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Alex O. Solis

Alex Solis
Alex O. Solis
Induction Year: 
March 25, 1964, Panama City, Panama
Career Years: 
Number of Mounts: 
Number of Winners: 
Winning Percentage: 

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Alex Solis hit one milestone early in 2014 when he turned 50. In August 2014 —  as he was closing in on 5,000 career victories as a jockey — Solis celebrated his biggest career achievement when he was immortalized as a member of the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.


“I’ve worked very hard in my life and my goal was to be the best and make the most of my ability,” Solis said. “Getting into the Hall of Fame proves that you can achieve big things with hard work.”


A native of Panama, Solis has 4,991 career wins and purse earnings of more than $235 million through Aug. 1, 2014. He ranks ninth in the history of the sport in earnings and 29th in wins. Solis has won 633 stakes, 321 of which were graded, including 83 Grade 1s. He has also won 18 riding titles on the Southern California circuit.


Solis got his first taste of racetrack life when his father took him to Hipodromo Presidente Remon in Panama City in 1978.


“I had been around horses since I was about five years old, but I didn’t know about the sport because I grew up in the country,” Solis said. “My dad took me to the track and said I should be a jockey. I fell in love with the whole thing instantly … the horses, the jockeys, the competition of it all. I knew right away I wanted to be a rider.”


Solis enrolled in Panama’s jockey school at 15 and graduated in 1981. The following year he arrived in the United States, finished his apprenticeship and spent three years in south Florida. He became a top rider on the Gulfstream Park, Calder and Hialeah circuit before accepting an offer to ride in California.


The move to California in 1985 brought Solis to national prominence, especially when he began his association Snow Chief. Solis and Snow Chief won eight graded stakes together from 1985 through 1987, five of them Grade 1 races, including the 1986 Preakness.


“Alex is a great rider,” said fellow 2014 Hall of Fame inductee trainer Gary Jones said. “The thing I remember most about Alex is that he just never gave up. He would not give up on anything, he just kept riding. No matter what happened, he just kept riding. Alex is a tough son of a gun. He reminds me of the same toughness that Laffit [Pincay, Jr.] had; determination, guts, no fear.”


Along with Snow Chief, Solis considers Kona Gold to be one of his best mounts. With Kona Gold, Solis won 11 stakes, including his first of three Breeders’ Cup victories in the 2000 Sprint. Other top mounts for Solis have included 2004 Dubai World Cup winner Pleasantly Perfect, as well as multiple graded stakes winners Bertrando, Dahar and Live the Dream.


Voted the 1997 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award by his fellow riders and the first winner of the Bill Shoemaker Award as the top jockey of the Breeders’ Cup in 2003, Solis was aboard Dare and Go when he won the 1996 Pacific Classic to end Cigar’s streak of 16 consecutive victories. Solis also piloted Got Koko in the 2003 Lady’s Secret Breeders’ Cup Handicap when she snapped Azeri’s 11-race win streak.


“I’ve been very fortunate in my life and in my career,” Solis said. “It’s been a lot of fun and I’m still living my dream.”