Joaquin Jaime: Fresno Fair to On The Air

It was just another scorching Summer day in Fresno, California— a city known for, not only its Bulldog pride, but its sweltering valley heat which seemed all but inescapable in early July. A swimming pool and an air conditioned home were considered a necessity this time of year, and if your family didn’t have either, then you were likely spending afternoons with a neighbor who did.

On this particular day, in one particular home, there sat a young boy— no more than five.  A weathered leather whip in hand, eyes glued to a television splotchy with static characteristic of a VHS he had likely rewound and replayed more times than he had fingers to count. He inched toward the edge of the russet brown couch on which his family spent their movie nights, squinting his deep-dark eyes to further make out the flash of rich chestnut streaking across his TV screen — inching closer; closer still, to a looming finish line. This was not the typical entertainment of a young boy in the midst of a California Summer, but to be fair, Joaquin Jaime was no ordinary boy.

Having visited the Fresno Fair’s horse racing track before his first birthday, Joaquin’s parents recognized a genuine fascination with horses, deeply rooted in their son before he’d ever spoken a word aloud. The warm air was permeated by a cocktail of powdered funnel cakes, freshly printed racing forms, and the cigar smoke that is a welcomed tradition at the rail of every racetrack, everywhere. Not quite a baby, not quite a tot, young Joaquin would forego his nap that day. He would instead, remain glued to every move made by the Thoroughbreds before him.

It was a fascination which would prove quite useful for his young parents, who began recording the races for their son; it turned out, the terrible twos were slightly less terrible, when horse racing was on TV. That same fascination would continue to grow with Joaquin, as he navigated the world of adolescence and beyond— a horse racing calendar on one wall of his room—an Alysheba poster on the other.

Though horses were in his heart, so too, were both soccer and baseball. The boy whose childhood was dotted with the memories of Summers at the fair and the occasional family trip to Golden Gate Fields, would grow to become a multitalented State Champion athlete, mirroring the same power and competitiveness he so admired in the horses which began his love affair with sports, long before he kicked around a ball.

Joaquin at Saint Mary’s College of California.

He would go on to receive a Division 1 soccer scholarship to Saint Mary’s College of California, with every intention of competing at the highest level. While attending college, Joaquin worked as an intern for the Oakland A’s, and for a time, felt that his future may lie within the A’s franchise. It wasn’t until the Communications Major’s senior year at Saint Mary’s that he realized, and acknowledged what his truest passion was…

And so the boy from Fresno returned to the thing he loved most— the horses, and the sport, which never left him.

Merely months after graduation, Joaquin landed a coveted position with TVG, the most recognized horse racing television network in America— researching horses and race records, assisting talent and helping to add to show content. He would remain a behind-the-scenes helping hand to his colleagues for nearly 6 years, before realizing there was more he desired to do. The lifelong racing enthusiast couldn’t help but wonder whether his place was not behind-the-scenes at all, but rather in front of the camera.

He would begin hosting weeknight shows and segments, never turning down an opportunity to further develop his skill set and comfortability on-screen. Possessing knowledge which can only spawn from a lifelong love of racing, Joaquin quickly took to his new role at TVG. His weeknight hosting jobs have transitioned to prime-time stakes coverage, as well as spending summers reporting from the most historic racetrack in the country— Saratoga.

Joaquin interviewing Jose Ortiz. Photo by Francesca LeDonne (NYRA)

His adventurous personality welcomes any and all opportunities which come his way, and the Fresno-native hopes that covering a Triple Crown race, as well as an international event, loom somewhere on the horizon. For now, Joaquin isn’t getting ahead of himself; he’s quite humbled by where his career has taken him thus far, while keeping his aspirations in sight— never forgetting his earliest days as nothing more than a jubilant fan.

He wraps up an early-evening show, before exiting the studio and making his way to the place he now calls home— a house just a short walk from the beach surely bears a stark contrast to his childhood spent in a city where the closest thing to rolling waves was a doughboy pool within a fenced yard. Still, Northern California remains in his heart where his family resides— where he fell in love with horse racing for the very first time, one Summer long ago.

It’s just another day in Fresno, California— a city known for its Bulldog pride, and in the middle months, its sweltering valley heat. On this particular day, in one particular home, there sits a young boy— no more than five. A weathered leather whip in hand, he reaches for the remote on the end table, and searches the DVR for a recording he has likely rewound and replayed more times than he has fingers to count. He inches toward the edge of the deep navy couch on which his family spends their movie nights, squinting his bright blue eyes at the blaring TV screen— studying every word the man before him, Joaquin Jaime, has to say about a horse. He mimics the motions, he memorizes the strategies— all the while hoping to one day follow in his footsteps.

These are not the typical aspirations of a young boy. But to be fair, he is no ordinary boy, and Joaquin is no ordinary man.

Article written by Nicole Schiveley

Chief Creative Officer

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