Just like the horses they ride on, each Kentucky Derby jockey will bring their own individual skill sets to the 140th Run for the Roses this Saturday.
While the world’s most prestigious horse race often focuses on the horses, and rightfully so to a certain extent, the fact of the matter is that a gifted jockey can either give themselves a greater chance of winning or decrease their chances significantly, depending on which techniques they may or may not utilize and when.
Make no mistake about it…if you’re planning on betting on the 2014 Kentucky Derby, then knowing what each jockey brings to the table can only help you make the most out of your derby betting bucks.
Having said that, this brief look at some of the key jockeys in Saturday’s big race will help you increase your chances of actually cashing in on all of your Derby bets.
Top Kentucky Derby Jockeys
Jockey Victor Espinoza will be riding California Chrome in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
Espinoza will ride the favored California Chrome and he has had some success in big races, though not much very recently. Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes atop talented War Emblem in 2002 – but he has gone ‘Ofa’ in Triple Crown races ever since while finishing outside the top 20 jockeys in earnings five times in the last half-dozen years.
Jockey Calvin Borel will be riding Ride On Curlin in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
Borel is a Hall of Famer that has won the Kentucky Derby three times and will mount Ride On Curlin. This horse isn’t favored, but is the son of Curlin, the third place finisher in 2007. Borel is experienced and Ride On Curlin finished second in his last race, so things could get interesting with this thoroughbred.
Calvin Borel’s Kentucky Derby Wins
- 2007 Street Sense (7 post)
- 2009 Mine That Bird (8 post)
- 2010 Super Saver (4 post)
Jockey Joel Rosario will be riding General A-Rod in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
Rosario won the 2013 Kentucky Derby atop Orb and will look to become the first back-to-back winner since Borel pulled off the feat in 2010.
Jockey Luis Saez will be riding Wildcat Red in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
Saez will make just his second Kentucky Derby start, but the young Panamanian is ranked eighth in earning right now and has recorded 64 wins and 66 second place finishes in 394 starts this year. Call me crazy, but Wildcat Red is my pick to win it all this year.
Jockey Jose Ortiz will be riding Samraat in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
One half of the Ortiz brothers has a real shot to win the Derby outright if you ask me. The only thing going against 20-year-old Jose Ortiz is inexperience as he makes his first Kentucky Derby start. Then again, you have to start somewhere don’t you? As an aside, Ortiz’ older brother, 21-year-old Irad Ortiz Jr., will ride Uncle Sigh.
Jockey R. Napravnik wil be riding Vicar’s In Trouble in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
The only female jockey in this year’s race, Rosie Napravnik is also the only female jockey to ever win the Kentucky Oaks (Believe You Can, 2012). She also became just the sixth woman to ride in the Derby when she mounted Pants On Fire in 2011.
Jockey Joe Bravo will be riding Danza in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
Veteran jockey Joe Bravo may be among the winningest jockeys of his generation, but he doesn’t have a Triple Crown win on his résumé. However, Bravo rode Danza to a win in his last race at the Arkansas derby G-1 on April 12. Could this be the year Bravo breaks through?
Jockey Rajiv Maragh will be riding Wicked Strong in the 2014 Kentucky Derby
The 28-year-old Maragh hasn’t won a Triple Crown race – yet, but he’s been a top-20 jockey for the last five years and is about due to find the winner’s circle at some point of what has been a very solid career if you know what I mean.
Kentucky Derby Trivia
Can you name the only female jockey to ever win a Triple Crown race?
Julie Krone on Colonial Affair in the 1993 Belmont Stakes.
There are four jockeys in Saturday’s running with one Kentucky Derby win apiece. Espinoza, Mike Smith, John Velazquez and Rosario.
Smith and Velazquez are Hall of Fame inductees with Smith riding Giacomo to a 50-1 triumph in 2005 and Velazquez guiding Animal Kingdom to a 20-1 pay day back in 2011.
Nine of the 20 jockeys that will ride in the 2014 Kentucky Derby jockeys have made previous appearances without finding their way to the winner’s circle. Here is a look at each jockey and their appearances in parentheses.
- Luis Saez (1)
- Joe Bravo (2)
- Rosie Napravnik (2)
- Corey Nakatani (16)
- Robby Albarado (13)
Corey Nakatani owns the unwanted record for the most Derby rides without a win.
Another five jockeys will make their first Derby appearances ever.
- Corey Lanerie
- Joe Rocco Jr.
- Ricardo Santana Jr.
- Brothers Jose Ortiz and Irad Ortiz Jr.
|1||Vicar’s In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||25-1|
|2||Harry’s Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||50-1|
|3||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||35-1|
|4||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||8-1|
|5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||21-10|
|6||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||16-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||33-1|
|8||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||18-1|
|9||Vinceremos||Joe Rocco Jr.||Todd Pletcher||50-1|
|10||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||18-1|
|11||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||14-1|
|12||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||22-1|
|13||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||22-1|
|14||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||20-1|
|15||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||12-1|
|16||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||33-1|
|17||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||18-1|
|18||Ride on Curlin||Calvin Borel||William G. Gowan||18-1|
|19||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||James A. Jerkens||8-1|
|SCRATCHED||Pablo Del Monte|
If 20 horses start, the Derby purse will gross $2,202,800, with $1,442,800 to the winner. NBC expects the horses to break from the gate at 6:32 p.m. ET.
Kentucky Derby Facts
Did You Know that each of the last three winners of the Kentucky Derby were from Latin America ?
Now, can you name them…without peeking at the answer first?
Last Three Kentucky Derby Winners
- Joel Rosario (Dominican Republic, 2013)
- Mario Gutierrez (Mexico, 2012)
- John Velasquez (Puerto Rico, 2011)