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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mountless in Louisville

If you were in need of a top quality jockey in Louisville, you wouldn't need to look up "Jockeys" in your yellow pages (do they still make yellow pages?).  There are plenty of high quality jockeys on the outside looking in at this year's edition of the First Saturday in May. This will make the horse betting all the more interesting with a number of rookie Derby riders in the race.

Let's take a rundown of the current jockeys sitting on the sidelines waiting for a call.....

1. Garret Gomez - While he's never won a Derby race, he is one of the best in the business, but found himself riding horses in the prep races that have fallen by the wayside (i.e., Joes Blazing Aaron) or didn't make the graded earnings cut. In the last two Derbys his mounts were Lookin at Lucky and PioneeroftheNile, two darn good horses. His best shot to get in would be if Anthony's Cross gets off the bubble (currently sitting at No. 21 on the graded stakes list) where he most likely would get the call, as he rode him last year three times.  [UPDATE (4/29): Gomez gets mount on Master of Hounds]

2. Rafael Bejarano - SoCal riding champ who rode Line of David last year and Papa Clem in 2009, like Gomez is looking for his first breakout Triple Crown series victory. His best shot was Bench Points, who finished a disappointing seventh in the Santa Anita Derby. [UPDATE (5/2): Raf gets mount on Watch Me Go]

3. Kent Desormeaux - Last jockey to win the Kentucky Derby not named Calvin Borel. Granted he's had his issues over the past year, he's won Triple Crown races in the past, most recently with Big Brown and Summer Bird.

4. Edgar Prado - Won the Derby in 2006 on Barbaro and has struggled to obtain mounts in the big races since. A veteran rider who has a Derby under his belt, will be sitting out this year's run for the roses.

5. Javier Castellano - Had one of the best meets ever at Saratoga last summer and has big race experience (Breeders' Cup winning jock) and a Preakness (Bernardini) under his belt.  [UPDATE (5/3): Javy gets mount on Derby Kitten]

Some other jockeys warranting mention that are mountless include Chantal Sutherland, Elvis Trujillo and Joey Bravo, all decent jockeys in their own right.  The difference this year is that some Derby rookies have emerged depleting the available mounts, namely Jon Court, Eddie Castro, Jesus Castanon, Rosie Napravnik and Kerwin Clark,

There's still the question as to who will ride Master of Hounds for Aidan O'Brien, we'll see if the Goose is summoned out of the bullpen...



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