Kentucky Derby® winning jockey Mario Gutierrez leads the nominations for this year’s ESPY’s Jockey of the Year award, with the ceremony taking place on July 13 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Gutierrez, who steered Nyquist to glory in this year’s Derby, is looking to collect the award for the second time after claiming the prize in 2011. Nyquist, who will look to return to the track soon following the first loss of his career in the Preakness Stakes, has won five Grade 1 races for Gutierrez.
Nyquist’s old foe Exaggerator is too represented in this category in the shape of veteran jockey Kent Desormeaux. Kent, whose brother Keith trains Preakness winner, is also a previous winner of this award. Despite experiencing an indifferent campaign thus far aboard Exaggerator, second in the Derby, followed by a win over Nyquist in the Preakness to his most recent outing, a discouraging 11th in the Belmont despite going off heavy favorite, connections will remain hopeful team Desormeaux may yet finish this season out with a flourish.
The third and final winner of this season’s Triple Crown™ series, Creator in the Belmont Stakes, is justifiably included in the conversation with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. Ortiz Jr, who produced a quite spectacular ride aboard grey Creator in winning the Belmont, is the novice of the nominees, though bags of potential put into motion throughout the Belmont Stakes, where his cool head prevailed.
The field of four is made up by Javier Castellano. Though without a Triple Crown™ winner to his name this season, Castellano has been a model of consistency over the course of the season, with numerous Grade 1 winners to his name, as well as collecting the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey for the past three seasons running.
2017 Kentucky Derby®
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