Jose Lezcano answered the questions for this interview on the telephone, through the interpretation of his agent, Jason Bidas, while laughing hysterically in the background. He was, Bidas acknowledged, “more comfortable that way,” and a “shy, laid-back kind of guy.” Still, the 22-year-old native of Panama is confident in his riding abilities, talents that have brought him titles at Tampa Bay Downs and Monmouth Park in addition to a secure place among the top riders at Gulfstream Park.
Lezcano rode in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, finishing eighth aboard Deputy Glitters. He rides Visionaire for trainer Michael Matz.
Career wins: 757
Born: 1985, Panama
Favorite Sport: “Soccer, I played when I was a kid and still play when Jason lets me.”
Favorite food: “Hamburgers”
I can’t live without: “My cell phone. I’m always on the phone.”
Most hated chore: “I do everything. I do my laundry, take the garbage out, I take my nice clothes to the dry cleaner… I do it all.”
The fastest I’ve ever driven was: “140 miles per hour, driving from Tampa to Florida on this highway called ‘Alligator Alley,’ just a freeway where you can flat-out roll.”
Another active rider I admire is: “John Velazquez.”
If I could trade careers with one pro athlete I would be: “A racecar driver or Michael Jordan.”
One thing I wish people knew about jockeys: “Our job has a lot of stress.”
The best part about winning this year’s Derby would be: “Accomplishing what every jockey wants to do. I’m very excited about riding in it.”