After two stakes victories at Fair Grounds on “The Road to the Derby Kickoff Day,” Brian Hernandez, Jr. was voted Jockey of the Week for January 11 through January 17. The award, which is voted on by a panel of racing experts, is for jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 active riders in the United States as well as retired and permanently disabled jockeys.
Trainer Chris Block gave Hernandez, Jr. a leg up on Charlie’s Penny in the Silverbulletday Stakes for three-year-old fillies. Dismissed at odds of 9.20-1, Charlie’s Penny sat a clear stalking trip behind the pacesetter Littlestitious, then rallied on the turn for home and went on score an authoritative 3-1/4-length win. “She was able to get herself in a nice position quickly,” Hernandez, Jr. said. “Going around the first turn and then once she got outside she travelled nicely with her ears up the whole way. She was there for me. I just had to be a good passenger.”
Riding for trainer Dallas Stewart in the Grade III Louisiana Stakes for four-year-olds and up, Hernandez, Jr. had the mount on Title Ready. A clear fourth in the early going, Title Ready rallied on the turn for home, then closed strongly to take the lead and drew away to win by 1-1/4 lengths. “You know coming out of two Grade 1’s, he’s not chasing Authentic and those horses around there today,” Hernandez, Jr. explained. “We thought that if he broke good and got himself in the race, it would benefit him.”
The Louisiana native is the son of retired jockey Brian Joseph Hernandez. Hernandez, Jr. was awarded the Eclipse Award as Outstanding Apprentice in 2004 and is a multiple graded stakes winning jockey. He rides the Kentucky circuit and Fair Grounds in the winter. His younger brother, Colby, is also a jockey.
Weekly stats for Hernandez, Jr. were 23-5-6-1. He led all jockeys by total purse earnings of $326,840.
Hernandez, Jr. out-polled fellow riders Antonio Gallardo who won two stakes races at Tampa Bay, Irad Ortiz, Jr. who led all jockeys by wins with 10, Umberto Rispoli who won two stakes at Santa Anita and Sheldon Russell who won three stakes races at Laurel.