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(left to right) FHBPA staff Iris Cotto and Debbie Filippi, Groom Jose Martinez and Jockey Aby Medina

Jose Martinez came to the United States eleven years ago.
“I learned to work with horses back in Honduras where I was born. When I got here (USA) my goal was to do the same. So, I started out as a hot-walker. I spent a little more time doing that than I really would have liked. In fact, I did it for more than a year,” said Jose.
After he put his time in, Jose got his break working for the Steve Klesaris barn. He worked here in Gulfstream, Palm Meadows and did the circuit in New Jersey as well.
Now Jose works for French-born trainer Yvon Belsoeur.
“I really like it here at Gulfstream and working for Yvon,” he added. “I’ve been with this barn for about eight months now.”
We asked Jose why he excels at his job. He said, “Well, to be honest I’m not sure if it’s anything other than love for my job. No magic. No secrets. Just hard work.”
“I really love my horses. Taking care of them. Watching them learn and become better race horses. The bathing, the care. I really can see that they love it. Especially feeding time,” he added.
“Right now, I have 7 horses in my care. When you get one, you get them all.”
Jose stays motivated by knowing he’s doing something good for the horses.
“Think about it, we bathe and feed and take care of ourselves. But these poor animals, if we don’t do it, who will? I think all of us that work as grooms feel the same way. It’s not only about getting a check, that’s for sure.  But, hey it’s nice to be recognized.”
The Florida HBPA wants to thank Yvon Belsoeur and all the trainers who participate in this important program, and we’d like to congratulate Jose Martinez, wishing him continued success.