually I like to bring riders over here around March after they have ridden there about two or three months and then I re-program them more to the style over here. When he was supposed to come here the virus hit and everything was delayed and he had a few months off. We are making up for that. I think he can be a natural, we are taking our time with him, and going slowly, but he is still progressing quickly. I am teaching him about pace, having a clock in his head, and all the things you need to ride on the big stage here. I like his fundamentals. When he won his 5th race the other day and lost the 10 pounds, that is when things really start. We’ll be riding more soon. He looked good, switched hands, threw crosses, and finished strong. We are in no hurry with him, but he looks more polished than the amount of time he has been in the saddle would suggest.”
Centeno has been getting on horses for Steve Miyadi, John Sadler, Phil D’ Amato, Richard Baltas and Craig Lewis all of whom Nelson and Goldy say have been a big help.
“It’s a big help to get feedback on these young riders I work with from trainers like these. They have so much knowledge and I appreciate how much they share and how helpful they are” Arroyo said.
A lot of people like to have a horses to watch list. It might be a good idea for trainers and bettors alike to put Alexis Centeno on the jockeys to watch list.