The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of America’s prestigious Triple Crown series and Winning the race rates mighty high with just about every jockey.
There are several other Hall of Fame riders in this year’s Preakness field, as well several who’ll be making their first start in the race.
Let’s take a look at each of this years jockeys and who they’re riding.
#1 NATIONAL TREASURE: Johnny Velazquez. Has rode 12 times in the Preakness, never better than 2nd three times; ANIMAL KINGDOM (2011), ITSMYLUCKYDAY (2013), and AUTHENTIC (2020).
He’s Won the Kentucky Derby three times and the Belmont Stakes twice but the Hall of Famer has yet to Win the Preakness Stakes.
#2 CHASE THE CHAOS: Sheldon Russell. Has rode twice in the Preakness with his best finish being 6th in 2020 with EXCESSION. A Winner of more than 1,500 races, Russell has been a mainstay on the Maryland circuit for the past 16 years.
He enjoyed one of his best years in 2011 when he Won a career-best 195 races and rode in his first Preakness Stakes. In the years since, he’s only had one other opportunity to ride in the Preakness Stakes.
#3 MAGE: Javier Castellano. There are nine Preakness mounts on JJ’s resume, notching two Wins- BERNARDINI (2006) and CLOUD COMPUTING (2017). With more than 5,600 career Victories, Castellano is already established as one of the best jockeys in the history of racing.
In 2017 he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame. That honor came on the heels of four consecutive Eclipse Awards for being the nation’s top jockey from 2013 to 2016.
#4 COFFEEWITHCHRIS: Jaime Rodriguez. Has never contested in the Preakness prior to Saturday. Although he’s been in the saddle as a professional jockey in North America since 2010, Rodriguez is just starting to hit his best stride.
He’s seen his Win totals and earnings skyrocket over the past two years. In 2022, he finished 7th in the nation in Victories with 243. This past March, he tied a record at Laurel Park with an astounding seven Wins on a single race card. Saturday will be the most significant mount of his career.
#5 RED ROUTE ONE: Joel Rosario. Has been in the irons 8 times in the Preakness, finishing 2nd four times- RIDE ON CURLIN (2014), TALE OF VERVE (2015), EVERFAST (2019) and EPICENTER (2022). Rosario has Won the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes (twice), and 15 races at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The only American classic missing from his 3,450-plus Win resume is the Preakness Stakes. It’s worth noting Rosario has finished outside the top four only twice in his previous eight starts in this race.
#6 PERFORM: Feargal Lynch. No previous rides in the Preakness. This Irishman has ridden horses around the world but he’s spent much of the past decade in Maryland, home of the Preakness. In 2016, his first full year riding on the Maryland circuit he ranked 5th overall with 96 Wins.
If you’re looking for a jockey who knows how to ride the Preakness track, Lynch is your guy, having Won two riding titles at Pimlico. Lynch has also Won several high-profile Graded Stakes races including the Woodbine Mile and, more recently, the Ruffian Stakes.
#7 BLAZING SEVENS: Irad Ortiz Jr. Ortiz has had four rides in the Preakness with his best finish being 2nd in 2021 with MIDNIGHT BOURBON. Irad has Won the Belmont Stakes twice but he’s been shutout for his career in the first two stops on the Triple Crown trail.
When talking about most jockeys, the absence of a Derby or Preakness Win in their body of work wouldn’t raise many eyebrows. But Ortiz is different – he’s statistically the best all-around jockey in America, and he has been for a while. Much of his success has come while riding for trainer Chad Brown. Hmmm.
#8 FIRST MISSION: Luis Saez. He has been aboard for three Preakness rides with his best finish being 2nd with BRAVAZO in 2018. Saez turns 31 years-old on Friday, so if he doesn’t Win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday riding COMPARATIVE, a Victory in the Preakness would be a great belated gift.
His résumé consists of more than 3,250 Wins and he has ranked in the top four in Wins for jockeys nationally each of the past four years. In 2020, he Won his first Breeders’ Cup race when he captured the Juvenile aboard ESSENTIAL QUALITY — the same horse that he rode to Victory in the 2021 Belmont Stakes.
Those are your jockeys for the 148th edition of the Preakness Stakes. Safe trip to all involved.