When it comes to making sure a horse is ready for race day at Gulfstream Park, Andres Cortes is one of the best grooms to call on. He applies his trade for the Victor Barboza, Jr. barn supporting five to six horses.
“It’s important for me to know everything about the horses in my stable, right down to the smallest detail. My job is to create the most effective training program for each horse, and the grooms play a critical part in this. They practically spend 24/7 with their horses. A good groom will help me understand each horse’s characteristics, this way, I can get 100% out of them come race day,” said trainer and Venezuelan native Victor Barboza, Jr.
Andres Cortes was born in Mexico and has worked as a groom for 30 years.
“I started my career in the New York circuit. I’ve been working for Victor for the past two years here at Gulfstream,” said Cortes.
His strong background really comes in handy when working with more challenging horses. He has great instincts and really understands what’s going on with them.
“’I’m really committed to my job, I love it. I especially thrive on the competition. Winning never gets old,” Cortes said with a smile.
With 28 graded stakes wins in his native Venezuela, Barboza is no stranger to top competition.
“Andres was the first groom I worked with here in the United States, when the door was opened for me to come to Gulfstream by the Stronach Group. I could tell right away that he was a very good groom. He’s an excellent worker, with a great eye, and it’s not just about getting the horses ready for race day. It’s obvious that he has a passion for what he is doing. And the horses really take to him, making them relaxed and content, and that’s really important,” said Barboza.
No matter what type of races we are running, stakes or claiming races, I want my stable to be associated with the word success. Andres plays a key part, he has 5 to 6 horses in his care throughout the year, and he always has them ready to run their best.”
In 422 races here in the United States, the Barboza Jr. stable is consistently winning at an impressive 18% clip.
“It’s all about collaboration. I try my best to help motivate my fellow grooms in the barn. I watch what they are doing and whenever possible I will let them know when they can do something a better way,” said Cortes. “I’m really honored to win the ‘Groom of the Month’ and I want to thank the FHBPA for this recognition, and I want to thank Victor for being a great boss. Winning is always a great motivator.”