Hernandez pulling away from the field in Woodbine jockey race
It’s early in the race, but Woodbine jockey Rafael Hernandez is starting to pull away from the rest of the field at the Etobicoke track.
The Puerto Rican-born jock won two races on Saturday after posting three victories on Friday, and now has 56 victories on the season, which began on June 6. That’s 17 more wins than second-place rider Justin Stein, who has 39. Kazushi Kimura, last year’s leading apprentice jock in North America, is third with 35, one ahead of Emma-Jayne Wilson.
Whomever wins the riders’ crown at this season will represent a change of the guard. Woodbine legend Eurico Da Silva retired after the 2019 season to spend more time with his young family, after winning last year’s title with 182 wins, with Hernandez second (164). The Brazilian-born Da Silva was Woodbine’s leading jockey for five straight seasons.
Hernandez and Kimura have picked up quite a few of Da Silva’s former clients, and those two were expected to fight for the title in 2020. But, so far, Hernandez is blowing away the competition. He also has won five stakes at Woodbine this season, including two with superstar sprinter Pink Lloyd — a ride he inherited from Da Silva. Hernandez won the 2015 Queen’s Plate on Shaman Ghost.