Yarmarie Correa es la goleadora del hipismo

The Life
Young jockey Yarmarie Correa is making a name for herself on the Midwest circuit with success at Thistledown in Ohio and other tracks. (Jeffrey J. Zamaiko/Thistledown Photo)

Jamás pudo haberse imaginado esta exfutbolista panameña, ficha de la Academia del Real Madrid infantil y posteriormente campeona mundial de Flag Fútbol, que su mejor gol lo marcaría en el hipismo estadounidense, exigente medio en el que debutó, sin complejos y venciendo la “barrera del machismo”, para destacar en la estadística del hipódromo Jack Thistledown, Ohio, luego de haber derrochado clase en Mahoning y Mountaineer.

Riding to win at Thistledown. (Jeffrey J. Zamaiko/Thistledown Photo)

Se trata de Yarmarie Correa, quien a sus 26 años de edad y con apenas dos en funciones de jocketa profesional, la historia se escribe a su favor, aunque con la presión de cargar sobre sus hombros el prestigio de connacionales que la antecedieron con suficiente éxito como Laffit Pincay Jr., Braulio Baeza o el actual Ricardo Santana Jr.

Por no gustarle su carrera de Banca y Finanzas, recurrió a su tío Erick Correa, quien hizo las diligencias para que ingresara a la Academia de jinetes de su natal Ciudad de Panamá, donde le exigieron rebajar 25 libras (11,500 kg), disciplina y constancia, a lo que agregó su aguerrida manera de enfrentar los retos, y consiguió frutos muy rápido al ganar la primera carrera en su país con la yegua Iviz, igual que con Miss International en Estados Unidos.

Hoy es candidata al Eclipse como aprendiz en este atípico año de coronavirus, realidad que no le ha afectado sus objetivos de seguir ganando carreras con la intención de realizar uno de sus sueños: “montar en el circuito de Nueva York”, donde además por ser la meca de la salsa mundial, pudiera aprender a bailar, una destreza que confiesa no dominar –con la honestidad que la caracteriza de decir sin tapujos las cosas que piensa–, esta chica entregada a la actividad física con una rutina que la traslada del hipódromo a correr al aire libre y de allí al gimnasio, y aunque sus gustos apuntan a “comer de todo” prefiere alimentación balanceada y muchas ensaladas, para cultivar su condición física.

Por lo pronto tiene como tarea adueñarse de la  estadística del segundo meeting de Thistledown. “Estoy esperando el tiempo de Dios para saber a dónde voy”, sentenció.

Winner's circle. (Jeffrey J. Zamaiko/Thistledown Photo)

Aunque su ascenso ha sido vertiginoso, entiende que las cosas se dan paso a paso, por eso recomienda mantener la mente fija en lo propuesto. “Si tienen un sueño, háganlo realidad, con esfuerzo, disciplina y valentía. Y si su mundo es el hípico, hay que tener demasiada adrenalina”, expone  quizás con el recuerdo fresco de la aparatosa pero inocua caída desde el ejemplar Attuck, que no pasó de ser un susto y un grado más de experiencia.

Habla de la buena relación interpersonal con sus colegas, mujeres y hombres, a pesar de lo duro de la competencia por el machismo de algunos entrenadores que no montan mujeres en sus caballos por considerar que son del sexo débil. “Por eso me siento bien cuando me elogian porque por mi energía parece que estuviera arrancándole la cabeza a los caballos. Eso gusta”, explica casi riéndose: “Me dicen que monto, arreo y pego como un hombre”.

Por ello ha ganado mayor confianza y dinamismo sobre los  ejemplares que conduce. No obstante, antepone la buena relación que debe existir entre su apoderado, Carlos Pérez (“quien me trajo hasta acá”), los propietarios y entrenadores para lograr buenas montas.

Yarmarie no tiene problemas para reconocer que en este período de adaptación  no extraña para nada su país. “Me he dedicado al aprendizaje no solo de mi profesión, sino de inglés. Este es un país muy modernizado y me gusta”, agrega con suprema humildad y asegura que sigue siendo la misma; “el aprendizaje no cambia la personalidad”.

Flag football. (Jeffrey J. Zamaiko/Thistledown Photo)

La joven panameña dice que su aliada en los triunfos es la paciencia “porque coloco mis caballos en puestos intermedios sé cuándo exigirlos y llamarlos a correr. Así me ha ido bien”, confiesa. No duda en exponer su desconocimiento acerca de las pistas de grama, donde posiblemente, por su estilo de montar pudiera tener mejor performance que en tierra.

Cuando Yarmarie salía de su barrio en Pedregal y se iba con su papá al hipódromo a ver las carreras, no se proyectaba ni en las caballerizas y menos aun tomándose la foto como jocketa ganadora. Y miren por dónde va su osadía, rumbo a mejores posiciones.

Otro de sus gustos, según expone, es correr en distancias cortas porque siente que le saca mayor provecho a la velocidad de sus conducidos. “Por eso prefiero pistas ligeras como esta de Thistledown”, donde debe seguir rindiendo frutos.

Acerca de la rentabilidad que representa el éxito en el hipismo indica que “hay que saber administrarse, nada de estar en fiestas y licores los fines de semana, porque se acaba todo el sueño y el futuro”, puntualiza.

Aunque dejó el fútbol y los estudios parece que le quedan muchos goles en las gualdrapas… 


Yarmarie Correa – The High-Scoring Player of Horse Racing

Translation by Annise Montplaisir

You could never have imagined that this former Panamanian soccer player, a young pupil of the Academy of Real Madrid and formerly a world champion of flag football, would mark her best goal in U.S. horse racing. She debuted in a demanding arena, and not without the complexity of overcoming a “barrier of machismo” to stand out in the jockey colony at Thistledown Race Track in Ohio, and also using her class at Mahoning Valley and Mountaineer.

This is Yarmarie Correa, who is 26 years of age – just two of which have been filled with a career as a professional jockey. History seems to be written in her favor, but not without carrying on her shoulders the pressure of prestige from the success of Panamanian compatriots who preceded her, including Laffit Pincay Jr., Braulio Baeza, and currently Ricardo Santana Jr.

Riding to win at Thistledown. (Jeffrey J. Zamaiko/Thistledown Photo)

When she did not enjoy the journey leading her to a career in banking and finances, she went to her uncle Erick Correa, who arranged for her to enter the jockey academy in her native Panama City. They required her to lose 25 pounds (11,500 kg), and develop strict discipline and perseverance, which she added to her already fierce way of facing challenges. The fruits of her hard work came to fruition quickly when she won her first race in her country with the mare Iviz, and the same with Miss International in the U.S.

Today, she is a candidate for the Eclipse Award for champion apprentice jockey, in this atypical year of coronavirus – a reality that has not affected her objective to continue winning races and intention to achieve one of her dreams: “Ride on the New York racing circuit.”

Not only is it like a mecca of the dance that is horse racing, but she would continue learning the dance. She confesses, with her characteristic honesty that lends to openly share what she is thinking, that she has not yet mastered said dance. But she has a devotion to building her strength through physical activity, from riding at the track to running outside and then going to the gym. And although her tastes point to “eating everything,” she sticks to a balanced diet with many salads to maintain her health and fitness.

For the moment, her homework is to take down the statistics for the second Thistledown meeting.

“I'm waiting for God's time to know where I'm going [from here]," she said.

Winner's circle. (Jeffrey J. Zamaiko/Thistledown Photo)

While her ascent has been dizzying, she understands that good things happen step by step, so she recommends the fixing the mind on goals. “If you have a dream, make it come true with effort, discipline, and courage. And if your world is horse racing, you almost need to have more than enough adrenaline,” she explains, perhaps with the fresh memory of a dramatic but harmless fall from a ride on Attuck, which created a scare along with another degree of experience.

She talks about the good interpersonal relationship with has with her colleagues, both women and men, despite the strength of their competitiveness and experiencing sexism from some trainers who do not put female jockeys on their horses, considering them the weaker sex.

“That's why I feel good when they praise me, because with my energy I can ride really hard. They like that,” she says, almost laughing. “They tell me I ride, urge, and whip like a man.”

She has gained the most confidence and dynamism from the horses she conducts. However, she prioritizes the good relationship that must exist between her agent, Carlos Pérez "who brought me here," the owners and trainers for obtaining good mounts.

Yarmarie does not have problems recognizing that in this period of growth and striving to be her best, she does not miss her country at all.

“I have dedicated myself to learning not only my profession, but also English. This is a very modernized country and I like it,” she says with supreme humility. And with assurance that this mentality won’t change:

"Learning does not change personality."

Flag football. (Jeffrey J. Zamaiko/Thistledown Photo)

The young Panamanian says that her greatest strength is patience, “because I place my horses in the right positions, I know when to urge them and call on them to run. This has been good for me,” she confesses. She does not hesitate to admit to ignorance about riding on the turf. But potentially due to her riding style, she could have a better performance there than on dirt.

When Yarmarie left her neighborhood in Pedregal and went with her father to see the races, she was not praised in the stables nor taking photos as a winning jockey. But look where her courageousness has taken her, on her way to greater standings.

Another one of her hobbies, according to her, is to run short distances because she feels that it helps her strength and bring out the speed of her mounts.

"That's why I prefer light tracks like this one at Thistledown.”

Regarding the potential for large profits that can come with success in horse racing, she states that "you have to know how to manage yourself, not to be at parties and drinking on weekends, because that can end all the dreams and any future in the sport."

While she left soccer and her studies, it appears as though there are many goals left for Yarmarie in horse racing. 

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