After leading the jockey standings by earnings and winning a major Kentucky Derby prep race, Brian Hernandez, Jr. was named Jockey of the Week for March 27 – April 2, 2017. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
The feature race on the Fair Grounds card on Saturday, April 1, was the $1,000,000 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2), a Kentucky Derby prep race worth 100 points to the winner. Brian Hernandez, Jr. had the call for Girvin, the morning line and post-time favorite. Hernandez settled the horse in mid-pack and several paths off the rail, tracking a quick pace set by the aptly named Hotfoot. Ridden wide around the turn, Girvin ($4.60) closed well and was asked in the stretch to extend his lead over second place finisher Patch.
Saturday’s race marked the third win for Girvin in just four starts; Hernandez has ridden the colt in all of his races, including his Risen Star (G2) victory in February at the Fair Grounds. With 150 points, Girvin sits atop the current Kentucky Derby leaderboard with just five more races yet to be held this season. The Tale of Ekati colt is owned by Brad Grady and trained by Joe Sharp.
Prior to the Louisiana Derby, Hernandez was second in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) aboard Wicked Lick, behind multiple stakes winner Farrell. The second-longest price on the board, Wicked Lick and Hernandez nosed out Vexatious for second and a gap of over seven lengths separated them from the rest of the field.
The Louisiana native had ten mounts on the Fair Grounds’ biggest day of the meet. In addition to the grades stakes efforts, Hernandez won the $50,000 New Orleans Ladies with Prado’s Sweet Ride ($13.80) and placed second in the $75,000 Crescent City Derby with Underpressure.
Hernandez led the North American jockey standings by total earnings, making $792,430 in 14 starts. Half of his starts were stakes races and he led the standings for the week by stakes earnings with $744,070. In his 14 starts, he picked up four wins, three seconds, and one third-place finish, ending the week with a 29% win rate and finishing in the money on 57% of his mounts.
The Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Apprentice in 2004, Hernandez has earned over $58 million in his career, with 1,635 wins in nearly 12,000 starts. In 2017, he has earned $1.89 million and is ranked 19th among all North American jockeys.