06/08/2011 4:44PM

Move to Louisiana pays off for Hamilton

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There is nothing like a little change of scenery to shake up one’s outlook on things. Just ask jockey Quincy Hamilton and his agent, Kevin Johnson.

A native of Texas, Hamilton has been a perennial top-five rider on the I-35 corridor circuit from his home state northward into Oklahoma. This summer, however, the 27-year-old has elected to shift his tack a couple hundred miles east to Louisiana Downs, and the results have been immediate. Through the first five weeks of the young season, Hamilton has booted home 15 winners, good enough for fourth in the standings behind Louisiana Downs veterans Don Simington and Richard Eramia and fellow newcomer Justin Shepherd.

“I just felt it was time to try something different,” Hamilton said. “I had tried Chicago in the summer a time or two and just didn’t see things going forward. I thought that we could start to build some business here this summer and maybe try the Fair Grounds this winter.”

Johnson and Hamilton first teamed up last fall at Remington and enjoyed a solid season there with a top-five finish in the standings. They then tied for the Sam Houston riding title over the winter before enjoying some success at both Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma and Lone Star Park near Dallas prior to Louisiana Downs’s opening early last month.

“There was some debate whether or not to stay at Lone Star,” Johnson said. “But in the end, Quincy just thought a change of pace would be a good thing.”

A significant amount of Hamilton’s success early in the season has come riding for Johnson’s father, longtime Louisiana Downs regular H.B. Johnson Jr. The older Johnson is off to one of his best starts ever, sending out five winners from just 11 starters thus far.

“It is always good to see Dad win a race, but when you are riding for him, it just makes it that much better,” Johnson said.

Hamilton is the son of longtime Midwest Quarter Horse rider John Hamilton. The younger Hamilton says there was never much doubt on which breed he would ply his trade.

“I’m a little lighter than my dad, which may have contributed somewhat, but I just always saw myself riding Thoroughbreds.”