Six Riders Still Unnamed
By Dick Downey
Kentucky Derby riders were named today for Hence and Fast and Accurate.
Florent Geroux will take the reins on Hence, per a tweet a few minutes ago by Jay Privman. Geroux will ride Hence for the first time. Geroux is the regular rider for Local Hero, who looks unlikely to have enough points to make the Kentucky Derby. Steve Asmussen trains both Hence and Local Hero.
The Sunland Derby winner, Hence, was ridden in that race by local jockey Alfredo Juarez. Ramon Vazquez was on board in Hence's two prior starts, preceded by Ricardo Santana, Jr., with whom Asmussen has since severed business ties.
Tyler Gaffalione will keep the mount for trainer Mike Maker on Fast and Accurate after riding him to victory in the Spiral Stakes. The announcement was made on the colt's Twitter page.
Gaffalione is also the last jockey to ride Patch, trained by Todd Pletcher. At this post, a Kentucky Derby rider for Patch hadn't been named.
Six of the top 21 Derby points horses remain without a confirmed rider 12 days before the race: Battalion Runner, J Boys Echo, Malagacy, Patch, Untrapped and Lookin at Lee.
Malagacy is not a certainty to run in the Derby, and J Boys Echo lost his rider yesterday when Robby Albarado was unseated and injured at Keeneland.