BOZICH | Three Kentucky Derby jockeys take aim on Bill Shoemaker
Only three jockeys have won the Kentucky Derby four times, but three riders in the 2016 field are positioned to win theirs fourth Derby.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Kentucky Derby record book could tilt Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Bob Baffert will chase his fifth Kentucky Derby victory. Only the legendary Ben Jones of Calumet Farm has won more (six).
Three riders are positioned to make a move into history. Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack are the only jockeys to win the race five times. Bill Shoemaker won his fourth and final Derby aboard Ferdinand 30 years ago.
Arcaro, Hartack, Shoemaker? That’s an awfully glamorous list – and three riders are chasing their fourth trip to the winners’ circle.
Here is the trio to watch:
Kent Desormeaux (who rides Exaggerator); Gary Stevens (Mor Spirit); Victor Espinoza (Whitmore).
“Listen, in the Kentucky Derby, I don’t care how many you win or I win, you’re always looking for the next win,” Espinoza said.
“It doesn’t matter how many years you win it. I’m here to ride. Every year I’m looking forward to having a horse for the Derby and win the Derby. There’s no such thing as you’re not going to try to win it. No chance.”
For the record, Espinoza has the best record. His three wins in seven Derby starts is the most successful winning percentage (.428) of any jockey who has won the race three times.
Next best is the remarkable Hartack (.417), who won five on his dozen Derby mounts.
Espinoza won on War Emblem in 2002 and backed it up on California Chrome two years ago and American Pharoah last year. Whitmore is listed at 20-1 in the Derby morning line and will start from post 10.
Stevens has delivered on three of 21 mounts, scoring with Winning Colors in 1988, Thunder Gulch in 1995 and Silver Charm in 1997. Stevens has failed to win on his last nine Derby mounts. Mor Spirit drew post 17 and 12-1 morning line odds.
Desormeaux is three for 19, winning on Real Quiet (1998), Fusiachi Pegasus (2000) and Big Brown (2008). He’s 0-for-4 since his last Derby victory. Desormeaux was annoyed after Exaggerator drew post 17, although the colt is projected to be the second betting choice at 8-1. Exaggerator won the Santa Anita Derby.
Here's the Derby numbers of the 17 other jockeys:
One win: Mario Gutierrez (Nyquist); John Velazquez (Outwork); Mike Smith (Danzing Candy); Joel Rosario (Shagaf).
Gutierrez won with I’ll Have Another four years ago. Velazquez scored on Animal Kingdom in 2011. Smith shocked the world on Giacomo in 2005. Rosario delivered for trainer Shug McGaughey on Orb in 2013.
No wins: Luis Saez (Brody’s Cause); Ricardo Santana Jr. (Creator); Yutaka Take (Lani); Javier Castellano (Destin); Irad Ortiz Jr. (My Man Sam); Aaron Gryder (Trojan Nation); Corey Lanerie (Mo Tom.)
Rookies: Florent Geroux (Gun Runner); Junior Alvarado (Mohaymen); Luis Quinonez (Suddenbreakingnews); Julien Leparoux (Oscar Nominated); Brian Hernandez Jr. (Tom’s Ready); Emisael Jaramillo (Majesto).
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