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Preakness Stakes winner comes home for a day to watch Alameda County Fair races

Martin Garcia's rise to jockey fame started in Pleasanton

Martin Garcia, winner of the 135th Preakness Stakes, came back to Pleasanton for a day to sign autographs and watch races where he got is start at the Alameda County Fair racetrack.

Born in Mexico in 1984, Garcia is a jockey in American Thoroughbred horse racing who rides from a base in Southern California.

He immigrated to the U.S. seven years ago and went to work at Chicago's Deli in Pleasanton. The deli's owner, Teri Terry, introduced him to Mark Hanna, a former jockey, who helped him get started in horse racing as a stable hand and exercise rider.

Garcia galloped horses for six months before starting to ride in races at Golden Gate Fields and at the Alameda County Fair. On Aug. 17, 2005, Martin Garcia won his first race aboard Wild Daydreamer at Bay Meadows.

Garcia got his big break in the earlier part of 2006 by beating powerhouse jockey Russell Baze at Golden Gate Fields, where Baze had dominated that circuit and track. He tied with Baze by winning a title at Bay Meadows.

On May 15, 2010, Garcia rode the Bob Baffert trainee Lookin at Lucky to a win at the 135th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

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