Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., who made his Kentucky Derby debut last year, is in an enviable position as this year’s Derby approaches. Hernandez, 31, is the rider for two serious contenders – McCraken for trainer Ian Wilkes and Girvin for trainer Joe Sharp. McCraken, undefeated in four starts, won the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in his last race and is headed to the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 8. Girvin, who has won two of three races, is coming off a victory in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds and will run...Read More
Riding the claimer Vivacious V.V. to victory in the first race January 22 at Fair Grounds, 43-year-old Louisiana native Robby Albarado became the 33rd North American-based jockey to win 5,000 races. The day before, Albarado won the Grade 3 Lecomte on Guest Suite. As usual, Albarado, who has won seven Fair Grounds riding titles, is having a productive meet at the New Orleans track. On Friday morning, he reflected on his career in a question-and-answer session with award-winning turf writer Bob Fortus. Q: “So what about it, 5,000 wins?” A: “When you start out, you never feel like you’re...Read More
Norberto Arroyo Jr., Florent Geroux and Flavien Prat are the recipients of the second annual JockeyTalk360 Awards. The talented trio will be honored Tuesday at the awards luncheon during the Jockeys’ Guild Assembly Dec. 12-13 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand. JockeyTalk360.com inaugurated the awards last year with its Comeback Jockey and Breakthrough Jockey, the latter renamed for 2016 after starting out as Most Improved Jockey. New this year is the Turf Jockey award to honor superlative riders on grass. The awards recognize outstanding performers who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization representing more than 950 riders in North America. A panel of representatives from America’s Best Racing, The Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Horse Racing Nation, The Jockeys’ Guild, The Paulick Report, The Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America determined the winners. Breakthrough Jockey: Flavien Prat Flavien Prat joined the ranks of racing’s elite riders with 165 wins — seven in Grade I races — and more than $12.8 million in purses through Dec. 8 during a season that included his first Breeders’ Cup victory aboard Obviously in the Turf Sprint. The French-born Prat shattered his big 2015 season, when his 85 wins and $5.2 million in purses stamped him as a jockey to watch. Prat’s 14 graded-stakes victories included Grade I scores aboard Lord Nelson...Read More
‘The characters in this story have been hanging around for many years at a racetrack in my head’ John Perrotta’s latest horse racing-themed book, Half a Chance, is now on sale through JockeyTalk360.com, the go-to website for all things related to jockeys. Perrotta is American turf’s Renaissance man. In more than 50 years in the industry, he has been a hotwalker, jockey agent, owner, breeder, racing manager of champions and blood-stock agent. That hands-on and varied racetrack experience led Perrotta to becoming the technical advisor, writer and executive story editor of the acclaimed HBO series LUCK, a novelist and founder of the Thoroughbred Racing Radio Network that became the popular weekday show At the Races with Steve Byk. He also is a handicapping-tournament player who qualified for the National Handicapping Championship in 2014. Half a Chance, about a down-on-his luck jockey agent who finds himself entangled in a web of deceit and larceny, follows Perrotta’s racing memoir Racetracker: Life with Grifters and Gamblers and his novel If Wishes Were Horses. “The characters in this story have been hanging around for many years at a racetrack in my head, and I hope my readers have as much fun getting to know them as I did creating them,” Perrotta said. “Some are kind, some are sweet, and some are downright evil. But they’re all racetrackers, and I love them all.” Half a Chance can be purchased at http://jockeytalk360.com/shop/half-chance-john-perrotta-paperback/ for $14.99, plus $5.95...Read More
Each week, jockey Javier Castellano, who won the last three Eclipse Awards for being North America’s most outstanding jockey, is sharing a Saratoga Blog. This is the last of seven installments, with the questions coming from turf writer Bob Fortus. Bob Fortus: You’ve won 11 stakes (through Wednesday), more than any other jockey, you have the lead in money won, and you’re five wins off the lead in victories, so all in all, it’s been a pretty good meet. What are your thoughts on that? Javier Castellano: “Absolutely. It’s a great meet. I’m very pleased. I’ve very thankful. Everything...Read More
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