jockeys Brian Hernandez Jr. and Miguel Mena will be seeking the
biggest victory of their young careers in Saturday’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup
Classic (Grade I), but both riders are doing their best to stay focused on their
mounts at Churchill Downs prior to riding at Santa Anita on Saturday.
not really nervous right now because we’ve still got a couple more days,”
Hernandez Jr. said. “I’ve still got to ride (Thursday and Friday). Come
Saturday, I might be a little nervous then, but we’ll worry about that when it
Jr., who turns 27 Saturday, will be aboard Fort Larned in the Classic
for trainer Ian Wilkes on Saturday, but will first guide morning-line
favorite Neck ’n Neck, also trained by Wilkes, in Friday’s
$100,000-added Ack Ack (GIII) at Churchill Downs.
a daily deal,” Hernandez Jr. said. “We race five days a week and you just have
to take it day by day.”
who turns 26 on Tuesday (Nov.6), also will have mounts for the same trainer in
the Ack Ack and Classic when he rides Stealcase and Pool Play
this weekend, both from the barn of trainer Mark Casse.
just having fun,” Mena said. “I’m not nervous – yet. I’m just glad they gave me
the opportunity. I’m staying focused on today and tomorrow and trying not to
think about (the Classic) too much.”
riding in the Classic on Saturday night, both riders will rush back to
Louisville for mounts at Churchill Downs on Sunday. Post time for the Classic
is 8:30 p.m. (all times Eastern) and Hernandez Jr. and Mena are both scheduled
to ride their first race Sunday in Race 3 at 1:37 p.m.