Preakness Jockeys 2013: Win-Place-Show Records and Rider Outlooks
Jockeys just go along for the ride, right? Not quite. A great jockey can elevate the horse's ability. An average jockey can make a great horse look, well, average.
That's not the case this Saturday. A lot has been made of the horses in the Preakness Stakes and, let's face it, they do most of the work. Still, they need a pilot and not all pilots are created equal.
We've seen jockeys bring home long shots, but in recent history the Preakness is chalk, chalk, chalk.
A confident jockey with a live horse is about as lethal a combination as peanut butter and chocolate. And, as you'll see, this group of riders is no different.
The following jockeys are listed in post position order, from the outside in. Jockey stats come courtesy of Equibase and Preakness.com.
9. John Velazquez (Itsmyluckyday)
2013 Stats: Ranked 4th, 337 starts, 80-64-40, $6,131,466 in winnings
Best Finish in a Triple Crown Race: 1st 2011 Kentucky Derby, 1st in 2007 and 2012 Belmont Stakes
What to Expect in the Preakness: Johnny V gets the mount on Itsmyluckyday. This is an upgrade and expect Velazquez to keep Itsmyluckyday out of trouble and fairly wide around the whole oval. Velazquez will keep dirt out of the face of his horse, race mid-pack and try to pop off one strong run.
8. Martin Garcia (Govenor Charlie)
2013 Stats: Ranked 15th, 276 starts 41-40-37, $2,927,444
Best Triple Crown Finish: 1st in 2010 Preakness
What to Expect in the Preakness: Garcia won the Preakness for trainer Bob Baffert and his horse Lookin at Lucky and for owner Mike Pegram. This year Garcia gets the mount on Govenor Charlie, trained by Baffert and owned by Pegram. Garcia will get the most of Govenor Charlie and though lightly raced, is outclassed in this field.
7. Mike Smith (Will Take Charge)
2013 Stats: Ranked 11th, 276 starts, 41-40-37, $2,927,444
Best Triple Crown Finish: 1st in Kentucky Derby in 2005, 1st in Preakness in 1993
What to Expect in the Preakness: Smith gets the late-running Will Take Charge. In a race that promises to have some speed on the front end, Smith will ration WTC's speed and blitz late. He came screaming from the back in 2009 on Mine That Bird (losing by a neck to Rachel Alexandra). That same run is what Smith will be sitting on.
6. Gary Stevens (Oxbow)
2013 Stats: Ranked 47th, 156 starts, 18-29-20, $1,473,511
Best Triple Crown Finish: 1st in Preakness in 1997 and 2001, 1st in Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes three times
What to Expect in the Preakness: Stevens gets the mount on Oxbow yet again and will have fewer horses to contend with. He could not have had a better trip than the one he got in the Kentucky Derby and finished sixth. Stevens will have Oxbow in the mix early trying to fend of the late-runners down the lane.
5. Rosie Napravnik (Mylute)
2013 Stats: Ranked 5th, 500 starts, 125-99-69, $5,238,173
Best Triple Crown Finish: 5th in 2013 Kentucky Derby
What to Expect in the Preakness: It's only a matter of time before Napravnik bags a Triple Crown race and Mylute is her best shot yet. Mylute comes into the Preakness with the highest Kentucky Derby finish (behind Orb, of course). Napravnik cut her teeth at Pimlico and the question remains: Will Mylute run as well on a fast track as he did in the mud?
4. Brian Hernandez, Jr. (Departing)
2013 Stats: Ranked 22nd, 380 starts, 57-63-47, $2,399,758
Best Triple Crown Finish: Never raced in the Triple Crown
What to Expect in the Preakness: Departing is the hot new shooter and Hernandez is no stranger to the big stage. He won the Breeders' Cup Classic a year ago. So, if he's got the horse, he can bring him home. Hernandez stands to hit the board in his first career Triple Crown start.
3. Julien Leparoux (Titletown Five)
2013 Stats: Ranked 12th, 338 starts, 53-51-30, $3,953,785
Best Triple Crown Finish: 2nd in 2008 Preakness
What to Expect in the Preakness: Leparoux is as patient a rider as they come, but Titletown Five is in over his head here. Leparoux will use his talent to knack for timing to give Titletown Five a puncher's chance, but not even this crafty Frenchman can bring Titletown Five a Preakness trophy.
2. Kevin Krigger (Goldencents)
2013 Stats: Ranked 55th, 176 starts, 25-22-19, $1,343,532
Best Triple Crown Finish: 17th in 2013 Kentucky Derby
What to Expect in the Preakness: Krigger wanted the lead in the Derby and didn't get it. He'll want the lead in the Preakness and stands to get it. Will he and Goldencents—the impressive winner of the Santa Anita Derby—have enough to wire this field? Give him a fast track and we might just see the best Goldencents has to offer.
Will it be enough to beat this guy? ...
1. Joel Rosario (Orb)
2013 Stats: Ranked 1st, 573 starts, 141-93-90, $8,060,845
Best Triple Crown Finish: 1st in 2013 Kentucky Derby, 3rd in 2012 Preakness
What to Expect in the Preakness: Rosario is the best jockey in the country with the best three-year-old horse, Orb. He breaks from the inside post—not ideal—but he and Orb are simply too good and too powerful a combination to lose in this spot. Rosario will keep Orb closer to the pace than he did in the Derby, but Orb is just versatile enough to win from just about anywhere he's placed.