Carpe Diem - The Toyota Bluegrass Gr I - 91st Running - 04-04-15 - R10 - KEE - Inside TightJockeying for position begins, of course, long before the doors of the starting gate open. And John Velazquez has taken his position for the Kentucky Derby: He’ll be on Carpe Diem, as expected, rather than Materiality. And with that, several assignments have become clear as the Derby approaches. Javier Castellano will ride Materiality, and Mike Smith will stay with Far Right. And three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel has a mount, replacing C. C. Lopez on El Kabeir. A few assignments, though, and a few horses for the Derby still remain uncertain.

And with all this settling, Victor Espinoza moves to the top of the jockeys’ board. He, of course, has the mount on Arkansas Derby winner American Pharoah. The jockeys’ points are based on the horses’ rankings, with Espinoza, the rider of the No. 1 horse, getting 25  points, followed by Martin Garcia, the rider of No. 2 Dortmund, with 24 points; Joel Rosario, the rider of No. 3 Frosted, at 23 points, etc.

Jockeys leading the way on the road to the Kentucky Derby:

  1. Victor Espinoza (25)
  2. Martin Garcia (24)
  3. Joel Rosario (23)
  4. John Velazquez (22)
  5. Javier Castellano (21)
  6. Gary Stevens (20)
  7. Miguel Mena (19)
  8. Open mounts (8 + 6 + 3 + 2 = 19)
  9. L. Ortiz (18)
  10. Julien Leparoux (17)
  11. Christophe Soumillon (16)
  12. Mike Smith (15)
  13. Luis Saez (14)
  14. Calvin Borel (13)
  15. Manny Franco (12)
  16. Joe Talamo (11)
  17. Rafael Bejarano (10)
  18. Ramon Vazquez (9)
  19. Florent Geroux (8)
  20. James Graham (5)
  21. Ricardo Santana (4)
  22. Alex Solis (1)

Horses leading the way on the road to the Kentucky Derby:

  1. American Pharoah
  2. Dortmund
  3. Frosted
  4. Carpe Diem
  5. Materiality
  6. Firing Line
  7. International Star
  8. Upstart
  9. Danzig Moon
  10. Mubtaahij
  11. Far Right
  12. Itsaknockout
  13. El Kabeir
  14. Tencendur
  15. War Story
  16. Bolo
  17. Mr. Z
  18. Ocho Ocho Ocho
  19. Stanford
  20. Frammento
  21. Keen Ice
  22. Bold Conquest
  23. Madefromlucky
  24. Firespike
  25. Metaboss

The 2015 Derby Poll is compiled by Gary West.

Gary WestThe son of a jockey who then became a trainer, Gary West grew up around racing and horses, and his earliest jobs were all at the racetrack. While going to school, he worked as a hot walker, groom, assistant, agent and valet, and then he set out on a very different career path. But after teaching writing and American literature at the University of Tennessee and publishing scholarly articles in such magazines as The Yeats Eliot Review and The Mark Twain Journal, he returned to the racetrack — as a turf writer. He has worked for the Dallas Times Herald, Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram; his work also has appeared in many magazines and journals. He’s the author of Razoo At the Races and has contributed to many books on racing. A former president of the National Turf Writers Association, he currently writes a regular column for ESPN.com.