May 31, 2023

In a rider's memory, some losses bring back emotional stings.

Article By: Hal Lundgren

A 2022 defeat at Sam Houston Race Park wasn't one of those painful moments 

for Ali Rivera. 


As Rivera, then 20, urged his horse to the finish line, he disposed of all but one opponent. 

The horse that edged him was in the hands of his father, Eleazar, then 48. 


"I was trying my best to beat him," said the younger Rivera. "I couldn't do it in that race. 


"He was all smiles after the race. I wasn't smiling, but it was a painless loss for me. 


"He's 49 and still riding. I hope I'll be able to say that some day."


Had Ali Rivera won, his father would have deserved some credit. 


"He started teaching me about horses when I was very young," Rivera said. "When I got a 

little older, he taught me to ride."  


Those lessons keep paying off. The younger Rivera was SHRP's champion Quarter 

Horse jockey in 2022. At this year's meet, which ends June 17, Rivera and Jose Herbert 

are far out front in wins and earnings. Rivera had eight more wins than Herbert through 

May 26.


Rivera has already surpassed his dad in career purse earnings, $2.5 million to $2.4 

million. Each has about a 14-percent career win record. Ali Rivera keeps upping his mark. 


His size continues to be just right for racing. The Elgin High School graduate is 5-foot-3 

and keeps his weight at 115. He doesn't have to try hard. 


"It stays about 115, even when I eat hamburgers and fries," he confessed.


He doesn't pursue a vigorous training schedule, such as lifting weights to build strength. He doesn't

jog to keep away extra pounds. 


"Galloping horses is part of my work," he said. "I do a lot of it. It's good exercise for me. I'm fortunate that's all (the conditioning) I need."