11/05/2008 12:00AM

Hernandez enjoying solid meet


Jockey Rafael Hernandez has made a big splash since arriving at Hoosier Park 3 1/2 weeks ago. The 23-year-old native of Puerto Rico had won with 25 of his 181 Hoosier mounts coming into Wednesday's card. Hernandez won the riding title this year at Fairmount Park.

"I have won riding titles at Fairmount the last four years," said Hernandez.

Hernandez went to the jockey school in Puerto Rico for two years before beginning his riding career at Tampa Bay Downs four years ago.

"I always wanted to be a jockey," Hernandez said. "I had an uncle who rode a long time ago, and doing this is something that I grew up dreaming of."

After Tampa, Hernandez made a stop at Churchill Downs before settling at Fairmount, where most of his mounts and 624 lifetime wins have come. He has a 17 percent win rate.

Hernandez decided to come to Hoosier when the Fairmount meet ended.

"A lot of the outfits that I rode for at Fairmount were coming here and an agent, Jimmy McNerny, called and told me he thought we could do well together here," he said.

Hernandez plans on going to Turfway Park when the Hoosier meet ends Nov. 23.