Playing the Jockey Angle in the Kentucky Derby

Playing the Jockey Angle in the Kentucky Derby

Category : News - Fri 06/05/2016 - 14:31 EDT

Of the 20 riders with entries in the 2016 Kentucky Derby, seven have got their horses to the wire first, some several times.

Just as it's said there are "horses for courses" in racing, it can also be said there are certain jockeys who thrive on the world's biggest stages of horse racing, including the Kentucky Derby. To win the Derby is the dream of every rider who ever sits on a horse, and some in this year's field have proven very successful at it. It takes great horse sense and the ability to sort out tactics on the fly to win at Churchill on the first Saturday in May. So if you like to handicap the jocks as well as the horses, here are the favorites.

Three Kentucky Derby jockeys have multiple wins

Leading the group this year is Victor Espinoza, who has been on a Derby roll not seen for years. He first won the Derby in 2002 on War Emblem, and has won the last two years on California Chrome and American Pharoah. A win this year on 20-1 Whitmore will make him the first jock to ever win three Derbys in a row. Also with three previous wins are Kent Desormeaux (Real Quite '98, Fussaichi Pegasus '00, Big Brown '08). This year he's on 8-1 Exaggerator and with brother Keith will try to become the first jockey-trainer brother combo to win. The wily veteran in the field is Gary Stevens, who first won the Derby in 1988 aboard Winning Colors. He also won in '95 on Thunder Gulch and '97 on Silver Charm. He's on 12-1 Mor Spirit.

Four others will be looking for their second win

Four other jockeys in the field have a single Derby win, the most recent of those being Joel Rosario who captured the roses on favored Orb in 2013, this year he has the mount on 20-1 Shagaf. The year previous, Mario Gutierrez guided longshot I'll Have Another to the winner's circle, this year he'll try to do it again on 3-1 favorite Nyquist. In 2011 John Velazquez picked up his first Derby win on Animal Kingdom, for 2016 his mount is 15-1 Outwork. And though it is hard to believe given his outstanding Hall of Fame career, Mike Smith only has one Kentucky Derby win to his name, that coming on Giacomo back in 2005. He'll try to get his second on 15-1 speedster Danzing Candy.  

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