#US RACING: Preakness next for Kentucky Derby Winner Brian Hernandez

Brian Fernandez Jr
Brian Fernandez Jr

Brian Hernandez Jr spent the leadup to the Kentucky Derby watching replays of winning rides by fellow jockeys to see what it would take to get the job done with Mystik Dan, particularly those of Hall of Famer Calvin Borel.

The 2010 Derby Borel won with Super Saver stuck out as the blueprint to hang tight to the rail, get the lead and cross the finish line first.

"We just needed to be able to save every inch of ground," Hernandez said. "That's what we were able to do."

Hernandez and Mystik Dan made Borel proud with one of the most efficient, masterfully made trips in recent history, traveling just 8 feet more than the 1¼-mile Derby distance measured from the furthest inside part of the track, according to GPS data calculated by Equibase.

It was evidence of just how talented the 38-year-old is, and he's back aboard Saturday in the Preakness looking to add a second Triple Crown victory to his resume and establish himself in the top tier of jockeys currently riding.

"As long as you don't let the pressure get to you, I think, is the biggest thing," Hernandez said.

"You just kind of go out there every day, work, just keep showing up and when you get good horses like we have right now, you just have to enjoy them and just let them do their job. That's the biggest thing is just trusting the horse and letting him carry you along."

Trusting Hernandez at Churchill Downs delivered Kenny McPeek his first Derby victory and made him the first trainer since 1952 to win that race and the Kentucky Oaks in the same year. That paid off because Hernandez guided Mystik Dan to a win by a nose in the race's closest finish in more than three-quarters of a century.

"Definitely the ride that Brian put on was the, what, 4 inches difference that we needed," McPeek said.


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