Retama Park was buzzing with excitement when post positions were drawn Wednesday for Saturday’s big night of turf racing. Just five days ago jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. booted home 9-1 Fort Larned to capture the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita. Before the ink was dry on his six-figure winning check, Hernandez was named to ride Saturday at Retama Park in the $75,000 M2 Technology La Senorita Stakes and $75,000 El Joven Stakes.
“Mike Stidham gave the call to Brian Hernandez and we are thrilled to have a jockey of Brian’s caliber ride here,” said Retama Park Racing Secretary James Leatherman.
Stidham ships in 2-year-old filly Every Way from his base at Churchill Downs after two impressive starts. The chestnut juvenile by leading turf sire City Zip broke her maiden at first asking then ran a big race to finish third in the Grade 3 Mazarine at Woodbine in Canada. Stidham adds blinkers for the first time on Every Way Saturday night.
Adding blinkers usually helps a race horse get into the race earlier and Every Way will need to show speed if she is to be a factor in the M2Technology La Senorita. She breaks from post 11 and cannot afford to be shuffled back spotting the leaders a number of lengths in the one-mile event on the grass.
Mark Martinez, CEO of M2 Technology and sponsor the La Senorita for 10 years, said he is on “cloud nine” to have Hernandez add flavor and status to the race.
“We have a fantastic party scheduled for 150 of our closest friends and clients Saturday night. This is awesome,” added Martinez.
The M2 Technology La Senorita is part of a trio of top turf stakes. Saturday night’s card includes the $75,000 El Joven for 2-year-old colts, with Hernandez riding Texas Bling for trainer Danele Durham, and the $50,000 Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for older horses.