By Mari Ballinger
One week. Two racetracks. 24 races. 11 wins. Those kind of statistics can only belong to one jockey, and that is Orlando Mojica.
On August 4, 2019 Mojica raced at Canterbury Park, finishing first aboard Unfailing in a claiming race. Hours later, he was on a flight to Canada to race at Assiniboia Downs in the $75,000 Manitoba Derby on August 5. Again, he finished first. Then it was back to Minnesota to race another four days in a row. Has anyone enrolled this guy in a frequent-flyer program? He finished the weekend off with another nine wins at Canterbury Park, including the Minnesota Derby, Blair’s Cove Stakes, and Princess Elaine Stakes.
Then, he napped.
Mojica’s professional riding career started nearly 20 years ago so he is used to chaotic weeks that sometimes include traveling to multiple racetracks. His dad and brother were both jockeys so there was no question that Mojica would follow in their footsteps. His professional debut was on April 13, 2000 at Garden State Park where he placed second. A few weeks later, Mojica had his first career win aboard mare Partner’s Cilo in a claiming race for $10,600.
At that time, Mojica’s successful career had just started. Since then, he has been in the Top 100 jockeys in the country nine times, ranking 12th by Wins in 2008 and 10th by Wins in 2009. But the accomplishments don’t stop there. Mojica bagged 1,000 wins on April 26, 2008, a short eight years after his debut. Now, that deserves a round of applause.
In life, there are also hardships. Mojica has had his fair share of injuries, including broken ribs, a knee, and lower back. But, he hasn’t let that get him down.
“Obviously riding is very dangerous, but I am very blessed to be doing what I love,” said Mojica. “When something happens, I get right back up.”
At Canterbury, Mojica rides for several barns including the top two trainers, Robertino Diodoro and Mac Robertson, and has 54 wins so far this season. After racing ends in Shakopee, Mojica will travel home to Indiana where he can race and spend time with his family.
Mojica rode in four races Thursday night at Canterbury Park, finishing first in a starter allowance race aboard gelding Jonny’s Choice. He will race here again Friday and Saturday then travel to Canada on Sunday for the Canadian Derby to ride for Diodoro at Century Mile.