Mexican jockey Victor Espinoza is once more under the limelight ahead of the $2 million classic at Churchill Downs on Saturday. This man shall ride on American Pharoah, installed as 5-2 favorite to win the 141st edition of the prestigious Kentucky Derby. The Mexican has been undefeated with American Pharoah for 4 races.
Twelve months after he steered California Chrome to a sensational victory in the opening leg of Triple Crown, Espinoza is now bidding for another glory with the select brand of jockeys in Kentucky Derby.
“I have had all the confidence in him since the first time I rode him at Del Mar,” Espinoza said, ecstatic over American Pharoah. He referred to the horse’s memorable run during last September’s Del Mar Futurity Group 1 race held in California.
“The way he won that day, I just said ‘Wow, he’s an amazing horse.'”
American Pharoah was trained by Bob Baffert.
Stakes are high as the recent track-record of the horse is rich with victory from the Rebel Stakes, Oaklawn Park in March, backed by winning the eight-length Arkansas Derby in April.
Though Espinoza feels that the world is yet to see the best of American Pharoah.
“I really don’t know how good he is,” revealed Espinoza, who’s looking for back-to-back victories in on Saturday starting from post position 18.
Dortmund, another horse trained by Baffert, is on the cards to pose the stiffest challenge to Pharoah. Shot 3-1, Dortmund shall come out of gate number 8 with Martin Garcia.
Prior to arriving at Kentucky Derby, Dortmund posted a thrilling victory in Santa Anita Derby at California in April, having a hundred-percent record in six career races.
Owner Kaleem Shah is hopeful. “It takes a horse with a certain demeanor, and speed and class to be undefeated, 6-for-6 so far, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I’m very hopeful that he will do well for himself.”