Eurico Rosa de Silva is a Brazilian native who is best known for his outstanding career as a jockey in Canada where he won two Queen’s Plates and was the leading rider at Woodbine for seven seasons, including five consecutive years until his retirement in 2019. He is now a life coach for several professional athletes. There were many diverse roads and obstacles this talented reinsman took to the eventual successes of his career and they are revealed in his recently published book – “RIDING FOR FREEDOM.” Born on a dairy farm in rural Brazil, Da Silva determined at an early age that he would become a champion jockey. This is the story of Da Silva’s battle with his demons. While it describes his ascent to the highest ranks of his athletic profession, it also lays bare his struggle to heal the emotional scars inflicted by an absent and negligent father and his victory over the forces that threatened at time to end his life. Fourth of July weekend will be sparkling with competitive action from sea to shining sea and plenty of reasons to pull down the E-Z Win Forms at Winningponies. The picnic starts on Friday in Altoona, Iowa at Prairie Meadows where they will fire off three rich stakes races – the G3 $225,000 Iowa Oaks; $250,000 Iowa Derby and the continuance of the G3, $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap, a race that has attracted Knicks Go. Participating in the evening fireworks will be the likes of jockeys Florent Geroux, Jose Ortiz, Joel Rosario, Ricardo Santana, Junior Alvarado and trainers Brad Cox, Steve Asmussen, Bill Mott and Mike Maker to name a few. John Hernandez will join our “Regular Guy” to give us the best bets from central Iowa. John Hernandez has been in and around horse racing for almost 40 years now. The late, great West Coast publicist Nat Wess hired him for his first job in the business for the inaugural Fall-Winter meeting at Hollywood Park in 1981. He was the “press box steward” and for $50 bucks a day, he was rubbing elbows with the likes of Gordon Jones, Ernie Mason, Harry Henson, Joe Hirsch, and many others while watching some great races there. He also worked for Trackmaster in the early days of their business in the 1990s, traveling the Eastern seaboard doing on-track seminars for their hand-held telephone modem device that was sort of like “the next gen Mattel Horse Racing Analyzer.” John has been with Prairie Meadows for over a decade, where he serves as the track handicapper and television commentator.