What to know about Brian Hernandez, Mystik Dan’s Kentucky Derby-winning jockey

Brian Hernandez made history at the 2024 Kentucky Derby, riding Mystik Dan to a thrilling victory in a photo finish.

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Born and raised in Louisiana, Hernandez’s triumph was a culmination of years of dedication and skill in the world of horse racing. The tense moments before the official announcement of his win felt like an eternity to Hernandez, but when Mystik Dan was declared the winner, it was a moment of sheer joy and disbelief.

For Hernandez, the victory was not just a personal achievement but also a continuation of his family’s legacy in horse racing. With two decades of experience as a jockey, reaching the pinnacle of his career was a testament to his talent and perseverance. What made his victory even more special was the fact that horse racing runs deep in his blood, further enriching the significance of his accomplishment.

In addition to his Kentucky Derby win, Hernandez’s feat also places him in elite company as one of only eight jockeys to have won both the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby in the same year. This remarkable achievement underscores Hernandez’s exceptional skill and his ability to navigate the challenges of elite horse racing events.

 

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Who is Brian Hernandez?

Brian Hernandez’s masterful guidance of Mystik Dan to victory at the Kentucky Derby showcased his exceptional skill and strategic prowess. With precise instructions and a keen understanding of the race dynamics, Hernandez propelled Mystik Dan to the forefront of racing history, securing a memorable win for trainer Kenny McPeek and owners Lance Gasaway, Daniel Hamby, and 4G Racing.

This triumph at the Kentucky Derby adds another illustrious chapter to Hernandez’s already impressive career. Having previously steered stallion Fort Larned to victory in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic and earned an Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey, Hernandez has long been recognized as a talented and accomplished jockey. However, his victory at the Kentucky Derby elevates him to new heights of acclaim and solidifies his place among the sport’s elite.

Reflecting on the race, Hernandez highlighted the crucial moment when Mystik Dan surged ahead around the far turn, demonstrating both his horse’s determination and his own strategic maneuvering. Despite facing stiff competition from Sierra Leone and Forever Young, Hernandez’s tactical decision-making and his horse’s impressive speed propelled them to victory, fulfilling a childhood dream that Hernandez had harbored since his days riding his bike around his grandparents’ farm.

Hernandez’s success in the saddle is also a testament to his family’s deep connection to horse racing. Following in the footsteps of his father, Brian Sr., and joined by his brother, Colby, and sister, Courtney, Hernandez has continued the family tradition with distinction. The victory at the Kentucky Derby is not just a personal achievement but a collective triumph for the entire Hernandez family, who have shared in Brian’s journey from aspiring youngster to Kentucky Derby-winning jockey.

With his historic win at the Kentucky Derby, Brian Hernandez has etched his name in racing lore and solidified his status as one of the sport’s brightest stars.

 

Brian Hernandez’s career earnings

Brian Hernandez’s impressive career earnings of $127,481,788, as reported by America’s Best Racing, underscore his remarkable success and longevity in the world of horse racing. This substantial sum reflects not only Hernandez’s skill and talent as a jockey but also his consistent performance and dedication to the sport over the years. From his early days as an apprentice jockey to his recent triumph at the Kentucky Derby, Hernandez’s earnings serve as a testament to his enduring impact on the racing world and his status as one of its most accomplished athlete.