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Jeff Bloom Gives LOCALE the Insight on Being a Thoroughbred Expert.

Written By: Marie Spada Jeff Bloom, the Expert on Thoroughbreds

The Expert: Jeff Bloom
Credentials: Former Jockey, Owner of Bloom Racing Stable LLC

At 13 years old, Jeff Bloom attended his first race at Del Mar. Unbeknownst to him, that was a life defining day, as he told himself, “That’s it, I’m going to be a jockey.” Since his epiphany at Del Mar, he has made racing horses his life pursuit. With over 30 years in the industry, Bloom has served as a professional jockey, racing manager, marketing and media relations consultant and broadcaster. During his 9-year tenure as a jockey, Bloom raced at the most prestigious tracks in North America. Upon hanging up the saddle, he became the main workout rider for renowned trainers, including Eddie Gregson and Hall of Famer, Charlie Whittingham. Most recently, his horse Soul Driver won the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar on Opening Day over the summer.

Bloom also went back to school and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in financial services from San Diego State University. Thus, he added a successful business venture in software technology, sales and corporate business development to his already impressive resume. Bloom also serves on the board of a non-profit organization, the Ivey Ranch Park Association, which provides therapeutic services and care for special needs children through therapeutic equine activity.

Q: You are a veteran in this industry, and were a jockey for nine years. Tell us your favorite memory as a jockey.
JB: This is an easy one. My favorite memory is riding my very first race in front of a hometown crowd at Del Mar racetrack when I was 18 years old. I remember looking up at the grandstand during the post parade and thinking it was magical.

Q: What has been the highlight of your overall career in the horse racing industry?
JB: The highlight of my career is a combination of many things since my role in the industry spans across so many different areas. But certainly getting my racing stable’s first acquisition to the Breeders’ Cup is right there at the top.

Q: What has been the biggest change in the industry over the three decades you have been involved?
JB: I think that the evolution of technology has allowed for much broader interaction with the fan base via social media and other media outlets. Before social media, racing was just about the sport. We have seen a big trend towards the entertainment aspect of the game. Video, TV, etc. allows the fan to be front and center.

Q: How has the industry improved over the last two decades?
JB: Better controls are being enforced to have uniform drug policies and procedures. We still have a ways to go, but at least we are on the right path. Also, the industry is making great progress in providing solutions to the welfare, retraining and retirement of racehorses. They are also making the effort by following their careers on the racetrack through organizations such as the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance that provides funding for accredited facilities. I actually just joined the advisory board.

Q: What inspired you to be part of the horse racing industry?
JB: My eldest brother brought me to Del Mar when I was very young, and I knew the second I saw the horses and jockeys in the paddock that I was going to become a jockey. I fell in love with the whole experience.

Q: What was the scariest moment for you as a jockey?
JB: Early in my career, I was riding a race at Golden Gate Fields and the horse stumbled coming out of the gate. I fell off the side of the horse but hung on just enough to climb back aboard halfway through the race. I remember looking back and seeing the number of horses that would have certainly run me over. Somehow, I was able to use my adrenaline to climb to safety. The horse was a huge help in the process. Normally a horse would be all over the place in a situation like that, but this particular horse took care of me.

Q: What was the best moment for you as a jockey?
JB: Winning the 1985 Manitoba Derby on a California-bred named Kamp Out.

Q: Besides the races, what is the one thing attendees of the fall season should not miss?
JB: Daybreak at Del Mar. This is a wonderful opportunity for fans to experience the “behind the scenes” of racing. You can watch the majestic animals go through their training and learn about the entire process. You get all of this while enjoying a tasty breakfast alongside the track!