Meet the jockeys: In the 150th Kentucky Derby, one of these riders will make history | Sport

For the jockeys competing in the 2024 Kentucky Derby on Saturday night at Churchill Downs, there is something extra at stake.

This year’s Run for the Roses is the 150th renewal of North American horse racing. The jockey who wins will join a select group of riders who have achieved victory in the Derby’s “numerical milestone” runs.

Jockey Oliver Lewis won the first Kentucky Derby in 1876 aboard Aristides.

JD Mooney rode Black Gold to victory in the 50th Derby in 1924.

Angel Cordero Jr. piloted Cannonade to victory in the 100th Run for the Roses in 1974.

On Saturday, one of the twenty jockeys listed below will join this list by riding the winning horse in Derby 150.

Here’s what you need to know about each rider (jockeys are listed alphabetically) in Saturday’s race:

Junior Alvarado

— Horse: resilience (item no. 18)

– Trainer: Bill Mott

– Past Kentucky Derby Mounts: Four previous Derby mounts. The best finish of fourth, at Mohaymen, came in the jockey’s first Kentucky Derby in 2016.

– Did you know? The 37-year-old Alvarado, a native of Venezuela, was the regular driver of Cody’s Wish, the fan favorite that won both the 2022 and 2023 Breeders’ Cup Mile races.

Keith Asmussen

— Horse: Just Steel (post no. 6)

— Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

– Past Kentucky Derby Rides: First Derby.

– Did you know? At 6-foot-1, Asmussen, 25, is quite tall for a jockey. He is the son of trainer Steve Asmussen and the nephew of former champion jockey Cash Asmussen.

Adam Beschizza

— Horse: Epic Ride (pole no. 20)

– Trainer: Jeff Ennis

-Past Kentucky Derby ridings: one. In 2020 he finished seventh aboard Enforceable.

– Did you know? Born in Cambridgeshire County, England, 31-year-old Beschizza won his first race as a jockey at Wolverhampton Racecourse in the United Kingdom in 2010 on a horse, Bavarica, trained by his aunt, Julia Feilden.

Jesus Castanon

— Horse: West Saratoga (Post No. 12)

– Trainer: Larry Demeritte

-Past Kentucky Derby ridings: one. In 2011 he finished fourth at Shackleford.

– Did you know? The 51-year-old Mexico City, Mexico, won the 2011 Preakness aboard Shackleford. Castanon comes from a family of riders – and women. His late father was a trainer, his brothers Tony and Jose are also jockeys. His wife, the former Rolanda Simpson, is a trainer and former jockey.

Ben Curtis

— Horse: Honor Marie (post no. 7)

— Trainer: Whit Beckman

– Past Kentucky Derby Rides: First Derby.

– Did you know? The 34-year-old Curtis, a native of County Cork, Ireland, will compete in the Kentucky Derby for just six months after moving his equipment from England to the United States to compete at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Frankie Dettori

— Horse: Society Man (post no. 19)

— Coach: Danny Gargan

-Past Kentucky Derby ridings: one. Finished sixth at China Visit in 2000.

– Did you know? The Milanese, Italian-born, 53, has been described in Britain as ‘the most famous jockey in the world’. Dettori has won races in at least 24 different countries and has won the Epsom Derby twice, on Authorized in 2007 and Golden Horn in 2015.

Antonio Fresu

— Horse: Stronghold (post no. 17)

— Trainer: Philip D’Amato

– Past Kentucky Derby Rides: First Derby.

– Did you know? An Italian, Fresu, 32, is also an Italian for whom being a jockey is a family affair. He told The Blood-Horse in 2023 that his father, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been horse riders.

Tyler Gaffalione

— Horse: Sierra Leone (post no. 2)

– Trainer: Chad Brown

– Past Kentucky Derby ridings: six. Its only top-10 finish was seventh at War of Will in 2019.

– Did you know? A product of Davie, Florida, Gaffalione, 29, won the 2019 Preakness Stakes aboard War of Will. Gaffalione has won the riding title at Churchill Downs in 11 different racing events.

Florent Geroux

– Horse: just a touch (post no. 8)

– Trainer: Brad Cox

– Past Kentucky Derby ridings: seven. Was aboard designated winner Mandaloun, whose 2021 Derby victory came after the on-track winner, Medina’s Spirit, was disqualified.

– Did you know? The 37-year-old Geroux, from Argentan, Normandy, France, has won eight Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2017 Classic with Gunrunner and the 2018 and 2020 Distaff, both with Monomoy Girl.

Brian Hernández

— Horse: Mystik Dan (post no. 3)

– Trainer: Kenny McPeek

– Past Kentucky Derby ridings: four, with an eighth-place finish in 2019 at McCracken.

– Did you know? A product of Lafayette, La., Hernandez, 38, won the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Fort Larned. The win came on the jockey’s 27th birthday.

Emisael Jaramillo

— Horse: Grand Mo the First (Post No. 15)

— Trainer: Victor Barboza Jr.

-Past Kentucky Derby ridings: one. Came 18th in 2016 with Majesto.

– Did you know? Jaramillo, 47, a native of Tucupido, Guarico, Venezuela, came to the United States in 2015 to ride full-time. Before leaving Venezuela, Jaramillo was the country’s leading rider 13 times.

Kazushi Kimura

— Horse: TO Password (Post no. 9)

– Trainer: Daisuke Takayanagi

-Past Kentucky Derby ridings: one. Last year I finished 12th on Mandarin Hero.

– Did you know? Although Kimura, 24, was born in Hokkaido, Japan, he made a name for himself as a rider in Canada. In 2018 he won the Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding apprentice jockey and in 2021, 2022 and 2023 he was the winner of the Sovereign Award as outstanding jockey.

Julien Leparoux

— Horse: Catalytic (Item No. 5)

— Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

– Previous Kentucky Derby Rides: Has raced in 14 previous Derbys with a best finish of fourth with Classic Empire in 2017.

– Did you know? Although Leparoux, 40, has nearly 3,000 career victories, he has yet to win a Triple Crown race. However, the native of Senlis, France, has finished second in the Preakness twice, with Macho Again (2008) and Classic Empire (2017).

Irad Ortiz Jr.

— Horse: domestic product (item No 14)

– Trainer: Chad Brown

– Past Kentucky Derby ridings: seven with a top finish of fourth with Improbable in 2019.

– Did you know? Ortiz, 31, a product of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, has led North American jockeys in victories seven years in a row and in winnings five of the six years. Ortiz has won two Triple Crown races, claiming the Belmont Stakes on Creator in 2016 and Mo Donegal in 2022. He has won 20 Breeders’ Cup races.

Flavien Prat

– Horse: Catching Freedom (Post No. 4)

– Trainer: Brad Cox

– Past Kentucky Derby Rides: In six previous Derbies, Prat’s horses have finished on the board five times. Was aboard Kentucky Derby winner Country House in 2019 after on-track winner Maximum Security was disqualified by stewards for interfering with other horses on the final turn.

– Did you know? The 31-year-old Prat was the 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline rider for all six of his career races, all wins, including the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. Prat, a native of Melun, France, has five Breeders’ Cup victories.

Umberto Rispoli

— Horse: Endless (Post no. 13)

– Trainer: Michael McCarthy

-Past Kentucky Derby ridings: one. Finished 14th at Brooklyn Strong in 2021.

— Did you know: Born in San Severino Marche, Italy, Rispoli was a member of the Hong Kong Jockey Club until December 2019, when he shifted course to Southern California. Rispoli, now 35, won riding championships in his native Italy in 2009 and 2010.

Joel Rosario

— Horse: Track Phantom (pole no. 11)

— Trainer: Steve Asmussen

– Past Kentucky Derby Rides: Raced in 12 previous Derbies, with a win in 2013 aboard Orb and a second in 2022 on Epicenter.

– Did you know? The 39-year-old Rosario, a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, has been elected to the 2024 induction class of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In his career, Rosario has more than 3,600 victories, including three Triple Crown victories and 15 Breeders’ Cup victories.

Luis Saez

— Horse: Dornoch (Post No. 1)

— Coach: Danny Gargan

– Past Kentucky Derby rides: ten. Was aboard the track winner Maximum Security in 2019, but the horse was disqualified and placed 17th by the stewards due to interference. Came third on Essential Quality in 2021.

– Did you know? The 31-year-old Saez, born in Panama City, Panama, won the 2021 Belmont Stakes and the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, both with Essential Quality.

Ryusei Sakai

— Horse: Forever Young (Post no. 10)

– Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi

– Past Kentucky Derby Rides: First Derby.

– Did you know? Considered one of Japan’s rising stars, the 26-year-old Sakai was scheduled to ride in his first Kentucky Derby last year. However, Tokyo resident Continuar’s Derby mechanic was scratched.

Johannes Velázquez

– Horse: Ferocity (Post no. 16)

– Trainer: Todd Pletcher

– Past Kentucky Derby ridings: In 25 previous Derbies, Velazquez has won three times: Animal Kingdom (2011), Always Dreaming (2017) and Authentic (2020). He lost a fourth victory in the Kentucky Derby when Medina Spirit (2021) was disqualified due to an illegal substance found in the horse’s post-race blood test after an on-track win.

– Did you know? In his 26th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, Velazquez, 52, will tie Bill Shoemaker for the second-most rides in the Run for the Roses. Only Mike Smith (28) has raced in the Kentucky Derby more often.

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