Q&A with Rising-Star Jockey Flavien Prat

The Life

Flavien Prat celebrated his first Grade 1 win with Wild Dude in the Bing Crosby Stakes on July 25 at Del Mar. (Bing Crosby photos by BENOIT photo)

America’s Best Racing brand ambassador Jose Contreras caught up with rising-star jockey Flavien Prat, who recently completed his first meet at Del Mar since arriving from Europe.

Prat has ridden in places like Germany, Italy and his native France. In 2009, he began riding periodically during the winter in Southern California before returning home shortly thereafter. This year is Prat's first full season in North America, and he finished second in the standings of the recently concluded Del Mar summer meet. This Del Mar season gave him his first Grade 1 win in the United States and also the first four-win day of his career on Sept. 4. 

PRAT AFTER GUIDING JAKABY JADE TO VICTORY AT DEL MAR ON SEPT. 7

BENOIT photo

Name: Flavien Prat

What I do for a living: Jockey on the Southern California circuit

How and when I was introduced to racing: My father is a trainer, so I was always around the stable.

What has life been like for you racing at Del Mar this summer? I like it. It’s a nice place. The weather is perfect. They have some really good restaurants around the area. It’s different than Santa Anita [Park], so it is nice to be somewhere new.

How much of an adjustment has there been in learning to ride on the dirt as compared with turf riding (more common in Europe)? Not so much because I’m young and my riding style is still changing. In Europe, we train on the dirt most of the time and sometimes on the turf. I try to keep learning.

You’re 23 years old and many well-known personalities in the sport identified you as a rising superstar. How much pressure do you feel when you hear this? I just try to be the best I can, be professional and make the people I ride for happy.

TRAINER RICHARD MANDELLA AND PRAT AT DEL MAR

Courtesy of Jose Contreras/America's Best Racing

Outside of horse racing, what interests do you have? Back home in Europe, I liked to play squash, which is kind of like tennis. It is played with a small racket and four walls. Since I’ve been here, I have tried to play golf, but it’s a hard sport.

What are your goals as a jockey in the next year? To keep learning. I try to watch all the riders and learn the best things from each one to add to my own style. Also, to keep winning races and maybe some more big ones.

Do you have a favorite American food? BBQ ribs with coleslaw

Other sports/teams you follow: Soccer is big back home, so I have always liked it.  I also like NBA basketball. I have attended some Los Angeles Lakers games.

Three words that define what Thoroughbred Racing means to you: Competition, passion, dedication

First Thoroughbred track you ever attended: Too young to remember. I was on the racetrack before I could even speak.

Favorite all-time Thoroughbred: I don’t have a specific horse. It’s not because they won a big race or something, but some claiming horses always try so hard, so they’re nice. I like all of them.

Your personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred racing: Winning two Grade 1 races. One in Europe and the Grade 1 Bing Crosby [Stakes] at Del Mar with Wild Dude on July 26.

PRAT GUIDING WILD DUDE TO VICTORY IN BING CROSBY

BENOIT photo

Favorite animal other than a horse: I like all the animals. Dogs would probably be my favorite.

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event you have attended: Big basketball fan, so the NBA, Los Angeles Lakers games.

Favorite food from home: For appetizer, I would have to say the escargot (snail), which is cooked with butter and other ingredients. For entrée, I would say lamb ribs.

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with mountains and skiing

Favorite city: I love Paris, so much history there.

Favorite musician/band: I listen to all kinds of music. Right now, I’m listening to hip-hop and rap.

Favorite movie: Many French movies. One from America that I liked was “Black Beauty”.

Websites you visit daily: I like shopping for clothes online, so I’m mainly searching for that.

What you drive: Mercedes-Benz, CLA

Favorite movie about horse racing: “Seabiscuit”

Which actor would play you in a movie: I don’t think I look like him, but my favorite actor is Leonardo DiCaprio.

Best book you recently read: “The Wolf of Wall Street”. The movie was also good, but first you have to read the book and then watch the movie.

Favorite dessert: Caramelized bananas in brown sugar and rum. Also, crepes with caramel and apple, just like my mom does it.

Favorite drink: Wine

What you like about your job: That it’s never the same. It always changes and keeps your mind working. You have to always be alert and make quick decisions. It never gets boring.

Favorite Tech gadget: iPhone

Twitter Handle: @FlavienPrat

No. 1 bucket-list item: Be happy

PRAT AFTER WINNING OSUNITAS STAKES WITH GAS TOTAL AT DEL MAR

BENOIT photo


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