When betting on the Kentucky Derby, the most common information that bettors gather is about the horse itself and the trainers. On the other hand, Jockeys are most likely to be overlooked, not understanding how significant their contribution is to the horse’s success.
If you want to be better at betting and be smarter in choosing a horse to bet on this upcoming Kentucky Derby, you should also consider checking out the jockeys riding the horses to the finish line.
Here are the top five jockeys you should watch out for in the 2023 Kentucky Derby that will likely push their racehorses to the finish line first.
Irad Ortiz Jr.
Irad Ortiz Jr. is one of the popular names you will constantly hear in the horse racing industry, especially in the 2023 Kentucky Derby, as he will be riding the favorite of FanDuel’s Kentucky derby contenders.
Ortiz is born in Puerto Rico to a family of horse jockeys. He just recently won his fourth Eclipse Award for being an Outstanding Jockey. Irad Ortiz Jr. is also the leading contender for the Jockeys championship meet ahead of the defending champion Luis Saez.
Forte and Ortiz’s tandem in the Road to the Kentucky Derby was one of a kind. Their chemistry helped them win four of the four derby prep races they participated in. They now captured the number one spot on the leaderboard with 190 points.
That said, Ortiz secured the Kentucky Derby spot for Forte, also the favorite of bettors, experts, and fans.
Another must-watch trainer for the 2023 Kentucky Derby is Luis Saez. Ever since Saez started riding horses for horse racing events, he has become a force to be reckoned with. His success was meteoric. Saez’s gradual but steady progress, and no other jockey ever did it like him.
Saez has maintained a steady pace in achieving his goals ever since. He has been considered one of the ten best jockeys since 2017. This is based on the jockeys who have the most wins every year. He even claimed his fourth championship meet title last year.
Currently, Saez is riding both Instant Coffee and Tapit Trice. But eventually, he will need to pick a horse to ride to the finish line on May 6. It is a tough decision for Saez as he had great chemistry with these two promising derby horses.
This third jockey that you should watch out for is a legend in the horse racing industry. John Velazquez was inducted into the National Museum of Racing in 2012 and is now officially part of horse racing history.
He is expected to ride Reincarnate in the 2023 Kentucky Derby and is trained by Tim Yakteen. Reincarnate is currently in the 13th spot on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and holds 45 total derby points.
Velazquez and Reincarnate won the Sham Stakes, their first derby prep race participation. Unfortunately, they only finished third on Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Stakes. But hope wasn’t lost. With Velazquez on the team, there is still a chance to win the Kentucky Derby this year.
John Velazquez has already claimed 6,472 wins since he started his career in 1990 and still counting as he continued to ride horses to the finish line. He accumulated a total of $461,556,266 in earnings throughout his career.
Another of the country’s most successful and popular jockeys today is Joel Rosario. Rosario is from the Dominican Republic and started his professional jockey career at 14. He was young back then but showed great promise for his future as a jockey.
And fast forward to today, he indeed became one of the most sought-after jockeys. He won multiple Breeders’ Cup titles, two Belmont Stakes wins, one Kentucky Derby championship, and a thousand other championship titles.
Rosario was even named the highest earner of any North American jockey in 2021 and was crowned America’s Best Racing’s Favorite Jockey in the same year. He is expected to ride Raise Cain in the upcoming Kentucky Derby race.
Last on the list is Flavien Prat. He is another jockey riding two horses in the Road to the Kentucky Derby, Kingsbarns, and Angel of Empire. Both horses already have enough points to qualify for the 2023 Kentucky Derby, but Prat still has no words on which horse he will be riding in the derby race.
Flavien Prat is a son of a trainer, Frederick Prat, who trained horses in France. Flavien Prat has ridden horses in numerous countries besides the United States, such as France, Italy, and Germany.
Prat started his jockey career in Southern California in 2009. He then decided to continue his career in New York, which was the best decision of his life. Prat takes New York by storm when he moves there to become a full-time jockey.
Jockeys Are Also Important
When betting on the 2023 Kentucky Derby or any other horse racing event, you should know that jockeys also play a significant role in the achievements of the thoroughbreds. You shouldn’t only focus your attention on the trainer or the horse but also on the jockey who will ride the thoroughbred on race day.