British-born jockey Hayley Turner, the most successful female jockey in European racing history and a rider who made her Midwestern professional debut by guiding Mark Hawtin’s Wigmore Hall to a fourth-place finish in the Grade I Arlington Million earlier this month, has been named aboard her second Arlington mount this Saturday.
Irish-born but British-based trainer Gerard Butler, who is also keeping a division at Arlington this summer, named Turner as the jockey for Trevor Stewart’s Akhmatova in Saturday’s sixth race.
However, Turner’s scheduled ride on Akhmatova – a British-bred daughter of Cape Cross – for this Saturday appears to be somewhat tentative. Butler has also entered Akhmatova, who finished eighth in Arlington’s Grade III Hanshin Cup May 21 with French-born jockey Florent Geroux in the irons, for Sunday’s racing program.
Before coming to Arlington for the Million, Turner last month became the first female jockey in the United Kingdom to win a Group I race outright when she guided the Kentucky-bred Dream Ahead to victory in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket for trainer David Simcock.
Since returning to Europe after the Million Turner posted her second Group I score by guiding the Irish-bred Margot Did to a three-quarter length win in the Group I Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York Aug. 19 for trainer Michael Bell, who also conditions Wigmore Hall.
VENEZUELAN JOCKEY OLAF HERNANDEZ PLANS TO MAKE CHICAGO HOME
Venezuelan jockey Olaf Hernandez, Venezuela’s leading apprentice jockey in 2000, has ridden at Gulfstream, Calder, New York, Keeneland and Mountaineer since coming to the United States but only arrived in Chicago about a week ago.
“There is more opportunity for a jockey here than in Venezuela,” Hernandez said Wednesday during training hours. “Back home they only have racing one day a week.”
Born in Maracaibo, the 35-year-old reinsman rode against such other top Venezuelan jockeys as Ramon Dominguez and Eibar Coa in their homeland before coming to America and says they all remain close friends.
As for the 24-year-old Venezuelan-born jockey Junior Alvarado, Arlington’s leading rider in 2009 and runner-up last season, Hernandez also remembers him well.
“I remember Junior when he was just a little boy,” said Hernandez. “Whenever I’d come off the track after a race down there he’d come up to me and always ask me for my whip.”
Hernandez is currently moving his wife Anna and his son Olaf Jr. from Mountaineer to Chicago and plans to go on to Hawthorne after Arlington closes Sept. 25 and make Chicago his permanent home.