Who Is Victor Espinoza, Karina Smirnoff’s Partner On ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Season 21?

Victor Espinoza has joined Season 21 of Dancing with the Stars, and he’ll be hitting the dance floor with veteran professional Karina Smirnoff. Many DWTS fans may be a bit unfamiliar with Espinoza, but he’s sure to make a big impression this fall. What do viewers need to know about this new contestant?

As America’s Best Racing details, Victor Espinoza is a jockey who has made a big impact on the sport. He is the first jockey in almost four decades to win the Triple Crown, pushing American Pharoah to victory this year in the Belmont Stakes, Preakness, and Kentucky Derby. This was his third bid for the Triple Crown.

CBS Boston details that Espinoza, 43, is originally from Mexico, where he grew up in a large family with 11 siblings. Victor is the second-youngest of the group, and he has a brother Jose who has become a jockey too. The family lived on a dairy farm in Tulancingo while he was young and that’s where he first started to ride horses.

This new Dancing with the Stars contestant has been a jockey for 20 years, and he’s been in more than 21,000 races. He’s reportedly earned about $177 million during his career, having won more than 3,200 professional races.

The Los Angeles Times notes that Espinoza says he’s made a habit of donating 10 percent of his earnings for the past decade or so to the City of Hope Cancer Research Hospital. In fact, Espinoza reportedly donated his full Belmont winnings to the City of Hope.

As for his personal life, Espinoza has never married and has no children. It seems there’s been some buzz about his love life here and there, with more than one young beauty being photographed with him out and about. However, he keeps details about his love life fairly private from the looks of things.

Espinoza is dancing with Karina Smirnoff in Season 21 of Dancing with the Stars. As DWTS fans know, Karina has been on the show throughout much of its run. She took a break for Season 20 last spring, but Smirnoff decided to come back to give the show another whirl this fall.

How will the five-foot-two-inch jockey do dancing this fall with Karnia Smirnoff alongside other Season 21 DWTS celebrities like Bindi Irwin, Nick Carter, Alek Skarlatos and Gary Busey? Fans can’t wait to find out when the new season of Dancing with the Stars premieres on Monday, September 14.

[Photo by Elsa/Getty Images]