Impressive stats and an upset victory in the final stakes race of the Keeneland spring meet earned Brian Hernandez, Jr. Jockey of the Week honors for April 24-30, 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 penultimate race of Keeneland’s spring meet was the $150,000 Bewitch Stakes (G3), a 1 ½-mile turf race for older fillies and mares on Friday. Brian Hernandez, Jr. and Quiet Business trailed the field early in the race before making a move off the rail in the final turn and passing horses in the stretch. She edged clear of pacesetter Daring Duchess by a length at the wire.
Quiet Business ($34.20), the longest shot in the field, is by Quiet American, out of the A.P. Indy mare Indy Business. Trained by George Arnold II, the 4-year-old filly is owned and bred by Calumet Farm. This was the filly’s first stakes win; her only previous stakes appearance was a seventh-place finish in the Regret Stakes (G3) at Churchill in June of 2016.
Hernandez began the Churchill meet by hitting the board in each of his five starts on Saturday night. One of his two wins on the card was the $65,000 Roxelana overnight stakes with Finley’sluckycharm ($2.40) for trainer Bret Calhoun. This was the filly’s first race since she and Hernandez placed second in the La Brea (G1) at Santa Anita in December.
Including his 100% in the money performance at Churchill, Hernandez had four wins, three second-place finishes and five third-place finishes in his 15 starts last week, giving him a 27% win rate. He finished in the money in 80% of his mounts.
He added $211,654 to his 2017 total of $2.3 million, placing him 23rd among all North American jockeys. Earning $133,161 in his two stakes wins, he was the second leading North American jockey by stakes earnings for the week.
Hernandez has committed to ride McCraken in the 2017 Kentucky Derby this weekend. McCraken earned 40 qualifying Derby points with his wins in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) and a third-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2). Hernandez has been the colt’s rider in each of his five career starts.