There’s no missing Darwin Vizcaya. Whether it’s his giant ear-to-ear grin — which he’s seemingly always flashing at the track — or his physically imposing size (he’s 6 feet 4 inches tall), it’s hard not to notice the New York-based race caller and analyst originally from Aragua, Venezuela.
Aside from his physical features, Vizcaya has also caught the attention among many in the racing world for his work ethic and smooth presence on the TV screen covering racing in Spanish over the past few years.
Vizcaya, 35, recently joined the ranks of America’s Best Racing contributors with a weekly Twitter Live show “la Exacta Ganadora” (The Winning Exacta). His co-host on the show is fellow Venezuelan and HipicaTV analyst Claudia Spadaro (read more about her here). Darwin lives in New York with his wife, Nathel Jovanovic, and three children: Nikolle,13; Aizen, 7; and Nathan, 4.
We caught up with Vizcaya to learn more about what drew him to the sport of racing, what drives him every day, and what he does outside of the sport.
My name is: Darwin Vizcaya
My first memory of horse racing was: Going to see the champion of Venezuela Catire Bello running in the classic Simon Bolivar. I would have been only 3 or 4 years old but I remember it clearly. Everyone played Catire Bello but he lost to Veterano.
My daily routine starts with: Every morning I tell my children that they are champions, that they have a lot of talent, and that they are very intelligent. It is the first thing I always do, then I start practicing my English because I still have not mastered it.
I know it’s going to be a good day when: I could say that every day is excellent for me. I love being alive and living my horse race — it's a passion.
Favorite place at the racetrack to watch a race: the winner’s circle
Advice I would give to anyone considering getting into racing as a career: It is a world where the competition is real, the demands are constant, and where you should always be improving. But if you love this, nothing should stop you.
The best way to attract more fans to the sport is to: We are in the digital age. If you want to attract people you must have online video games, anime or comics that demonstrate the excitement of entering this racing world.
My favorite type of bet to make at the racetrack is: Pick 4.
My biggest gambling win ever at the racetrack was: I hit a Pick 5 that cost $48 and paid more than $12,000 at Belmont Park.
My top three favorite racetracks in order, and what I like about each one: Saratoga: Once you arrive in the city, it is as if you are traveling in time. In all places there, you can breathe and feel the horse races.
Belmont Park: This brings up many feelings for me. It is my home, it was where I came the first time, and where I dreamed of working.
Churchill Downs: Who has not dreamed of being in a Kentucky Derby?
What I do when I’m not at the races: I love being with my family, and playing basketball with my daughter or PlayStation with my children.
One thing that most people don’t know about me is: I write comics.
Should the Breeders’ Cup rotate from coast to coast or have a permanent home: Definitely rotate from coast to coast.
Favorite international racing event: Royal Ascot and Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix)
Favorite racehorse currently competing: Tiz the Law
Favorite all-time racehorse: Secretariat
Three words or phrases that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: Hard work, love, and emotion
Accomplishment I am most proud of: Getting to work at NYRA
Other sports/teams I follow: NBA and NHL — the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Nets.
Favorite non-horse racing sports event I have attended: MLB Playoffs and U.S. Open
My favorite athletes of all-time: Michael Jordan
Favorite thing to eat after a winning day at the races: Beef steak, vegetables, and orange or mango juice.
Least favorite food: Olives and eggplant
Favorite cocktail: Margarita
Top racing websites I visit daily: Equibase
Twitter handle: @Darwinvizcaya_
My favorite apps on my phone are: Facebook
I’d like to have dinner with the following three people inside racing: I recently had a fantastic dinner with Manuel Franco and Javier Castellano. I would add Irad Ortiz Jr. and Luis Saez, although a table of 10 or more would be fantastic.
I’d like to have dinner with the following three people outside of racing: Jorge Viera, Erasmo Provenza, and Carolina Guillen.
My philosophy on life: Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who also believe in you.