Hall of Fame person, jockey

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This was supposed to be a proper feature about Edgar Prado being elected into the Hall of Fame. I was going to talk to him, his family, his agent, his valet and his trainers. It was going to start in Peru, then glide into Maryland and finish in New York.

Then I ran out of time and Prado ran out of town. We don’t do anything too far ahead of time here at The Special  so I hit the track Sunday morning all set to find Prado. He was on his way to Monmouth to ride Atoned in the Haskell and I was scrambling for a Plan B.

If you can’t talk to Prado, talk to his peers.

Robby Albarado: “Very competitive. Very, very competitive. He’s an aggressive rider, but he rides with a lot of respect, but you have to respect him when it comes down to race riding. He’ll ride you tight, but he expects that from you. Not much is said after that. He knows how to race ride and he appreciates race riding. When it happens to him, he doesn’t mind. He’s a gracious rider, when he’s done, he’ll let you out, he doesn’t overdo things. He’s great for our colony. He’s not outspoken or loud. It’s well deserved, not only his accomplishment but his demeanor, his personality, his attitude. He’s level.”

Ramon Dominguez:
“A class-act guy, an awesome rider. His achievements speak for themselves. He’s done so well for the game and himself. He deserves it. He’s great to ride with, he’s very competitive, very safe rider. He cares about everybody. He’s the one guy that congratulates everybody after a race. If you’re in a bad spot, it doesn’t matter what race it is, he’ll give you a shot. He’s a very, very good guy. He remains the same, down-to-earth guy. He’s one of my favorite riders, he’s a complete rider. Just because he accomplished all this doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a guy you look up to – he has to be a good human being as well, and he is, he treats everybody the same, that to me is special. On top of that he’s an excellent rider.”

Mike Luzzi: “I’ve been riding with him for, I guess, 20 years. We were competitors in Maryland and came to New York at the same time. We have a pretty good friendship, great to ride with, I’ve learned a lot from him. He may never admit it but I think he learned things from me in Maryland. If you win a big race, he calls and congratulates you. Likewise, I’ll call him. It’s an ongoing relationship I’ve enjoyed since I had the bug. After (Kent) Desormeaux left, we were riding the best horses, we always had to keep an eye on each other. We learned what each other can do and can’t do. Riding against him is like home for me. We talk to each other during the race and after the race. There’s three sides to every story but we came to Aqueduct at the same time, I stayed and he went home, then he got the opportunity to come back and ride for (John) Kimmel during the summer and the rest is history. He’s the first one to help out someone who’s struggling, I’ve seen him do some amazing things and he doesn’t do it for the headlines, he’s always looking out for them. He deserves it, I’ll be in the front row.”

Javier Castellano:
“I’m so proud to be able to say I ride with a professional athlete like Edgar Prado. He’s a friend of mine and it’s a pleasure to ride with him. But more than that, he’s a good human being. I have a lot of confidence in him. A couple days ago he saved my life when my I lost my reins (in the Honorable Miss). Edgar wasn’t worried about the race, he was worried about me. He’s an excellent rider and he really deserves it.”

John Velazquez:
“I’ll tell you what, it’s well deserved. The guy has won so many races everywhere he goes. He’s a great guy and a great rider to be around. I learned a lot from him. He’s a very competitive guy and it’s a lot of fun competing with him day in and day out.”

Channing Hill: “He’s one of the very best. Just how smart he is, all you have to do is follow Edgar around there and he’ll make you look good. I love the way he hits left-handed, when he pulls it through and gets after one, he’s hard to get by. I’ve been here a couple of years and I’ve seen some frisky stuff out here and I’ve never seen him blow up on anybody. He’s like that in the race, so quiet. The other day when he helped Javier, I’ve never seen anything like it, he was so cool about it, like Javier dropped something on the ground and Edgar picked it up for him. He has more than one plan out there, sometimes he’s on plan 12 and he’s still good at it.”

Thanks guys – and you too, Edgar.