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Golden Gate: Jockey Juan Hernandez returns north
By Chuck Dybdal
Juan Hernandez, who was one of Northern California’s top jockeys after his arrival from Mexico in 2009, is returning to Northern California after trying the Southern California circuit last summer.
The 20-year-old Hernandez went south after the Golden Gate Fields season concluded and had 10 winners at Del Mar while getting acquainted with the trainers down there. He had a strong meeting at Fairplex, finishing third in the standings with 18 victories from 73 mounts, a solid 25 percent win rate.
His Fairplex success didn’t turn out to be a springboard to continued success. He had won only three races from 61 mounts at the current Santa Anita meeting before his decision to return to Golden Gate Fields.
Hernandez enjoyed success here with leading trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, winning nine of 36 starts for him. He rides twice Thursday, both times for Hollendorfer. On Friday, he has four mounts from four different barns.
Hernandez had good success riding for John Sadler down south and may pick up rides when Sadler sends runners north. His lone mount at the current Golden Gate meet was a second-place finish when he came north to ride the Sadler-trained Catrageous on Jan. 11. The 3-year-old filly graduated Sunday.
Frey serving more days
Kyle Frey, fourth in the Golden Gate jockey standings with 16 victories, served the first two days of a seven-day suspension last weekend. The stewards here suspended him for his Jan. 26 ride aboard Egyptian Femme, who was disqualified from second to fifth.
Frey also missed the final two weeks of the Golden Gate fall meeting because of suspensions.
Frey returns from the suspension Feb. 15 and will ride Wildcat Moon for trainer Jeff Bonde in the Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby the next day.
Southern California-based Saul Arias was suspended three days for his ride aboard Tricky Shane at Golden Gate on Friday. He guided Tricky Shane to an apparent maiden victory over Cardio Royale, but his mount was disqualified from first to second after drifting in late. Earlier in the day, he guided the Doug O’Neill-trained Greeley Express to victory, catching favored Rush In to win by a half-length in a one-mile optional claimer that was a possible prep for the El Camino Real Derby.
◗ Leading rider Russell Baze won three races on both Saturday and Sunday to increase his victory total to 45. Dennis Carr, who remains second in the standings with 30 victories, also had a three-bagger Saturday.
He's a very good rider. Hernandez will help bolster a fairly weak colony perhaps six deep right now.. Regarding Kyle Frey, he flat cannot ride. Terrible instincts. Gets on live horses for top barns and finishes out of the money all the time.. When he's covered up he panics and sucks out of his position. The other day I saw him ride a horse six wide the whole mile. He had a chance to ease in behind and save ground and just froze and went wide. He's awful..
Hernandez back at the Gate is not good news for Carr.
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