(Knicks Go, with rider Albin Jimenez in the saddle / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
It is been an OK year, so far, for rider Albin Jimenez. Nothing like some of his glory years — like 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 — mind you. But it has been alright.
So far in 2019, Jimenez has made 590 starts and has booted home 73 winners. His win percentage hovers around .12%. and his horses have hit the board about .38% of the time. His mounts have totaled more than $2.365 million in purses.
Not a bad year, by any means. It has been OK.
But the numbers are a far cry from just 3 or 4 years ago, when it appeared that Jimenez was well on his way to riding into stardom.
In 2013, Jimenez rode 1,126 horses and won 161 races. In 2014, he rode 1,184 horses — a career high — and won 221 races, another career mark. In 2015, he won 204 races in 1,054 mounts. And, in 2016? He won 190 races from 1,041 rides and his horses won over $4 million in purses.
Just a year ago, in 2018, Jimenez mounts fell off to 698, but the rider had a career-high in purses won — totaling over $4.464 million.
And, he won the 2018 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity for trainer Ben Colebrook with a 2YO colt by the name of Knicks Go.
Everything looked so promising for the native of Chiriqui, Panama. Everything looked so bright. Everything looked to be going in the right direction. For sure.
Then again, nothing in the horse business is for sure.
Jimenez grew up around horses all of his life in his native country. At the tender age of 16, he attended the Laffit Pincay Jr. Jockey Training Academy at Presidente Remon Racetrack in Panama City. It was named after the great Hall of Fame rider.
In 2010, Jimenez got his first jockey’s license and got his first Stakes win with Aggressive Elegance in May of 2012. In 2016, he won the G2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs with Lady Fog Horn. It was his first Graded Stakes win.
The highlight of the career, to date, may have come in the Fall of 2018, though. It was then that he and his horse — Knicks Go — won the Breeders’ Futurity and then came back to run a game second to Game Winner in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.
It was glory time.
But 2019 has been a return to reality. There have been no Knicks Go to ride. No Grade 1s to win. No Breeders’ Cup rides in sight.
Still, when it comes to the Indiana and Kentucky circuit, Albin Jimenez continues to carve out a niche. And, more importantly, wins.
Especially at Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky.
Going into this Holiday Meet, Jimenez has won 6 previous jockey titles at the track located in Florence, KY. And, by the looks of things, he has his sights set on another.
After Saturday’s races were all said and done, Jimenez had bolted to an early and commanding lead in the race for the rider’s title. After the first 24 rides of the meet, Jimenez has 7 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds.
The next closest rider? Joseph D. Ramos, with 3 wins.
That’s a pretty good start. And, better than OK, too.
Here’s a closer look at the Top 20 riders so far this meet:
|4||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||11||2||0||1||$46,246||18%||3||27%|
|6||Fernando De La Cruz||18||0||5||1||$41,201||0%||6||33%|
|7||Joseph D. Ramos||14||3||1||4||$36,515||21%||8||57%|
|9||Julio A. Garcia||3||1||0||1||$32,748||33%||2||67%|
|11||Alex L. Canchari||14||1||1||3||$27,506||7%||5||36%|
|13||Rodney A. Prescott||20||1||0||2||$18,494||5%||3||15%|
|16||Deshawn L. Parker||9||0||2||0||$14,588||0%||2||22%|
(Statistics compiled by Equibase)