High school and horses - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

High school and horses

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DEL MAR (CBS 8) - This season at Del Mar, some jockeys arrived with glitz and glam and others with hall of fame credentials. Then there's Eswan Flores, the senior. No, not the senior citizen -- the senior in high school.

"I'm taking a class right now so I can graduate faster," Eswan said.

And even though Eswan is the youngest rider at Del Mar, he's no newcomer to the racetrack.

"When I was about eight years old, I started coming to the track," he said.

By age 17, he was riding professionally. But this summer, the apprentice is learning his lessons in the saddle, aboard 1,500-pound thoroughbreds.

"It's way different, the rhythm. You have to have a lot of patience," he said.

And a lot of stamina. Eswan's day begins at 5 a.m., 9 hours before Del Mar's first race.

"Work horses in the morning and after that go home, take a shower, get ready, go back to the jocks' room and continue my day from there," he said.

Eswan Flores is a fast learner. On Aug. 6 in the ninth race he took a perfectly timed rail trip ride aboard Fleet Continental.

"It's not just let them go. You gotta wait. And that moment of waiting, your heart's beating. You can feel your heart beating and once you go you're like 'Yeah man, I got it,'" Eswan said.

After Del Mar, he will head back to high school in El Monte, but this teen jockey has already earned a degree in confidence.

"Working, learning, every day," he said.

In the continuing education of Eswan Flores, there are no days off. Just long hours of hard work and a dream.

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