Castaneda has been a licensed worker in the California thoroughbred industry for several years; however, the necessity to begin work at an early age and attend to his family responsibly put off finishing high school. Castaneda has moved up the ranks to assistant trainer, but his desire to complete school remained in his thoughts. The Edwin J. Gregson Foundation provided the funding for home study courses, and through hard work, he has obtained his high school diploma.
"I have ridden horses forever!" says Brandi. As a past member of the USET Developing Riders Team in show jumping, she traveled to Africa, India, Mexico, Canada, and Belgium. She lived one year in Switzerland, working in a sales barn. "I enjoy every aspect of the equine industry and want to further my knowledge so that I can play a pivotal role in racing."
Brandi has worked for the past three years as main exercise rider for San Luis Rey Downs-based trainer Byron Hendricks, while she also attended Mira Costa Community College in Oceanside, California. She has since transferred to the University of Arizona, enrolling in the Racetrack Industry Program.
Goode also actively worked at placing ex-race horses in safe homes after their racing careers ended. "I have saved numerous horses from slaughter and helped provide them good futures as show or trail horses and given them the respect of a long, cared-for life."
Kathryn Marie I.
Kathyn is highly involved in her academic studies, sports, and various community services. She is attending Citrus Community College working towards a major in business administration and performing arts.
Kathryn attended San Gabriel Mission High School, where she was the director of the studio crew and handled special affairs of the drama club. In her senior year of high school, she served as teachers' aid for Religious Education. She is now a volunteer at City of Hope National Medical Center, providing assistance since June 2003.
Sixto Inda, Kathryn's father, was born in Santiago, Chile. The son of a jockey who later changed careers and became a trainer, Sixto has been involved with racing since age six at his father's workplace of Club Hitico Racetrack in Santiago. In 1972, his uncle, Santa Anita-based trainer Eduardo Inda, brought Sixto to California, where he started his career as an exercise rider for Warren Stute.
Sixto has also worked with prominent trainers Joe Manzi and Brian Mayberry, exercising horses such as FRANS VALENTINE, HE'S A SAROS, and RAMBLING GUY. He is currently an exercise rider for trainer John Sadler.
Angel Ledesma H. & Paola Ledesma H.
Angel is attending CESUN Universidad in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, studying law. His goal is to become a judge. Paola, sister of Angel, is attending Univer Noroeste also in Mexico, majoring in media communications. It is her goal to become a television newscaster.
Jose and Maria, the parents of the Angel and Paola, have worked very hard at providing higher education for their children. Jose is a groom working for trainer Mike Harrington. Living at his Hollywood Park grounds workplace, Jose is steadfast in sending his earnings home to Maria and children in Tijuana to serve the family needs. Maria also works in Tijuana.
Jose and Maria see each other occasionally on days off from work. But, they carry on their long-distance relationship with a matter-of-fact attitude, remaining hopeful and dedicated to putting their children through school, and looking forward to gleeful graduation day ceremonies.
The Edwin J. Gregson Foundation is priviledged to alleviate some of the monetary burdens of the Horta family.
Attending Sierra Vista High School, Camilo was captain of the baseball team, played on school soccer and basketball teams, served as chairman of class fundraising committee, choreographed salsa and meringue dance, and was Vice President and Treasurer of Young Latino Scholars.
Camilo is currently attending Rio Hondo College, making the Dean's Honor Roll in his starting semester. He plans to soon transfer to Cal State Fullerton to continue courses in criminal law.
Overcoming the many difficulties of his childhood is what Camilo believes led him to graduate with honors from high school and set his goal to become a police officer. "I'm compassionate and want to help people in trouble. I look forward to obtaining my Associate of Arts degree in the field of Criminal Justice and will follow with application to the LAPD Academy. If accepted, I'll be one step closer to being the decorated law officer I aspire to become."
Camilo's father, Nestor, is an exercise rider presently working for trainer David Bernstein.
Ivana is attending Glendale Community College, earning the necessary credits to transfer to CSU Pomona. "I'm the oldest child in my family, and the first generation to be able to graduate from high school and attend college," says Ivana.
Architecture is Ivana's intended major. She gained her interest based on a desire to provide low-income families adequate and efficient living space.
Ivana's father, Isaias, was born in Michoacan, Mexico. With no hope of finding any means to prosper in his home country, he immigrated to Los Angeles, California, at age 16. He immediately found work with an older brother already working at Santa Anita Racetrack.
Starting as a hot walker in 1982 with trainer Leonard Dorfman, Morfin moved on to groom horses for trainers Willard Proctor, John Gosden, and Julio Canani. In 1991, Morfin was hired on by Jenine Sahadi, and now serves as her assistant trainer. You will routinely see Isaias's name listed along with Sahadi's on her stable racing program entries.
A student of El Camino College, Evelyn is taking courses to major in political science.
"I come from what is considered an economically lower class family," says Evelyn. "My wish is to repay my family for what they have provided me, as well as give back to the community where I was raised. I would love to make a difference in people's lives and the scholarship grant provided by the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation will help bring me closer to achieving my goals and dreams."
Juan Reynoso, Ariana's father, was born in Jalisco, Mexico. Coming to California in 1958, he began work at Hollywood Park, grooming for trainer Farrell W. Jones, who had a string of about forty horses (an average barn size in those days). Felisa Reynoso, Evelyn's mom, took the role of housewife, staying home to nurture and tend to their three Reynoso children.
Trainer David Hofmans has been Juan's employer for the last 18 years. Serving as assistant foreman, Juan is proud to be a member of the Hofman barn with horses such as LEGIONAIRE, DRAMATIC GOLD, and ALPHABET SOUP.
Bernardo is attending Universal Technical School (UTI) pursuing his desired trade as an auto mechanic.
Bernardo's father, Antolin Rubalcava, is from Jalisco, Mexico. He came to California with is parents in 1967 at age 14, where he joined his father working for trainer Gordon Campell. At age 16, he learned to exercise horses at Flag Is Up farm. Later, during 1971-1974, he became at jockey riding at Golden Gate Fields and in Pennsylvania. Returning to exercising horses, he has since worked for trainers Riley Cofer, Ronald McAnally, and Lewis Cenicola. He notes that he exercised horse legend JOHN HENRY. Rubalcava presently works for trainer Rafael Becerra.
Martha B. R.
"My goal is to become a psychologist," states Martha. "Since I was a child, I listened to people and tried to help with their problems. I want to obtain my degree as soon as possible so that I can formally begin my career assisting individuals."
Martha and her parents are from Mexico. Her father, Arturo, worked with horses since age ten, continuing a formal equestrian career at Mexico's Hipodromo de las Americas until its closure in 1994. Hoping to continue in the only business he had ever known and found comfort, he came to the United States where he knew there was great opportunity. He is currently Assistant Trainer to Sal Gonzalez.
Judith A. S.
Judith is now a US citizen residing in Northern California, studying English and women's services at Mt. Diablo Valley College. Prior to that, her entire school education was obtained in Mexico. "Receiving a grant from the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation has allowed me to be the first one in my family to go to college," says Judith. "I really want to continue my studies."
Judith's father, J. Guadalupe Sandoval, has been a groom for over 35 years. He is currently working for trainer Art Sherman in the Northern California racing circuit.
Cesar is attending Citrus College, with plans to transfer to a Cal State University in the future. His intended major field of study is business management and/or veterinary medicine. "I am willing to put my maximum work effort into achieving my goals," says Cesar.
Cesar is the third of the nine children of exercise rider Cesar Serrano and wife Carmen. The senior Serrano is from Jalisco, Mexico, and came to California in 1975 to find a better paying job to support his family. Cesar worked with horses in Mexico, which eventually lead him to Santa Anita Racetrack. The trainers that Cesar has worked for are Ray Priddy, Larry Sterling, Steve Miyadi, Ron Ellis, Bruce Headley, and, presently, Rafael Becerra. Notable horses he has worked with are Cameamea and To B. Or Not.
At age 18, Samuel is an accomplished musician. He is a founding member of the Pasadena Jazz Institute and a member of the L.A. Scots, a prestigious and prominent bagpipe band, competing among the world's best pipe bands. Demonstrating his talent, Samuel performed beautifully at memorial services at Santa Anita for veteran trainer T.W. ("Wally") Dunn in early 2004.
Though Samuel's youth has greatly involved music, his acceptance to Loyola Marymount University attests to his academic strength. In his first year at Loyola, he is majoring in business administration.
Samuel's father, Joe Vaca, states that he visited the United States for the first time at age 16 at the invitation of a family friend who was a horse owner. He had an immediate interest in the friend's horses and was initially introduced to English riding. He soon graduated to race horses, and between the ages of 18-21, he further perfected his riding skills in Tijuana, Mexico. He then tried as a jockey in the U.S. in 1983, but soon after quit because he couldn't make the necessary weight. Vaca's adeptness and quick ascent into racing is unique, since being a city dweller from Guadalajara, Mexico, he had never seen a horse until coming to America.
Vaca's career in horse racing is quite illustrious. As an exercise rider, he has worked for such prominent trainers as D.Wayne Lukas, Kenny Jumps, Richard Cross, John Russell, Barry Knight, Frank Veiga, and Bob Baffert. Following is a short but impressive list of a few of the horses Vaca has exercised: CAPOTE, MARFA, GULCH, LIFE'S MAGIC, LUCKYLUCKYLUCKY, FARMAWAY, TWILIGHT AGENDA, LADY'S SECRET, ONTHELINE, DYNANITE, AREWEHAVINGFUNYET, THIRTY SLEWS, CRIMINAL TYPE, and SUCCESS EXPRESS.
Vaca currently works for trainer Jeff Mullins, exercising stable horses, STAGE PLAYER, BEAU SOLEIL, SAINT AFLEET, and CASTLEDALE.
Jetta tells us that she worked full time at Santa Anita, while attending Arcadia High School. "I thought my life was the track and I had no intention of going to college," says Jetta. "At age 19, however, I joined the Marines and soon realized how important it is to get a good education."
Jetta is presently attending Citrus College and has recently earned a 4.0 gpa for her Fall 2004 semester, leading to placement on the Dean's List. Her ultimate goal is to become a social worker and help troubled children.
Jetta's father is John Flakes. Hailing from McCrory, Arkansas, his family moved to East St. Louis, Missouri, where he began galloping horses at age 13 at a training track nearby Fairmont Park. By age 16, he realized he was "better at handling horses on the ground than on the track," and became a full-time groom. In his profession now for over forty years, he has worked for trainers Charlie Whittingham, Jim Cassidy, and Peter Eurton, and has groomed horse greats EXCELLER, BOLD TROPIC, AND HABASTAR. He currently is groom to IMPERIALISM and WANNAWINEMALL for the Kristen Mulhall barn.
Olaf considers himself a strong and bright student, saying, "I am conscience of what I do and carefully consider the consequences. With the use of the Gregson Foundation scholarship grant, I will pursue an education in mathematics and engineering to help build a better future."
"My father, Ignacio Vazquez, grew up in Mexico on a ranch with his parents and ten brothers and sisters. He helped harvest the growing crops and raise the animals they owned. There he learned to take care of horses and later learned to gallop them."
In 1971, a friend introduced Ignacio to racing at Mexico's Hipodromo de las Americas. In December 1973, he won his first race as a jockey. It was an experience he would never forget, and an experience that has been a fulfilling part of his life. In the following years, Vazquez made his way to Tijuana and the Southern California racing circuit as an exercise rider. He was worked for trainers Tommy Dole, Beau Greely, Alfredo Marquez, and recently, with Ted West. He has ridden horses such as Five Star Day, ManNdar, Takarian, and Tiznow.
Our scholarship recipients would like our readers to know that they truly appreciate being selected to receive Edwin J. Gregson Foundation grants. They express their thanks for the assistance given to achieve higher education and the added opportunity to enhance their lives.
The Edwin J. Gregson Foundation has received twenty new applications for grant consideration in 2004, as well as will reconsider continued funding for prior year grant recipients. The Scholarship Committee will soon review these applications with distributions to follow shortly.
The Board of Directors of the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation and the California Thoroughbred Trainers applaud the efforts and accomplishments of all grant recipients. On behalf of these boards and many contributors to the scholarship fund, we proudly extend our best wishes and hopes that the recipients persevere and reach their intended goals.