Fernando Jara, one of the youngest thoroughbred horse jockeys to win a racing event, was born on December 18, 1987 in Herrera, Panama. At the young age of 18 years, Fernando Jara rode Jazil, at the Kentucky Derby, finishing fourth place overall and coming second place at the Wood Memorial. With the same horse he was able to win in the Belmont Stakes and finish the final leg of the Triple Crown. Fernando Jara made quite an impression on everyone who attended his first Breeders' Cup appearance when he finished 8th overall at the Juvenile Fillies on Bel Air Beauty and later he rode on the Argentinian-bred Invasor at the $5 million Classic and won.
Fernando Jara comes from a family of jockeys and trainers. His Grandfather, Hugo Jara, and uncles are all jockeys and his father, Jorge Jara, is a trainer by trade. His brother and sister did not follow this family trade. As Fernando Jara grew up he took part in all activities around the racetrack, anything that put him in close contact with the animals he loved so much. He left public school at the early age of 14 and attended jockey school where he won his first ever race at Hippodromo Presidente Remon on Soy Soberano Papa. From there on he was known as “Ice Boy” for his fearless riding skills.
Jara became well known for his riding capabilities at the age of 15 in Panama, before moving to the United States to continue his career as a jockey, when he made the U.S. jockey age limit. Now he takes up residence in Elmont, New York. In December 2006, Jara was ranked 16th on a national scale becoming the youngest rider in the top 20.
By the end of 2006 he had 869 starts, winning 86 of them with a total earnings of $8,698,729. In addition to Jazil, other top mounts that Jara has ridden in 2006 have included Invasor (G1 Whitney H, G1 Suburban H), Go Deputy (G2 Bowling Green H), Angara (G1 Diana H), Like Now (G3 Gotham, Fred “Cappy” Capossela), Bel Air Beauty (G2 Alcibiades), Win With a Wink (Joseph A. Gimma), Classic Pack (Cab Calloway) and Chief Officer (New York Breeders’ Futurity).