Hailing from Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, José Aparecido Da Silva followed his older brother into the sport of horse racing, entering the jockey school at the Hipódromo de Cidade Jardim, Sao Paulo, at the age of 16. Now 41, he’s been established in Buenos Aires for more than three years, living his passion.
“I’ve loved everything about horses since childhood,” José says. “I love being on a horse. I love the speed, the adrenaline, the honour, the competition.”
Though there is racing in Brazil, Da Silva says Buenos Aires is the ideal destination for a jockey because of the city’s strong racing tradition, a legacy found in the lyrics of many tangos that speak of the city’s fondness for horse racing.
“The turf tradition is very strong in Buenos Aires,” Da Silva says. “Here there are races every day. There’s more competition. Jockeys are highly valued and people have a lot of passion for the horses”
It’s a tough routine. He hits the course in Palermo at 6am every day to train, and if he needs to lose weight, the work continues when he gets home at around 11am, when he’ll run and take Turkish baths to ensure he’s down to the correct weight for the start of the afternoon’s races at around 2am. Throughout the afternoon he may compete in up to eight races.
As Da Silva says, “it takes a lot of balance, strength, sacrifice, but above all a lot of passion.”
Visit the Palermo race course.
In Buenos Aires, work and passion often go hand in hand. Discover more Porteño professions.