By Kristin Bechthold
Leandro Goncalves is a new jockey to Canterbury Park this year. Prior to Canterbury, he raced at Churchill Downs and Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky and Indiana Downs in Indiana. He spends the winter at Gulfstream Park and calls Florida home.
As a boy, Goncalves made his start riding horses at the age of nine. He learned how to ride by riding quarter horses on a farm where his father worked. As of this year, he has been racing quarter horses for 22 years and thoroughbreds for 16 years. He has been fortunate enough to never break a bone in all his years of racing.
Goncalves claims that he is more fun than meets the eye. Outside of his career of horse racing, he has a wide variety of hobbies which include: fishing, jet-skiing, go-karting, and bowling. He considers adrenaline-related activities to be his favorite. Being an avid soccer player in his past, his dream job is to be a professional soccer player. If he had time off from horse racing, he would like to travel to Italy, Germany, and go fishing in the jungle in Brazil.
No doubt one of the most important aspects of Goncalves’ life is his son, Guylherme, who lives in Brazil and turns thirteen years old in June. “He likes horses, but he’s more into soccer,” Goncalves said. “He’s seen me ride and has it in his head that he wants to be like me, but I’m keeping him away from horses as long as I can. I don’t want him to have to travel around all over the place like I do.” Guylherme has plans to come to Minnesota to visit and watch his father ride for a few weeks in July of this summer.
Goncalves’ goals for the future consist of watching his son grow up and achieve his own goals, such as graduating high school and college. “That’s pretty much all there is,” Goncalves said. “Otherwise I just live day by day.”