Trainer Ramon "Mike" Hernandez, the oldest active trainer on The New York Racing Association circuit, is retiring at the age 86 after a 60-year career.
“I will be relaxing and spending time with my three daughters, who all live in New York, so I will be around,” said Hernandez, who saddled Skinnydipper, his final starter, to an eighth-place finish in the second race at Aqueduct on Nov. 27. “I also plan to visit family in Mexico. I hope I adjust to being retired.”
Frank “Pancho” Martin, who celebrates his 86th birthday on Dec. 3, now becomes the oldest active trainer on the NYRA circuit.
Hernandez, who took out his trainer’s license in 1951 in Mexico and sent out his first winner, Flying Queen, at the Hippodromo de las Americas that year, moved permanently to the United States in 1967 and managed Clermont Farms in Germantown, N.Y. for the next eight years.
In 1976 he opened a public stable and achieved considerable success over the years with New York-breds, saddling dozens of stakes winners including Adirondack Holme, Classic Pack, Vandy Sue, Lookin At Her, Artistic Express, and Beautiful America.
“There’s no one that doesn’t like Mike,” said owner Chester Broman. “He first started training for me 14 years ago when I purchased the farm; he was set to retire then, but changed his mind. He’s as good a horseman as any.”
According to Equibase, Hernandez retires with 603 wins from 5,418 starts with earnings of $18,820,126.