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HRN Original Blog:
Race Talk with the Girl Next Door

And the Award for Outstanding Jockey goes to…

Most other bloggers have given you their picks for Horse of the Year and you have heard over and over who should get the Three-year old honors, but it’s my turn to give my pick for the award I look forward to the most: Outstanding Jockey. I know that Champion Three Year Old and Horse of the Year are bigger and more anticipated in our sport, but these usually go to the horses that I would pick as the winners. The Outstanding Jockey award NEVER goes to who I think Jock of the Year should be, so let me start shooting off my facts and figures and see if anyone is listening.
John Velazquez came into 2011 with the Champion 2-Year Old and the Derby favorite. Derby favorite is familiar ground to Mr. Velazquez, but this would be the first Derby win for him. Congrats to him! I know that does not win you an Eclipse Award (even ask Calvin Borel) but lets dissect his year and then you will see how I came up with Johnny V.
The Road to the Roses was a pretty smooth ride to him; he had his choice of horses on the way, but none like the undefeated Uncle Mo. Johnny won the Timely Writer, finished in the money in the Wood, won the Swale, finished third in the Fountain of Youth but then his choice Uncle Mo was scratched from the Derby. Luckily for John, Animal Kingdom was available (not so lucky for Robby Albarado who should have won his first Derby this year).
With Animal Kingdom he won the Derby, came in second in the Preakness and did not do too bad considering the trip he had in the Belmont. But the Belmont would be our possible 2012 Dubai World Cup champs last race of the season. But no worries for Johnny…after that he managed a win in the Clarke Handicap (another pick up mount), the E.P. Taylor, the Knickerbocker, the Alcibiades, the Kelso, the Hall of Fame and the Sanford to name a few.
How about the Breeders’ Cup you ask? Well, Johnny finished in the money 6 times, including 2 wins for the weekend. The Bill Shoemaker award was given to him because of this consistency over the biggest two days of racing.
Now if it is riding titles or money that impresses you, I can see you trying to find a way to put other names in the hat like Julien Leparoux or Rafael Bejarano but let me remind you that it is none other than Jockey Guild President John Velazquez that finished 2nd in wins at Gulfstream, 4th in wins at Belmont, 1st in wins at Saratoga and then back to Belmont to finish 3rd. Talk about consistent. If its money you like, how about taking the fact that Johnny V. is second in that division as well.
Seems like every year I am stunned at who wins that award as opposed to who should have won (Calvin Borel 2009 and Garrett Gomez 2010) so I am curious to see what the voters will do this year. Best of luck to all the jockeys nominated!
P.S. Speaking of jockeys, has anyone tried to write a letter to Churchill on behalf of the jockeys? I have been sending my letter every week. Let me know.


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Older Comments about And the Award for Outstanding Jockey goes to…...

It's been years since he won it, but I think you may be right, this could be Johnny V's year.
I don't konw all stats memorized, so Johnny V isn't a bad choice, but I'd lean toward Ramon Dominguez. Leads the country in money earned, 2nd in wins, lots of Grade 1 wins and 1 BC win with Hansen. Truth be told, I'm just not a fan of Johnny V's riding. He is always looking over his shoulder & through his legs looking for his competition when he's on 3-5 shots (just watch the 2010 Whitney with Quality Road). Just ride your horse & not everyone else's too.
You have a valid argument for Johnny V, and I believe that I will have to agree with you.


Meet Angela D'Amico
My horseracing journey and my quest to learn more about it has brought me to the University of Louisville Equine Program, but it began before I was born. My parents met when their parents shared ownership in a few racehorses. Although they did not own any horses when I was growing up, my grandfather still took me to the racetrack all throughout my childhood. In 2007, my stepfather introduced me to different racetracks and handicapping techniques, but it was not until the 2009 Preakness that I was really hooked.
A filly, Rachel Alexandra, venturing into a man’s world caught my eye and I fell in love with her completely. This was when my life changed. When it comes to racing and choosing my favorite horses, I have always seen perfection in what others would characterize as flaws. With this blog, I hope to show everyone that horseracing is not just a gamble, it is a passion.