Back on the Derby trail

April, 29, 2012
LOUISVILLE, K.Y. -- I'm back at Churchill Downs for another shot at the Kentucky Derby, and just like anyone else who has a mount in this field, I know I'm fortunate to be here.

Even when you're riding at the upper levels of the sport, there are no guarantees. We saw that earlier this year when I got hurt, and the fact I was able to wind up on a pretty nice young horse with a great future going into this race is one of those privileges you don't take for granted.

I've known Steve Asmussen for a long time and he's always been a good trainer. We've done a little business here and there and I got on a lot of his young horses a couple of years ago when he first sent a string out to California. He gets in a pattern or rhythm of using certain guys, but it's kind of when you least expect it that he'll come around and give you a call. My agent and I let him know we were available and he should keep us in mind for the Derby after Bodemeister ran so big in Arkansas, and that's how I wound up on Daddy Nose Best.

Like I said, this is a nice young horse with a great future ahead of him. When they first gave me the mount, Scott Blasi sent me a picture of the colt and I was really impressed. He's a good-looking little horse and his past two races were solid improvements, moving forward -- the El Camino Real Derby win in February and the Sunland Derby victory in March.

I worked the colt on April 23; he'll work again tomorrow but I won't be aboard -- I get to watch this time. That was just a getting-to-know-you ride, and we're good to go. When I worked him, he handled really well. We went in company with Z Dager, who is multiple graded stakes placed, and "Daddy" put him away fairly easily turning for home. He finished up well and came home handily about a length in front of the other horse. People who watched his work were very impressed. The Daily Racing Form clocked him in six furlongs in 1:13.70, galloping out seven-eighths in 1:27.10, and gave him the "Work of the Day" mention online. Hopefully he goes as well tomorrow and it'll be "all systems go."

On Thursday, a documentary about me called "118 Days" airs at 8:00 p.m. ET on HRTV. You can watch the preview here. It follows the road from my surgery to the Kentucky Derby, all about the process of me trying to get back in time to find a horse and hopefully win. I really, really want to win the Kentucky Derby -- but you know, you can't want something so badly that you're consumed by just that one thing. I've enjoyed a phenomenal career and appreciate every accomplishment, it's just that this race is definitely still a goal. It's been around for a long time and it's very prestigious and I've come close with Pioneerof the Nile in 2009, so being within reach makes it that much more desirable.

I think the documentary is a really good piece and the guys who worked on it were great. Actually, it was a lot of fun, and we're trying to get in a good ending on Saturday. Stay tuned for more!



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