Top Jocks Still Without a Mount

'09 & '10 Derby Winner Calvin Borel

The 2011 Kentucky Derby Prep Season has been nothing less than a mysterious one.  Throughout the country there are horse comparisons to previous winners and competitors but no entire prep season seems to match the wild ride of 2011.   Closing in on only ten days until the Kentucky Derby some people are wondering why some of the top jockey’s have yet to secure a mount.  During any other prep season that may be surprising but this year, it seems to fit right in.

As of today Victor Espinoza stands alone as the only Kentucky Derby winner with a mount in the 137th running.  Victor will return to Midnight Interlude after he guided the colt to a never say die stretch run victory in the Santa Anita Derby.  Calvin Borel, winner of 3 of the last 4 Kentucky Derby’s may be without a mount?  It may be hard to believe that the future hall of famer who knows Churchill Downs better than anyone is left out, but he is in the company of many other high-profile riders. 

Other Derby winners without announced commitments include Kent Desormeaux, Mike Smith, and Edgar Prado.  Further more, the list doesn’t stop at previous Kentucky Derby winners.  Reigning Eclipse Award winner, Ramon Dominguez along with ’08 and ’09 winner Garrett Gomez are also unconfirmed.   Expect announcements to start rolling in this week but the question remains; Who’s riding who?

Behind the scenes it’s very likely that almost all of these jockey’s have committed at less than 100% as they wait to see what other news transpires over the coming days.  With the amount of quality horses removed from Derby contention this year, it really delays the process quite a bit.  If any agent or jockey feels suspect about a horse moving forward on entering the Kentucky Derby then the general rule is to leave your door open for other owners and trainers who’s colt is without a doubt heading to the starting gate. 

A jockey’s agent job isn’t just to secure their client a mount but to get them a mount on horse with a live shot of winning.  Everyone involved wants to win the Kentucky Derby whether you’ve accomplished the feat before or are still looking for your first.  So now that we’re this close to the Derby, it’s a race to see who wins the mount on the top rated remaining.  The colts out there right now with an open saddle that agents are pushing for the most are:  Master of Hounds and Stay Thirsty.  Once the connections of these 3 horses make their announcements the dominos will begin to fall. 

Experience can make a world of difference in choices that will soon be made.  The Kentucky Derby has so much tradition and is the premiere horse racing telecast from the mecca of racing, Churchill Downs.  While all of these veterans are not confirmed today, the news of their mounts will be breaking soon.  The race seems wide open and could be the perfect place for a veteran to lead the way through a field of 20 and into the winners circle. 

Written by: Little Brink

For a look at the Colts with a confirmed Jock for the Kentucky Derby, click our Graded Stakes Earnings Tab.



  1. All but confirmed that Calvin Borel will ride Stay Thirsty…seems to be a great match and he has been working him at Churchill.

  2. According to, Ramon Dominguez gets the mount on Stay Thirsty. Looks like ol’ Cap’n Calvin is still searching…

    1. Calvin borel choices for the derby. Calvin borel will ride twinspired because Robby albarado ride animal kingdom. Calvin borel will ride master of hounds because foreign jockeys (European jockeys) can’t win on dirt. If Brilliant speed and anthony’s cross both make it to the derby then Joel Rosario will pick one horse and Calvin pick the other horse.

  3. Also read that Pat Valenzuela gets the mount on Comma to the Top. Looking for his first derby win since Sunday Silence in ’89.

  4. Unbelievable…would have been a good fit with a patient rider in Borel on Stay Thirsty instead of an aggresive rider like Dominguez…Master of Hounds and Twinspired may make the most sense for Calvin…underdog horse coming from off the pace.

  5. Borel is a good jockey, but I highly doubt that they are going to let him skim the rail like he has in the past, after all that publicity. He did get a mount for the Ky Derby on Sunland Derby Winner, Twice The Appeal, trained by Jeff Bonde. I am not sure that he can get that distance, with those top horses

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