Espinoza Hoping Tribalist Kicks Off New Year On Winning Note In Joe Hernandez

It’s light years from American Pharoah, California Chrome and Stellar Wind, champions all, but relatively speaking, Victor Espinoza and Tribalist are quite a team.

The Hall of Fame jockey, the regular pilot on each of the aforementioned three Eclipse Award winners, has ridden Tribalist in all of his eight career starts, never finishing out of the money, with four wins, two seconds and two thirds.

Espinoza will be aboard the seven-year-old gelded son of the late Tribal Rule again in Monday’s New Year’s Day feature at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., the $75,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes for four-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.

“He tries every time he runs,” Espinoza said of the Blake Heap trainee. “He’s been working good and doing great right now. He’s been training more regularly than in the past. Normally he runs once, then gets some time off, but right now he’s moving along pretty good.”

As for Espinoza, 46, who has enjoyed success of mythic proportions the last several years despite being in his fourth decade on earth, well past prime time for most athletes, he still seeks to grasp yet another brass ring in the whirlwind game of racing.

“I feel great and I’m looking forward to next year,” said Espinoza, who is represented by agent Brian Beach. “Hopefully, I can find a few more good horses and win big races.

“That’s my New Year’s resolution for 2018.”

The field for the Joe Hernandez, named for the original Voice of Santa Anita, who served as the track’s legendary announcer from Dec. 25, 1934 until Jan. 27, 1972: Gold Rush Dancer, Evin Roman, 20-1; Pee Wee Reese, Joe Talamo, 3-1; Cimpl Man, Rajiv Maragh, 15-1; Mr. Roary, Mike Smith, 10-1; Tribalist, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; Law Abidin Citizen, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Om, Drayden Van Dyke, 7-2; Richard’s Boy, Flavien Prat, 7-2; Krsto Skye, Stewart Elliott, 20-1; Next Shares, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; and also eligibles Smokey Image, Gary Stevens, 15-1 Sycamore Lane, Kent Desormeaux, 15-1 and Conquest Daddyo, Tyler Conner, 20-1.

The post Espinoza Hoping Tribalist Kicks Off New Year On Winning Note In Joe Hernandez appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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