BALTIMORE (WJZ) — “I’ve wanted to be a jockey since I was born, its something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Charlie Marquez.

Born and raised in Columbia, Maryland, some of Marquez’s first memories are of the Pimlico Race Course. He would come to work with his mother, a vet technician at the track, and watch the jockeys race.

READ MORE: ‘I’m Terrified’ At Least 20 People Shot This Week In Baltimore; Police Identify Victim of Deadly Mass Shooting

Now, at 18-year-old, he’s one of the youngest jockeys in America.

“It’s just crazy that now I’m doing it, you know what I mean?” he said. “I’m riding and people are watching me like I used to watch them.”

It’s been a long journey for him and his family.

Last year, during a race in New York, he was thrown off a horse and broke his wrist.

READ MORE: 12-Year-Old Girl Hospitalized After Baltimore Hit & Run

Unable to race, Marquez decided to come back home.

“Maryland, you know, my home…there’s nothing like it,” he said.

Now, fully recovered, he’s back on the track.

But this is Marquez’s first time as a professional jockey at Pimlico. He said he’s not only excited but grateful to have his biggest cheerleader by his side, his mother.

MORE NEWS: America To Observe Juneteenth For The First Time As A Federal Holiday

“I’m riding and I yell, ‘Mom, I love you,’ and she said that she’s in my heart at all times,” he said.

Annie Rose Ramos