‘Dancing with the Stars 21’ spotlight: Will Victor Espinoza, Karina Smirnoff race to the finish line?

Victor -Victor Espinoza is one of those people perfectly-timed to appear on “Dancing with the Stars.” We’ll be honest in saying that we’d never heard of him before the cast announcement, but we don’t really follow horse racing. At least those who do will know who he is, and he is coming on at a point where his pop-culture relevance has never been higher next to the Triple Crown.

We think that Victor could end up being a fun entry to the show this fall, and that’s why we are especially thrilled to be diving into some of his chances to win the entire season below.

Name – Victor Espinoza

Age – 43

Claim to fame – Jockey, known for riding American Pharoah on his way to the first Triple Crown in decades. He’s got a very interesting background, coming to American in the early 1990’s and taking odd jobs in Mexico to make his dream a reality. He’s a charitable man, and even before American Pharoah he came close to winning the Triple Crown with California Chrome, making him one of the most successful jockeys in recent memory.

Partner – Karina Smirnoff. She’s back! Karina was only gone for a season, but he has been a part of 16 of them prior to this one after starting in season 3. She has taken part in more seasons than any other female pro on this season, and she’s worked with a variety of people in the sporting world. She’s also three inches taller than Victor, and that is without heels, making this one of the more mismatched pairings this time.

Strengths – Victor is in good shape, and given his background we imagine that he is used to putting in long hours to make his dreams into a reality. We also don’t know if this is really the thick of horse-racing season, so he may not have too many other distractions going on while he is doing this.

Weaknesses – Other than fans of the sport, we could imagine that few people will know who he is. He’s going to need to make some fast friends this season among the voting public to have a real shot at winning the whole thing, and that means having a big personality and endearing yourself to the public. This is the road (or the racetrack?) less traveled for him.

Prediction – We like Victor’s story and it would be great to see him around for a little while. Right now, we’d say that he is destined to be one of those middle-of-the-pack performers who doesn’t make the finale, but at least stays for a while and has a good experience.

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