Samy Camacho is all business at the racetrack, where he strives to reward his connections with the best rides available while pursuing a second consecutive Tampa Bay Downs jockeys title.
But when he hangs up his tack for the day, Camacho transforms into a devoted family man, cherishing time spent with his wife, Kismar Torcat, and their four children.
His skill in the saddle and ability to balance his personal and professional lives make Camacho one of the most sought-after jockeys at the Oldsmar oval, where he is tied for third place in the standings through today’s action with 12 victories. His quick start to the season led to his selection as the Señor Tequila Mexican Grill Jockey of the Month.
“He’s coming out every day and working hard, and he’s very focused,” said Mike Moran, his agent. “He seems happy about everything, and I like that he has a lot of confidence. Right now, every horse is running well for him.”
On his half-hour drives to and from the racetrack, Camacho takes time to reflect on his good fortune. Kismar gave birth on May 23 to a son, David, and with a 7-month-old craving his love and attention, Camacho embraces his roles of provider and caretaker. “I give him his pacifier, I feed him and I change him two or three times a day,” said the 31-year-old product of Caracas, Venezuela. “I have fun with it. I love my kids.
“I’m never mad when I get home because they all come to me and give me hugs and kisses,” Camacho said. “When I come home, I forget everything I did on the track. Business is business and home is home, and it is so special to be with my family.”
Besides David, Kismar and Samy have a 5-year-old son, Samir, and two children from her previous relationship: son Nelberth, 13, and daughter Nicole, 11. They comprise a support system that strengthens Camacho’s determination to perform to his full potential on a daily basis.
“Nelberth is always asking me how I did and wanting to talk about the races,” Camacho said. “Samir will tell me ‘Daddy, you’re going to win three races today,’ and it’s so funny when I’m able to go home and tell him I won three.
“I want to see my family happy and in good health, and coming home to them feels like a blessing.”
William Shakespeare wrote “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” but Camacho shows no signs of being burdened with the heavy expectations of repeating last year’s title, when he rode 123 winners. It won’t come easily against the likes of six-time Oldsmar champion Daniel Centeno, four-time champ Antonio Gallardo, Pablo Morales, Jesus Castanon and newcomer Angel Suarez, but Camacho is primed for the challenge.
“I ride a lot of horses, and I’m learning something new every day,” said Camacho, whose exuberance for racing is often displayed in the winner’s circle. “I have a lot of confidence. I think I want to win the title more this year, because the competition is probably better and I have more hunger in myself.
“Everybody makes mistakes, but I know if I get mad after a race I might not ride my next horse as well as I should. Every race is important, and I have to focus and forget about everything in the past.”