By Robert Elkin
Any jockey would like to test his skill in two particular races in the United States. The duo of races are the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup. Both of them draw a great deal of attention and attract the cream of the crop even though the Derby, a three-year-old event, usually has a large field. Many jockeys have participated in one or both of these fixtures.
One jockey is certainly looking forward to ride in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup. He is Rajiv Maragh. Rajiv is among the leaders for the top jockey honors during this current Belmont Park meeting as well as in New York State. Maragh is hoping to move up in the jockey standings.
However, for the immediate future it’s the Breeders’ Cup consisting of a number of races in different age, sex and distances and even the course whether it be on dirt or the turf and over a two-day span.
Recently, the 25-year-old native of Jamaica, West Indies rode two mounts — Tizway in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and Air Support in the Juvenile Turf. He has been on both of them before.
Air Support has won a turf race at Belmont Park.
“Air Support road an impressive race and ‘put away’ the runner-up in the stretch,” Rajiv said. “He is coming off a successful race. And Tizway I rode a bunch of times. He is coming off an impressive race in the Kelso.”
To ride in a Kentucky Derby has to be one of the best times even though he hasn’t won it. He has ridden and came out victorious in races at other tracks throughout the nation this year.
He always wanted to ride in a Breeders’ Cup and Derby. A jockey all year hopes to be in a Breeders’ Cup. There is more than one race in the day’s activities. Big money is on the line.
“It’s hard to compare a Breeders’ Cup with a Kentucky Derby,” he went on. “A jockey has a lot more chances to make money because there are more races at the Breeders’ Cup than at a Derby. There are multiple chances of getting big money. A Kentucky Derby is one race that could define a whole career if you win. It’s America’s race!,
“A Breeders’ Cup race is just another race with a bigger purse. And you’re on national television. The whole world is watching. You’re on center stage on a Breeders’ Cup (race).”
Maragh lived in Jamaica until he was age 13. There he played all sports-soccer, cricket, American football, and basketball. He attended high school in Florida and had his first mount toward the end of 2003 at Calder.
He gradually moved up the latter as far as being a jockey. He said that his best win ever was on Music Note in the Beldame last year when he came from behind and took the lead at the 3/16 pole and crossed the finish line first. His whole family was in attendance.
The first race of the two-day festivities is on Friday Nov. 5 at 2:00 p.m. at Church Hill Downs.