Biography: Jose Luis Flores was raised in Peru, his father a jockey who took his young son to the races. Once Flores showed an interest in riding, he learned the trade at a farm before serving his apprenticeship in his native country.
As a journeyman, he moved to Panama in 1983, competing at Hipodromo Presidente Ramon for four years before settling in Miami, riding at Calder, Hialeah and Gulfstream.
“It was hard for me to make it at at Gulfstream,” he said. “I did not speak English, so I moved to Canterbury Downs and learned English out of necessity. I lived with a police officer who knew no Spanish!”
Flores scored his first title at Penn National in 1992, riding many winners for Scott Lake, who encouraged the move to Philadelphia Park. He is the all-time leading money earner at Philadelphia Park/Parx, and yet he has had just two agents: Jack Servis until he passed away in 2003, then Dave Yanuzzi for the last 10 years.
“He is a true gentleman rider,” said Yanuzzi. “He will ride a 60-1 shot as hard as he’d ride a favorite, and work for a two-horse outfit just as soon as a 20-horse barn. He’s ridden for just about every trainer on the grounds.”
Serving as a mentor for many of the younger riders, Flores says the best advice he can give is “to learn English, and save your money.”
Flores is married and has three sons, Julian, 3; Junior, 20; and Juan, 29.
Graded Stakes Wins:
1999 – Philadelphia Park Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G3) – Loaded Gun