2011 Preakness Stakes Jockeys
by Trevor Whenham - 5/18/2011
As always in a Triple Crown race, the jockeys in this year’s Preakness pack a whole lot of storylines. They may be little, but they sure are interesting: Here are eight of the more interesting jockey stories for this year’s Preakness:
John Velazquez, Animal Kingdom - The legendary Velazquez added a Derby crown to his previous Belmont win, so now he only needs to win the Preakness to complete his personal Triple Crown. The circumstances that landed him aboard this horse for the Derby were a bit shady, but that’s all in the past. The important thing is that he was clearly ideally suited for the mount, and he has a very solid chance in this race.
Robby Albarado, King Congie - Albarado would like nothing more than to beat Animal Kingdom here, I would guess. He was the jockey who was bumped off Animal Kingdom in the Derby because of an injury that he says wasn’t an issue. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really have a horse that is capable of pulling off the win unless everything goes his way.
Mike Smith, Astrology - There is still life in Smith’s saddle, but he’s getting much closer to the end of his career than the beginning. He hasn’t won the Preakness since 1993 with Prairie Bayou, so he’ll be hungry for another win. He doesn’t have the best horse in the field, but he didn’t seem to last year when he won the Belmont aboard Drosselmeyer, either.
Julien Leparoux, Dialed In - Leparoux had a disastrous Derby. He was aboard the favorite on the track that he has owned recently, but his horse never fired and wasn’t a factor. He’s back on the same horse, but he could have the same pace issues here that caused all the troubles in the Derby. Leparoux is going to win more than one Classic before it’s done.
Edgar Prado, Isn’t He Perfect - Prado must be haunted every time he runs in this race -- he was aboard Barbaro when he suffered the injury in the Preakness that eventually proved to be fatal. He has a Derby and two Belmont wins, but will be in the hunt to finish his personal Triple Crown like Velazquez will. If he pulled that off on this horse, though, then it would be a sign of the apocalypse.
Martin Garcia, Midnight Interlude - He’s the only jockey in the field with a winning streak in this race. He took over the reins of Lookin’ at Lucky last year after a disappointing Derby performance and got him home for a nice win here. There are similarities here -- this is also a Bob Baffert-trained horse that was also a major disappointment in the Derby. The difference is that this time Garcia was aboard for that lousy race.
Garrett Gomez, Sway Away - Gomez is cursed in the Triple Crown. He is the best jockey in the country for my money, and he has won an incredible 12 Breeders’ Cup races, but he has yet to win a single Triple Crown race. Part of his problem recently is that he is not landing on top-level horses. After riding a non-factor in the Derby he is aboard a horse here who couldn’t even make it into the weak Kentucky Derby field.
Sheldon Russell, Concealed Identity - Every year in the Preakness it seems like there is a jockey or two that people know very little about. This year that guy is the 24-year-old Russell. The Maryland based jockey has a meet title at Laurel to his credit, so he has some game. The one thing he is better at than riding, though, is getting injured. The guy has broken a staggering number of bones in his short career. The horse doesn’t seem like much, but at least Russell is his regular rider, and has won stakes aboard him.
Doc’s Sports will have Preakness Stakes Picks for the 2011 Run for the Black-Eyed Susans on Saturday, May21. Doc has been studying the Preakness Stakes field since the Derby and we expect to bring in some very nice profits as the Preakness odds will yield great value. Preakness picks are only $20 and if you don’t show a profit Belmont Stakes picks are free!
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