Victor Espinoza: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Jockey Victor Espinoza will ride American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. (Getty)

Jockey Victor Espinoza will ride American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. (Getty)

With over 3,200 career victories, you could say Victor Espinoza has this jockeying thing down.

Those wins have earned over a mind-boggling $173 million. In 2015 alone, Espinoza has 43 victories, earning himself and his bosses over $7 million.

He’s a bully on the track, but a saint off it, donating 10 percent of his earnings to the City of Hope, which supports pediatric cancer research.

Two weeks ago, he racked up another win in a Triple Crown race at the 141st Kentucky Derby while riding favorite American Pharoah, a Bob Baffert-trained horse.

On Saturday, May 16, he’ll be in the hunt for another as he rides American Pharoah in the 140th Preakness Stakes.

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Here’s what you need to know about Espinoza:

1. Espinoza Was the Winning Jockey in the Kentucky Derby in 2014

ABR Interviews Victor Espinoza After the DerbyJockey Victor Esponoza talks to Fox Sports 1's Richard Migliore about winning the 2014 Kentucky Derby on California Chrome. He also compares the feeling of winning the Kentucky on California Chrome to winning the 2002 Kentucky Derby on War Emblem. americasbestracing.net2014-05-04T23:15:55.000Z

Espinoza rode California Chrome to wins in the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but fell short of the Triple Crown after finishing 4th in the Belmont Stakes.

Tonalist won at Belmont, though California Chrome was the heavy favorite.

Espinoza won all 6 races on California Chrome before Belmont. The horse had won 2 of 6 races before Espinoza took over.

There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

2. He Also Won the 1st 2 Legs of the Triple Crown in 2002

Sarava – 2002 Belmont StakesThe surprise Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem found himself at Belmont Park with a chance to take the Triple Crown. A confirmed front-runner, he stumbled badly at the start, virtually eliminating his chances. That set it up for an upset and what an upset it was. 70-1 Sarava who won the Belmont, becoming the longest-priced…2012-04-20T16:38:15.000Z

It wasn’t the first time Espinoza won the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

In 2002, he rode War Emblem to Derby and Preakness victories, only to fall short at Belmont.

A favorite to win, War Emblem stumbled out of the gate, virtually ending any chance to win almost immediately.

70/1 shot Sarava won the Belmont in 2002.

Saturday, he’ll have a chance to accomplish the feat for the third time.

3. Espinoza Has Won 2 ESPYs



Espinoza’s efforts and successes didn’t go unnoticed, though.

He won the ESPY Award for Best Jockey in both 2002 and 2014.

The ESPYs are ESPN’s annual awards for best athletic performances.

From 2000 to 2007, he finished in the top 15 for year earnings.

4. He Is 5-foot-2 & From Mexico



Like most jockeys, Espinoza isn’t a big guy. He stands 5-foot-2 and weighs in at roughly 112 pounds.

The 42-year-old Mexico native now lives in California.

Espinoza got first win in 1992 at Hippodromo de las Americas. He came to the United States the following year.

He won a career-best 259 races in 2006.

5. Espinoza’s Brother Is Also a Jockey

Victor Espinoza Call 811 Public Service AnnouncementVictor Espinoza, two-time Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champion, promotes safety on and off the track. Victor became an ambassador of the Call 811 Before You Dig safety message just prior to winning the 2014 Kentucky Derby and continues to promote the message, including in this public service announcement. To learn more about 811, please…2015-03-19T20:07:04.000Z

Victor isn’t the only Espinoza involved in the horse racing business. His older brother Jose Luis is also a jockey.

Jose Luis rode Giant Finish to a 10th place finish in his first Kentucky Derby in 2013.

Victor is unmarried and has no children.

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