Throughout the months and days leading up to the Kentucky Derby, jockeys try to find the mount they want for the Derby. They want to find the horse they think will win and, at the same time, keep owners and trainers they ride for on other occasions happy, says an article in the New York Post.
For instance, Javier Castellano was on early Derby favorite Union Rags, but opted for Todd Pletcher-trained Algorithms. His agent, Matt Muzikar, said the choice had a lot to do with the client. He rode only Union Rags for trainer Michael Matz, but has had numerous mounts and Derby prospects with Todd Pletcher.
The goal, however, is to pick the Derby winner. Jockeys don't always make the right choice. Bill Shoemaker was the regular rider for Nothern Dancer, but opted to ride Hill Dancer in the Derby that year, Northern Dancer beat him by a neck. More recently, Pat Day, Mike Smith and Jerry Bailey have seen horses they rode in earlier races but opted off of, go on to win the Derby.
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