Gustavo Ávila is a Venezuelan rider who made history in 1966. But Gustavo Ávila was already a consecrated rider for that time. For non-fans of horse racing, they may not know who the Venezuelan rider Gustavo Ávila is. Today we will try to get to know a little more about this rider who inscribed the name of Venezuela in the annals of world equestrian for the first time.
The Venezuelan Rider Gustavo Ávila has a great admirer, Gustavo Mirabal Castro, although by that time he had not even turned one year old. That’s how powerful was the achievement of this Venezuelan rider nicknamed “The Monster”.
He is currently active in his facet of celebrity and in his social networks, where we can find him on twitter in his account @gustavoavilacom.
This Venezuelan rider developed his career between 1954 and 1985, when he retired. Gustavo Ávila had a prolific career that has important podiums in Venezuela, the United States and the Caribbean.
This rider further awakened the Venezuelan passion for horse racing in 1966 when he conquered one of the most important races in the world, Kentucky Derby. This is how the eyes of the world fell on the Avila that would later continue to show signs of his talent.
Gustavo Ávila secured with the Kentucky Derby a place in the history of world equestrian. But more importantly, he earned a place in the hearts of Venezuela’s horse racing fans.
Today we will know a little more about his personal life, his career, and curiosities about his experience on the track. With nothing to add let’s get started.
The life of the rider Gustavo Ávila before the horses.
Gustavo Ávila was born in Caracas on June 14, 1938, specifically in El Conde, located in the center of Caracas. His father and mother welcomed him to the world in a small popular clinic called “Instituto Simón Rodríguez”. Years later the clinic was demolished to build one of the most iconic buildings in the Caracas landscape, the Parque Central urban complex.
This is how this Venezuelan rider knew the transformation of semi-rural Caracas into the modern Caracas we all know. The construction of the Parque Central urban complex began in 1970. This complex devastated what was left of the vestiges of that historic place where the rider was born and with the Caracas of yesteryear.
The Central Park Urban Complex was one of those icons that defined the Venezuela of the golden years, as was Gustavo Ávila.
His basic education took place between Pedro Mendoza Elementary School and Franklin Roosevelt School. He also completed two years of his secondary education in “Liceo Aplicación” (when primary education reached the 6th grade). The admiration of his schoolmates for fashionable riders made him set a goal to become a famous rider.
The pursuit of fame led him to discover his true passion and become one of the most famous Venezuelan riders. Let’s discover what Ávila’s first years as a rider.
The life of Gustavo Ávila after discovering horses.
Gustavo Ávila noted the admiration for the Venezuelan riders of his fellow students. This encouraged him to want to become a rider. For this he began to look for ways to learn to ride a horse.
In those years the National Hippodrome of El Paraíso, inaugurated in 1.908, had a great equestrian tradition as well as a school for riders. Gustavo Ávila wanted to learn from the best and enrolled in the school of the National Hippodrome of El Paraíso. At that time the famous Ricardo Ramírez was Director of the National Hippodrome of El Paraíso who stimulated young riders to learn.
Gustavo Ávila learned the art of horseback riding on the back of a beautiful gray Argentine pony. However, it was still a long way from him becoming an experienced rider. After learning on horseback, he kept riding ponies and avoided thoroughbred horses. The Venezuelan rider confessed in an interview that thoroughbreds in his early days made him nervous. Thoroughbred horses have a lot of energy and strength. That’s how some time passed when he left his nerves and was given a thoroughbred horse to be able to demonstrate his potential.
Gustavo Ávila’s first race.
His debut as a professional rider was made in August of ’53, at the National Hippodrome of El Paraíso, the same where he learned to ride. In his first race he came in fifth position on the back of the mare “La Venus”. Of his first career, Gustavo Ávila keeps vivid memories, and, in this regard, he told the following:
“It was a race for newbies. I will never forget that day, first I could not find the stirrups and then the whip fell on me at the exit. He was very nervous and trembling. I finished in fifth place and felt like it had been endless. I found the tour very long. It was an ordeal for me and for Justo Torres, who was making his debut in that race as well.”
For the Venezuelan rider Gustavo Ávila, they are unforgettable memories and part of the history of Venezuelan equestrian. In that race the mare Sonia was the winner with her rider G. Blanco. But soon Avila would prove what he was made of.
Gustavo Ávila’s first victory.
A little less than a year after his debut, Gustavo Ávila achieved his first victory at the same National Hippodrome of El Paraíso. Ávila together with the exemplary Solis gave a lesson on how to win a race. Another of those unforgettable moments that will go down in history. Ávila had an excellent start, placing in third place and then going back. Recalling those moments, the Venezuelan rider Gustavo Ávila said:
“I had already adapted to racing. Unlike my first race, this time I felt calm in the starting box. When they opened the door, I shot out, put myself in third place, and then put myself in second place. When we reached the final stretch, I took the first place to continue until the end. It was my moment. As my mom said, ‘if she succeeded, things would change’, and so it was.”
The Venezuelan rider Gustavo Ávila has left his mark on his time in the world equestrian. This article is a well-deserved tribute to his career and work.