Horseracing StoriesCarreras de Caballos



"The Venezuelan Champion"

Juan Vicente Tovar, born on 24 of May of 1.950 in the third street of Los Cujicitos, house nr.37, DDT-425.Of the union of Pedro Tovar and Maria Leon de Tovar were born two females, Sergia Rosa and Ana Cristina, aside from three boys, Justo, Julio and Juan Vicente.This last one studied primary education in the Antonio Ernest School.The economical difficulties launch Juan to the market of work at an early age and he was a pleater of women´ dresses in the Maden Warehouse of the corner of Salvador de Leon.

From the promotion to which Juan Vicente belongs there are several anecdotes.It happened that the pupils of the apprentices school, during the graduation, he made a collection of five bolivares each with the aim of giving the license plate and in this way to give acknowledgement towards two young journalist who gave them support during the training.

That honor corresponded to Angel Gutierrez Agueros and Mario Cardozo.The promotion took the name of Jesus Marino Escobar.Juan Vicente shared as pupil of the apprentices school with tasks that commonly are called in our racecourse "cagajonero" that is to say, to clean the box of the horses and change the shaving.A duty which he carried out in the Neptali Sanchez and Jose Rosendo Stables.A job less delicate than the fine silks of the Maden Warehouse.

From that epoch the friendship of Tovar with Camejito was born.Both of them carried out similar jobs in the stables, with the difference that Camejito did not think to become a jockey.The companionship was such that they shared the little that they earned.If the money was just enough for a sandwich or a pie or a refreshment, that was the meal for those two friends.This was your life until day Guido Argentino, blacksmith of profession, was looking for an apprentice and he saw in Camejito the suitable candidate.He offered to Camejito a salary of Bs 600 a month, which compared with the 20 that they earned every week was a fortune.

From that epoch the friendship of Tovar with Camejito was born.Both of them carried out similar jobs in the stables, with the difference that Camejito did not think to become a jockey.The companionship was such that they shared the little that they earned.If the money was just enough for a sandwich or a pie or a refreshment, that was the meal for those two friends.This was your life until day Guido Argentino, blacksmith of profession, was looking for an apprentice and he saw in Camejito the suitable candidate.He offered to Camejito a salary of Bs 600 a month, which compared with the 20 that they earned every week was a fortune.

A day Tovar arrived to The Rinconada with a luxurious car.He requested the presence of Camejito, who attended the call immediately.Tovar recalled to him the old times.He made a recount to Camejito until he arrived to the story of the car.

He told him that he had bought it with the intention of giving it to Camejito and so he was thinking to do; in the way from the Agency to the Racecourse, he reexamined mentally those days, and when he called Camejito he was ready to deliver the present but all of a sudden he remembered that when Camejito received the offer from Guido, Camejito did not have thought twice and maybe in an egotistic way he preferred to keep all the earnings and not to continue sharing with his friend.

This is as Tovar reminds Camejito of that episode and goes out the place not without previously manifesting to Camejito that he had repented of having materialized the gift due to the attitude of whom until the moment was as his brother.

It would be at the beginning of 1.974 when he entered in activity as jockey, winning his first race with Soroa on 2 March of this year.He finished this season with 41 victories.However he losed the title of apprentice of the year in the last week, when his colleague Argenis Rosillo ended the year being superior by a victory, nevertheless receiving an Honourable Mention as Apprentice.

With that cartel starts 1.975 which gives him his first classical victory, which happened in the second week of September, when he crossed the winning post with Arañazo who was a big surprise in the Cavepro Classic.Arañazo, property of Herberto Castro Pimentel and trained by Domingo Noguera Mora defeated the great favorites Gran Tiro and Guache.

After having been observed as one of the more promising among the new inexperienced riders of horse show, and he had some victories in his possession, the destiny gave a hard blow.One morning Juan Vicente fell from Sapuare in The Rinconada Racecourse, and his right leg was in such bad conditions that it was considered that he would never ride again in horse racing.

Tovar had demonstrated to have the capacity to be a winner, nevertheless the jockeys build their future competing and winning races, while he was prostrate in a bed and with the debt of a house that he had bought recently for his mother.

Thus, the small Tovar undertook the responsibility of surprising everybody with his return to the tracks in only four months.Juan Vicente was endowed of an incredible instinct to take quick decision in the track, and of a precise tact to know the physical state of his mounts, whereby he was soon again in the first ranks.

When he was obtaining the drive license he knew Jose Angel Torres Velazquez.Tovar finished that year of 1.976 in the second position of the jockeys statistic, being the first Angel Francisco Parra.Already for 1.977 he dominated the situation from the beginning to the end in order to take the possession of the Championship of Jockeys with 114 victories and in this way not to leave it until 1.992 after 16 statistics, a spectacular record at world level.

The time, tanner of constancy, of desire, of dedication and of responsibility converted him in the jockey, in the star whom all of us knew during more than two decades, owner of almost all records in our country.

In 1.978 won the Triple Crown of mares with Blondy, a deed which he repeated in 1.980 with Gelinotte.

Juan Vicente Tovar con Gelinotte

Gelinotte born in 1.977 was the star during 1.980 when won the triple Crown of mares and at two steps of the National Triple Crown, and falling beaten in a duel head to head of almost 500 meters with Sweet Candy by the inside and Gelinotte by the outside in the Venezuela Derby.

Gelinotte defended the colours of the Saltron Stables property of Alfredo Toledo Guerrero and was always under the care of the trainer Millard Faris Ziadie, professional who has won the most number of races in the Venezuela horse racing.

Winning the classical Day of the Navy of 1.982 with the mare Val Fleure, Juan Vicente Tovar passed to lead the ranking of the Classical races, surpassing Balsamino Moreira, arriving to 71 classical victories, by 70 Balsamino.

In Valencia, he won his first race with Murciano in the inaugural day on the 25th of March of 1.983, with special mention of his victory in The Rinconada Racecourse with the first great Champion from Valencia, Miss Leidy in the Classic Race General Joaquin Crespo in the year 1.984.

Recently the 1.984 season began, Juan Vicente was three weeks without obtain any victory and they were too many to which the champion had accustomed to his fans.What happens to Tovar? Was the question that went around the fans, "bad times" was guessed.The situation worried a little the leader of jockeys.Suddenly the phone rang.It is Luis Aparicio, "I know that you are going through bad times, I went through that in the Great Leagues".

"Think mentally and imagine that nothing is happening, that you are earning money at all times, and you will see that soon you will return to your natural situation", after the friendly wishes, the thanks and we will meet soon.Coincidentally, that same year the race "Luis Aparicio, Venezuelan in the Hall of the Fame" was programmed in The Rinconada Racecourse.

Luis Aparicio received a message from Juan Vicente, " I offer to you the race of your trophy ".Already in the final straight, the speaker did not have any other alternative to affirm: "And Sindavad has the victory assured ".Tovar had accomplished his promise with the horse training by Julio Ayala, and sure that Luis Aparicio should remember that special victory.

The influence of Tovar in the trials corresponding to the Triple Crown was endless.In 1.984 led The Iron in the Paez, 1.600 meters - 8 furlongs -, and fell beaten by Indudable, the crack of the moment.Later, with the same horse, repeated his second in the MAC, 2.000 meters - 10 furlongs -, and Indudable kept his ambitions in order to obtain the Triple Crown, he lacked to win The Venezuela Republic, in a mile and a half..

All indicated, like a winner to the horse whom Jose Padron led and trained Julio Ayala.Tovar sent a message to the trainer of The iron, Manuel Medina, " Prepare the horse for the 2.400 meters - 12 furlongs - because we cannot lose ".Medina, surprised, say " But if we have not been able with that horse in the Golden Mile, neither in the 2.000 meters, How can we win him in 2.400 meters ?. Nevertheless he obeyed to Juan Vicente and the result was the The Iron won, leaving Indudable in the second place and without the Triple Crown.

En el trayecto, Luis recibió un mensaje de Tovar: "Dile a Luis que le dedicó la carrera de su trofeo". Ya en plena recta final, al narrador interno no tuvo otra alternativa que afirmar: "Y Sindavad tiene el triunfo asegurado". JVT había cumplido su promesa por intermedio del ejemplar al cuidado de Julio Ayala. Aparicio también debe recordar esa victoria.

On 23 June of 1.985, Tovar was awarded with the Venezuelan Triple Crown when the horse Iraqui was crowned when obtained the victory in the President of the Republic.

So, the day was all festive when Tovar and the defender of Chivacoa Stable was favorites, as they arrived from winning the previous trials: The Jose Antonio Paez and the Ministry of Agriculture and Breeding.The Jose Antonio Paez was a classical in which Iraqui was the second option of the race, being the favorite Candy Man.Nevertheless, he placed him at the waiting lookout…and in the final straight he launched to the horse in search of the victory, objective which he got by 4 ½ lengths over Candy Man.

Then, the June 2 arrived when in the Classical Ministry of Agriculture and Breeding second event of the Venezuelan Triple Crown, Iraqui won by more than 5 lengths over the second classified.

In this way, we advanced to 23 of June of 1.985 when Iraqui together with the legend of Juan Vicente Tovar obtained a convincing victory which catapulted him to the history of the national horse racing.

The small rider was in his moment of glory, and Iraqui was consecrated as the third horse in obtaining the Venezuelan Triple Crown, emulated the feats achieved by Gradisco in 1.960 and by El Corsario in 1.972.

In the year 1.986 he won 17 Classics in this order: The Albert Smith with Napaz, Jose Maria Vargas with Tio Cheo, Andres Bello with Tioo Cheo, The Day of the Navy with Mis Vereda, Forces of Cooperation with Winton, The Corsario with Miss Vereda, The Cavepro with Winton, Association of Horse Racing Owners with Winton, Horse Racing Journalist with Satira, Simon Bolivar with Winton, Burlesco with Sparrow, National Breeding with Winton, Caracas City with Imbay, Venezuelan Air Force with Capaz, Jockey Club of Venezuela with Winton, Comparacion with Batiente and The National Institute of Racecourses with Capaz.

Juan Vicente Tovar ganando con Iraqui

Another time, at the end of October of 1.987 and in the restaurant Ponte Vecchio of Las Mercedes, one Monday, Francisco Morales made calculations if Angel Francisco Parra could win or not the Jockeys Statistic, napkins with numbers of different dimension and sizes, any quantity of digits worthy of Pytagoras.

Putting aside the figures he asked Juan Vicente two questions, Juan What do you do to win so many races ? to this Tovar answers " The victories come with the perseverence, the dedication, the discipline, the objectives which everyone plans and certain abilities.The secret, if there is one, is the hearing ".

What has the hearing to do with controlling and riding a horse in a race ? Tovar answer with security and quickly: " The jockey who does not the hearing educated, and who does not listen the steps of the horses, both of the one who goes ahead, and of those who come behind is dead, he cannot measure the reach of a horse race.

And he told him, " I dedicate to you this jockey statistic ".It seemed incredible.He returned, won 19 races over 38 mounts, finishing the first with four of advance over the second classified, Parra.On the first of January, with the New Year, he reminded to him: " I dedicated it to you and I complied with it ".

On 2nd December of 1.990, we were witnesses of the greatest feat achieved by Juan Vicente in the tracks when he won the unforgettable three International Races, as they were the two editions of the Classic Confraternidad del Caribe riding and winning with Randy in record time over Super Regio and the edition for mares in which he won with Stillwater, being Coquette, second.

Finally, the glory arrived when with a Triple demonstration of quality and intelligence he won with the champion Don Fabian in the 23 edition of the Classical of Caribe in a nice duel with the Panamanian horse Espaviento, winning in record time.

In another occasion, Francisco Morales, having lunch in his house of Los Naranjos observed the Gold Horseshoe of 1.977 the first which he won with a total of 114 victories, was hanging from a nail quite rare and surrounded by a very special frame.That situation attracted his attention powerfully and he asked for an explanation.

In another occasion, Francisco Morales, having lunch in his house of Los Naranjos observed the Gold Horseshoe of 1.977 the first which he won with a total of 114 victories, was hanging from a nail quite rare and surrounded by a very special frame.That situation attracted his attention powerfully and he asked for an explanation.

Juan Vicente answered him: " Years ago, in 1.976, when I was an apprentice I suffered a fall that almost left me without work.They operated me and incrusted a nail in my femur.Afterwards, already without troubles the doctor Jose Lara Diaz took it away.I brought the nail to my house and that is exactly the nail which holds up my first Gold Horseshoe.

Of the 16 consecutive statistics that Juan Vicente Tovar achieved, from 1.977 until 1.992, that of the 1.982 was the one in which he reached the highest quantity of victories with 151.

When Tovar assumed the idea of retiring in 1.992, he did it through he main entrance, winning the last statistic after getting a victory with Auriga and complied with another ride.His firmness in the decision was such that nobody thought of the possibility of his return.

He dedicated his time to rest, family business and some other business.For the 1.993 season classical was established in honor to whom achieved an infnity of records in our horse racing, and one at world level, the 16 consecutive statistics.

In that year La Pastoreña won it and in 1.994 the winner was Prime Time.Nevertheless the nostalgia of the daily duties, companionship and competition of the environment took hold of him, and unexpectedly he reincorporated to activities with big difference over stage: to obtain the success in that same season, 1.995, his first victory with Mariawaleska in one remembered ovation which lasted several minutes, from the moment when he entered in the final straight until he made the weight after the race, to culminate among the first of the statistic, and win the classical President of the Republic with The Colonial Specimen.

The star of the jockeys, Juan Vicente Tovar, when he won the fourth race of the program of 12 July of 1.997 in La Rinconada Racecourse, he completed the 2.300 victories.

On the 30 October of 1.997, was complied the homage agreed by the permanent Commission of youth, recreation and sports of the Chamber of Deputies in honor to the star of the jockey Juan Vicente Tovar Leon.

A crowded assistance filled the gardens of the Federal Legislative Palace where Juan Vicente received The Medal of the National Congress from the hands of Doctor Cristobal Fernandez Dalo, President of the Congress of the Republic.Tovar who was accompanied by his family and friends, thanked in a short but concrete speech the act which was granted to him, considered as the first rendered to a native jockey.

Many times Juan Vicente Tovar won with horses in record time: Star Light, Abisinia, Gelinotte, Landrea, El Isiro, Ristre, Guadamil, Murciano, Mon Coquette, Don Fabian.

Finally, in 1.998 he decides to leave the profession, this time in a permanent way, his last victory was with Express, and try luck in other affairs including in the field of the Edition of Magazines and in the broadcasting where Tovar kept his syntonized space.

Juan Vicente Tovar, his light will always shine like a star over the Venezuelan Racecourses and contemplating it will be an inspiration and example for all those young persons who want to emerge as jockeys so that they understand that the greatness of a man is not measured by his height, nor by the material riches which he may store up, but by the feats based on perseverence, dedication, effort and integrity, the same which will remain written with gold threads of glory of the imperishable memory of the future generations.

We had always considered Juan Vicente Tovar as a man of extraordinary intelligence in a horse racing, from the time when he was a little boy he had observed that he was pleased to run in intermediate positions, that is to say, between the first five or six.He always profited the fight of two or more outstanding horses in order not to weaken the horse that he was riding., and when one of the two gave over, he exacted his horse and placed him behind the leader.

Another of the great virtues of Juan Vicente was that almost always he looked for the race in the post of the 600 meters, where he always forced the horse to run steadly, so that in this way he could go away from the final straight line.

As last homage, and under enormous emotion, the little Juan Pablo Tovar Celis received and raised the commemorative Plaque, which translates the exaltation of the Hall of the Fame of his father Juan Vicente Tovar Leon, who when alive was the greatest jockey of all times, not for the fact of having won 16 consecutive statistics in La Rinconada Racecourse, but for his having charm, to get on well with people and being an exemplary Venezuelan.

On 26 June of 2.000, at 17:30 at night, in an act which took place in the hotel Tanamaco, it was made reality what some weeks ago was announced to the different media: the Qualifying Jury, composed by members of the Association of Sports Journalist, chose the exaltation to the Hall of the Fame of the multichampion of the jockeys and king of the riding whip, Juan Vicente Tovar Leon, as also to other distinguished athletes of the National Sport.

And correspond to his small son, Juan Pablo, in representation of the Tovar Family, to receive what in life was denied to his daddy, but further of all remain the feat, the glory, the happiness of a Venezuelan who delivered himself in body and soul to his profession, to the fans, to horse racing, which is what matters.

As last anecdote of Juan Vicente, Alfredo Iglesias was in a restaurant of the capital in the company of his family and a waiter with Southern accent approached " you are Iglesias, of the horses ", he told me in a tone which was between the doubt and the affirmation.He understood that some companion had passed the information to him and he sent it to ask for some winner horse for the Sunday.When he indicated the horse that he most liked for that day, he pointed out that it was guided by the champion ( with reference then to Emisael Jaramillo ), the man visibly emotioned answered me " !ah! if Tovar rides the horse, he does not lose ", of course, he spent a considerable time explaining that he had died but this episode shows that out of the horse racing there was an only one champion for the people: Juan Vicente Tovar.

Anécdotas Hípicas Venezolanas
Thanks to Juan Macedo