"The jockey and his agent? They are each others right and left hand."
That assessment was offered today by one of thoroughbred racing's most successful handlers of riding talent, 56-year old Camilo Marin, who is currently booking engagements at Hollywood Park for veteran Eddie Belmonte.
Champions are no strangers to Camilo, who has handled Manuel Ycaza, Braulio Baeza, Laffit Pincay and Alvaro Pineda.
"Bill Shoemaker and Harry Silbert are a perfect example of a stong jockey-agent relationship," explains Marin. "They've been together for 20 some years as a team. You can't quarrel with their success. They depend heavily on each other."
"It's much like Hollywood with an actor and his agent. The agent tries to obtain the best parts for his actor while we attempt to find the best horse for our rider."
Marin, a native of Cuba , is one of the most popular agents in the business. His warm "hello" and his infectious smile have been his trademark for years.
"I'm up at six every morning and at the track by six-thirty," explains Marin "I spend the morning in the stable area making my rounds and, in the afternoon, I guess you could say I socialize. I try to keep in touch with as many owners and trainers as possible."
Camilo says he has no particular secrets in his search for a 'live' mount for his rider.
"Like everyone else, you have to rely heavily on past performances," he explains. "But I keep notes on evey race. It's part of the job. You also have to know the condition book. When you find a horse that has run well in one class,you try to talk the trainer into coming back against the same kind of horse and ride your boy"
"So far I have been fortunate. I've had just about every top rider in America and won just about every major stakes. I have no complaints."
Marin and Belmonte began their relationship last winter, midway through the Santa Ania meeting.
"Eddie had a lot of tough luck at Santa Anita with spills and all, but he's really come back to himself of late. He's up on horses every morning and it's showing in the afternoon. He's one of the top five riders in America today."
Camilo indicates that Belmonte will ride the entre Hollywood Park meeting, and if all goes well, we'll try Del Mar for the first time this summer."
Marin was introduced to racing in his native Cuba at the age of 16.
"I didn't have much choice," he recalls."I lived less than a block away from Oriental Park in Havana so that's the first place I looked for a job."
Camilo began as an exercise rider but soon ate his way out of work. He spent several years as a groom, and finally signed on as the agent for Fernando Fernandez.
"Fernando was one of the best ever to ride a horse," Marin praises. He was the leading rider in Mexico for several years and won championships on the New England and New Jersey circuits many times."
The Marin-Fernandez association began in 1935 and continued until Fernando retired in 1953. The pair shuttled back and forth between Cuba and the states until 1947 when, according to Camilo, 'the U.S. became our home."
It was Marin who handled Ycaza during the Panamanian's tempermental early days and the same Marin who helped mold Baeza, Pincay and Pineda into top-flight riders.
Of all his thrills in 40 years in racing, Camilo best remembers the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes of 1963.
"That was one of my last years with Baeza and we won the Derby with Chateaugay and came back to take the Belmont. I stll have the winners' circle pcture at home, showing me shaking hands with President Eisenhower."
Marin harbors a deep and emotional feeling for the United States."This is the best country in the world and as far as I'm concerned, the only country," says Marin proudly. "I have most of my relatives over here now, but I'm still trying to get the rest out of Cuba. Theres a lot of red-tape involved, but I'll make it."
As race trackers would say, Camilo is 1-5 to get the job done.
The Register, May 3, 1973