June 4, 2017
HOUSTON - Sue Allen Saldana stood close to her family at the Sam Houston Race Park as they looked toward the starting gate, preparing to cheer on her late stepdad’s horse, Por Amor.
The seconds that follow go by fast, but the memories are everlasting for Saldana.
“We don’t do it for the money, we do it for the family,” Saldana said.
The Victoria family’s passion for horse racing comes from honoring Saldana’s late stepdad, Rolando “Pocho” Prado, who was killed when a train hit his vehicle a month after he purchased his second horse, Por Amor.
“It brings us back to the memories we had with my dad; we can see him here walking and laughing,” Saldana said. “We keep it going because that’s what he loved doing.”
Prado purchased Por Amor with Saldana’s husband, John Saldana. Por Amor translates to “For love.”
The horse won his first race in Houston and keeps competing throughout Texas.
Angel Sanchez, 45, who trains Por Amor, has been working with horses for most of his life.
Sanchez said the trainers keep an eye on the horse 24 hours a day and takes him to the track three times a week.
John Saldana said he heard Sanchez was a good trainer and decided to reach out to him. The family was surprised when Sanchez agreed to train the horse because it is rare for a trainer to pick up another horse.
“I saw that he had a lot of potential, and he had a place in horse racing,” Sanchez said in Spanish.
Sue Allen Saldana described Prado as a person who had a big heart, made people laugh and was loved by everyone.
About 1,500 people attended his funeral.
Saldana’s family was taught a different way of living when Prado came into their lives, she said.
Wherever the family would go, whether it was a race or a social event, Prado would tell Saldana and her sisters to introduce themselves to people.
Saldana said her stepfather left the family with so many friends who told them stories and memories they had of Prado.
Saldana is glad her family keeps her stepfather’s passion for horse racing alive because remembering how Prado lived keeps her family strong.
“We saved each other. He didn’t have anyone, and we didn’t have anyone,” Saldana said. “He turned us into a family. Everything we are now is because of him.”