Horse Racing

2024 Preakness Jockeys: What You Need to Know

FanDuel Staff
FanDuel Staff
2024 Preakness Jockeys: What You Need to Know

The 2024 Preakness Stakes happens at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, on Saturday, May 18, 2024. The second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown, it drew a field of eight of the best three-year-olds in the country. Knowing about the horses and the trainers and following breaking horse racing news leading into the Preakness Stakes can get you part of the way there. But, another way to get an edge when you are betting the race is to get to know the jockeys in this year’s Preakness field.

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Preakness Stakes Jockeys

These are the jockeys riding in the 2024 Preakness Stakes, including some of the key points and statistics about their careers and a detailed look at their histories in riding Triple Crown races.

Post 1: Joe Bravo - Mugatu, 20-1 ML

Joe Bravo, who takes the reins on Mugatu for the first time since his maiden win at Gulfstream last November, is one of the most experienced jockeys still riding. His career dates all the way back to 1988, and he has ridden in over 30,000 races over the last 36 years and counting. He has won 31 Grade 1 races in that time, with the highest-profile victory coming in 2019 when he rode Blue Prize to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Bravo has ridden in the Preakness Stakes five times, most recently when finishing tenth with long shot Pneumatic in 2020. His best finish in the Preakness came in 2012 when he rode Teeth of the Dog to a fifth-place finish behind I’ll Have Another.

His experience in the other legs of the Triple Crown is similarly limited: he has ridden four editions of the Kentucky Derby and three runnings of the Belmont Stakes. The only time he has hit the board in a Triple Crown race came in 2014, when he guided Danza to a third-place finish behind California Chrome.

Post 2: Irad Ortiz, Jr. - Uncle Heavy, 20-1 ML

Irad Ortiz, Jr., who rides long shot Uncle Heavy for the first time ever in the Preakness Stakes, is one of the highest-profile jockeys in the world. He is the current North American earnings leader for 2024, and he has won the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey in five of the last six years. His victory with Vahva in the Derby City Distaff (G1) was the 100th North American Grade 1 win in a career that dates back to 2011.

Ortiz has ridden in the Preakness Stakes five times. Though he has yet to win the race, he has come in second twice, in the 2023 Preakness with Blazing Sevens and in the 2021 edition with Midnight Bourbon. He finished off the board in his other three Preakness Stakes rides.

Though Ortiz has run off the board in all eight of his starts in the Kentucky Derby, with his best finish being a fourth with Improbable in 2019, he has been a force in the Belmont Stakes. In nine starts in the final jewel of the Triple Crown, Irad Ortiz has won twice, with Creator in 2016 and Mo Donegal in 2022. He has also been second twice, third once, and fourth thrice—in fact, from nine starts in the Belmont Stakes, he has been out of the superfecta only once.

Post 3: Flavien Prat - Catching Freedom, 6-1 ML

Flavien Prat rode Catching Freedom to a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, and returns to the saddle for the Preakness. The champion apprentice jockey in France in 2009, he began riding regularly in the United States in 2014. Now a 74-time Grade 1 winner, he has climbed to the top echelon of American horse racing.

Prat has only ridden in the Preakness once before, but it could not have gone better. He took the reins on Rombauer in 2021, guiding him to a smart rally and a 3 ½-length upset victory for trainer Michael McCarthy.

Prat has been consistently good in the other Triple Crown races. He has been in the saddle for seven editions of the Kentucky Derby, winning once with colossal long shot Country House for trainer Bill Mott in 2019. He also finished second with Hot Rod Charlie in 2021, and has only been out of the Derby superfecta once in seven tries. Prat has ridden three times in the Belmont with consistently good results: he finished second in 2021 with Hot Rod Charlie, and was fourth in his other two tries.

Post 4: Juan Hernandez - Muth, 8-5 ML - SCRATCHED

After starting his career in Mexico and then riding in northern California, Juan Hernandez has recently risen up the ranks at Santa Anita and Del Mar. He now has 16 Grade 1 wins to his name, all since 2020. That includes an Arkansas Derby (G1) win this year with Muth, who he was named to ride on in the Preakness Stakes before the horse spiked a fever Wednesday morning. It would have been Hernandez’s first ride in the Preakness Stakes, and in horse racing’s Triple Crown, though now he will have to wait for another time.

Post 5: Brian Hernandez, Jr. - Mystik Dan, 5-2 ML

Brian Hernandez was the Eclipse Award winner for champion apprentice jockey in 2004, and has built up a consistent career ever since. Before winning the 2024 Kentucky Derby with Mystik Dan, also his Preakness Stakes mount, his highest-profile victory came in 2012, when he won the Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Fort Larned.

Hernandez has taken a call in the Preakness Stakes four times before. His best result to date came in his most recent attempt: in 2022, he rode Creative Minister to a third-place finish behind Early Voting. Creative Minister was also trained by Kenny McPeek, conditioner of Mystik Dan.

The Kentucky Derby win with Mystik Dan was his first money finish in the race in five starts. His previous best finish in the Derby came in 2017 when he finished eighth with McCraken. Hernandez has only ridden in the Belmont Stakes once, when he finished fifth with Creative Minister.

Post 6: Jaime Torres - Seize the Grey, 15-1 ML

Less than four years ago, Jaime Torres watched Authentic win the 2020 Kentucky Derby. Since then, he spent six months in jockey school, went to ride for Saffie Joseph, Jr. as an exercise rider, became New York’s top apprentice rider of 2023, and was named an Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding apprentice jockey.

Torres won his first-ever graded stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard, wearing those same MyRacehorse silks as Authentic had, when he guided Seize the Grey to victory in the Pat Day Mile (G2). The race was only Torres’ fifth start in a graded-stakes race. Not only will the Preakness be Torres’ first start in one of the Triple Crown races, it will be his first start in any Grade 1 race.

Post 7: Joel Rosario - Just Steel, 15-1 ML

Just Steel started his career with Joel Rosario as his regular rider: Rosario was in the saddle for four of his first five career races, including his only two wins to date. Elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2024, Rosario rode his first race in 2003 and has been a regular in the irons since 2006. He has over 19,000 starts and over 3,600 wins, including 115 in North American Grade 1 races. He also won the Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey in 2021, the only rider not named Irad Ortiz, Jr. to win that trophy in the last six years.

Rosario has ridden in the Preakness Stakes nine times. Though it is the only one of the three Triple Crown races he has not yet won, he has finished second four times: with Ride on Curlin in 2014, Tale of Verve in 2015, Everfast in 2019, and Epicenter in 2022. He has finished in the superfecta in seven of his nine Preakness Stakes rides, making him a consistent performer in the second leg of the Triple Crown series.

In the Kentucky Derby, Rosario has only hit the board twice in 13 starts. However, one of those was a victory with Orb in 2013. He also finished second with favored Epicenter in 2022. He has won the Belmont twice in twelve starts, with Tonalist in 2014 and Sir Winston in 2019.

Post 8: Tyler Gaffalione - Tuscan Gold, 8-1 ML

The lightly-raced colt Tuscan Gold has only started three times before the Preakness, and Tyler Gaffalione was aboard for his two most recent starts. Those starts also happen to be the two better starts of his young career: a maiden special weight at 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream, and a competitive third-place finish behind Catching Freedom and Honor Marie in the Louisiana Derby (G2), Tuscan Gold’s stakes debut.

Tyler Gaffalione has limited experience in the Preakness Stakes: he has only lined up twice for the second jewel of the Triple Crown. However, in his very first Preakness start, he won the 2019 edition of the race with Mark Casse, trainee War of Will. His second try in the Preakness came in 2022, when he rode long shot Happy Jack to eighth place behind Early Voting.

Gaffalione’s second-place finish with Sierra Leone was his first in-the-money finish in seven tries at the Kentucky Derby. His previous best finish was a seventh-place outing in 2019 with War of Will. The only time so far that Gaffalione has ridden in the Belmont Stakes, he rode War of Will to a ninth-place finish behind Sir Winston.

Post 9: Frankie Dettori - Imagination, 6-1 ML

Frankie Dettori has been one of the most famous and successful jockeys on the world stage. Italian-born, he spent most of his career based in England. His most enduring feat was winning all seven races at Ascot on September 28, 1996, though his success has continued well into the 21st century. He has won two editions of the English Derby (G1), nine runnings of the Gold Cup (G1) at Ascot, six editions of the Arc de Triomphe (G1), four runnings of the Dubai World Cup (G1), and fifteen Breeders’ Cup races, including the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf with Inspiral.

Dettori takes the call on Imagination in the 2024 Preakness Stakes. He has ridden Imagination in his last two starts, a head victory in the San Felipe (G2) and a neck defeat behind Stronghold in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Given that he has been based overseas for so much of his riding career, Dettori does have less Triple Crown riding experience than most of the other jockeys in the starting gate for this race. This will be his first-ever Preakness ride, and he has also never started in the Belmont Stakes before. Dettori has raced in the Kentucky Derby twice: he finished sixth in 2000 with China Visit and 16th with Society Man in 2024.

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