Though the horses are the main attraction, the 2013 Preakness Stakes features some of the best jockeys in the world.
No doubt you know the names of most of the horses that will compete on Saturday at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Orb, Oxbow, Departed, Goldencents and Itsmyluckyday are plastered on headlines across the nation.
But the jockeys who ride atop these magnificent animals are no less a factor in the final outcome.
Here's a quick look at the major details of Saturday's big race.
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Md.
When: Saturday, May 18, at 6:20 p.m. ET
Post Time: 6:20 p.m. ET
Purse: $1 million
Television: NBC Sports Network
2013 Preakness Stakes Layout
|1||Orb||Joel Rosario||Claude McGaughey||1-1|
|2||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||8-1|
|3||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux ||D. Wayne Lukas||30-1|
|4||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Albert M. Stall Jr.||5-1|
|5||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||8-1|
|6||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||15-1|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||12-1|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||10-1|
|9||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr. ||12-1|
* Current odds can be found at horseracingnation.com.
Now it's time to take a closer look at the hottest jockeys who will be participating in the Preakness on Saturday.
Joel Rosario (No. 1)
Casual horse racing fans likely discovered Rosario after Orb's Kentucky Derby victory earlier this month, but this jockey has been dominating the track all year long.
No jockey has more victories to his or her credit than Rosario, who has won 137 times thus far in 2013. Of his 566 starts this year, Rosario has placed in the money a staggering 320 times.
He's the hottest jockey in the world.
Back in 2009, the Dominican equaled a record set by only two other jockeys when he won six times in one day on one racetrack at Hollywood Park (h/t ESPN.com's Steve Anderson). He also won the world's richest race this year, riding Animal Kingdom to victory at the Dubai World Cup.
Should Rosario (Orb) win this year's Preakness, he'll have a chance to do what hasn't been done since 1978 at the Belmont Stakes and challenge for the Triple Crown.
John Velazquez (No. 3)
Puerto Rican jockey Velazquez's career is full of superlatives, which led to his induction into the Puerto Rico Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2006 and the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2012 (h/t Jerry Bossert of the New York Daily News).
This season, Velazquez has won 80 races and has finished in the money 184 times in 335 starts. He's earned an average of $18,294 per race.
Velazquez will be riding Itsmyluckyday on Saturday. Jockey Elvis Trujillo had ridden this horse at the Kentucky Derby but isn't nearly as experienced as Velazquez—a fact that showed up all too keenly with the horse's 15th-place finish.
A first-place finish on Wednesday in the Teaks North at Belmont moved Velazquez close to the hallowed mark of 5,000 career wins (4,990), per the NYRA on Twitter:
Teaks North moves @nmrhof member John Velazquez closer to 5000 career wins! http://t.co/brEs5r5iv65/15/2013, 8:53:18 PM
This legendary jockey will need to work his magic on Saturday to defeat Rosario and Orb, as Itsmyluckyday is a 12-1 long shot to win the race.
Rosie Napravnik (No. 5)
A 25-year-old superstar on the North American tour, Napravnik also happens to be a woman. If she wins the Preakness on Saturday atop Mylute, she'll become the first woman to win the prestigious event in its 138-year history, per the AP (via CBS Baltimore).
She finished in fifth place at the Kentucky Derby, which was the highest finish for any female jockey in the history of that race, and she's only the third woman to ever ride at the Preakness.
After her fifth-place finish at the Derby, Napravnik was understandably excited and expressed her joy on her official Twitter account:
Rosie Napravnik @RosieNapravnik
Amazing weekend! Mylute and I fin 5th but less than 4 lengths from victory in the Derby!! Unbelievable feeling closing fast down stretch!!!!5/5/2013, 12:29:11 PM
She's won 123 races this year, which is the third-highest total of any racer in North America. In her 494 starts in 2013 she's finished in the money 288 times.
Napravnik has been breaking down barriers her entire career as a female jockey in what has traditionally been a man's world. She's hoping to take another big step with a big win on Sunday, and if she wins atop Mylute it'll be the biggest story of the year.
Note: All jockey stats courtesy of equibase.com.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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