Mata featured in Detroit News story

Federico Mata is a fan favorite rider at Pinnacle Race Course, shown here aboard Banning.

Federico Mata is a fan favorite rider at Pinnacle Race Course, shown here aboard Banning.

Pinnacle Race Course and one of its high-profile figures garnered some media exposure on Monday when jockey Federico Mata was made the subject of an in-depth profile piece in the Detroit News.

The article follows Mata through a day’s work at Pinnacle, from the morning workouts to the final race of the day about 12 hours later.

Having seen so many stories about racing that claim to go behind the scenes, but then dumb things down to “introductory pamphlet” level, it was refreshing to see a non-Kentucky-based newspaper story really get into the daily lives of the people at the track. Peeks behind the curtain of the race day are rare, even with Animal Planet following Mike Smith and Chantal Sutherland through their routines, so to see a story done well like this makes for good reading and helps draw interest to the sport. Hopefully it leads to more stories of a similar theme in the future. Detroit Free Press, I’m looking in your direction…

When I was starting out as a handicapper at Great Lakes Downs, one of the first lessons I learned was a horse with Mata on its back was rarely a throwaway. Mata was the leading rider at the now defunct Muskegon racetrack in 2000 and was rarely far from the top spot most years, a trend he has continued at Pinnacle. He rode my grandpa’s horses on occasion at GLD and was the focus of many winner’s circle photos aboard them, rarely missing the board. 

Last year, on Pinnacle’s opening day, the audience was sprinkled with people wearing Freddie Mata T-shirts from back in the day at Detroit Race Course. With that kind of local name recognition already established in the Detroit area, Mata was the natural and correct choice among Pinnacle’s current jockey colony for a story like this.

The online version of the story also features a 30-photo gallery of Mata’s day from beginning to end and a short video following him through his routine on the backstretch, on the track and in the jock’s room. 

Props to reporter Gregg Krupa, photographer David Coates and everyone else who helped put this story together. Very nice work.

To read the story, click here.

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Filed under Great Lakes Downs, Pinnacle Race Course

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