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Big Fish, Little Pond

Posted by on 12/22/2014 10:14:03 PM

Sometimes all one needs is to go to work, punch the clock, do the job and do it well daily and that is just what handicappers saw that followed Fairmont Park with the rider Rafael Hernandez.

And every once in awhile good things happen to good people and Hernandez was fortunate enough that one of the best trainers in the country had caught his attention and was about to change his life.

Timing once again proved to be everything in life. For Hernandez it was out of the blue and it just may change the direction of his already successful career.

Switch to a lazy summer day in Florida when a prominent trainer was watching the racing channel since it was a dark day at Gulfstream Park .

The trainer was Wesley Ward and he is not only one of the best trainers in the country, he knows a thing or two back riding horses.

Back in the day he was the leading apprentice in the country and he notice when watching Fairmount Park that one rider was doing absolutely everything right.

Ward was watching the races with a friend that happens to be a jockey agent and was looking for a new prospect after his rider Elvis Trujillo moved this tack to California. After scrutinizing the Fairmount races, both men thought they had come across a nugget that was not yet polished, or in other words, a diamond in the rough.

After a surprise call by Ward, Hernandez eventually wanted to give it a try in Florida. He talked it over with his family, they were bound for Hawthorne where he has had great success but then the sunshine won over the day and Florida it was.

Before long, Hernandez was getting business from the good barn of Mike Maker and from the veteran conditioner Buff Bradley and with continued success more will start to use him.

With just about everything, it comes down to hard work and this rider fits the bill. Hernandez: “I didn’t ride that many races on grass as Fairmount doesn’t have a grass course but Wesley has been teaching me. I’ve been listening and everything is good now.”

Bettors that bet on Hernandez aloft a runner named Browns Gap recently got paid. The rider gave his count a ground-saving trip and won at $83. 60.

For the record, this is what Hernandez did at the recently concluded Fairmount meet. He had 290 mounts, and 113 won for a 39% clip while 74% of his runners were in the money.

This is not an overnight sensation either.

Hernandez toughed it out in his first year in the states in 2004 but the next year he was hitting at 17%. He has won at least 200 races the last 4 years, is a 21% rider for his career and his mounts have run in the money 49%.

Being with a barn like Ward’s will give him a ton of opportunity. Ward races at venues around the country and when these two team up, get down.

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