David Flores, 40, has been around the block a time or two, but he has yet to find his way to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle. This year, he has two potential mounts in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), with neither runner guaranteed to start.
Flores is the regular rider for Jim Kasparoff trainee Bob Black Jack, having ridden the colt in six of his seven starts. However, Bob Black Jack is number 21 on the graded earnings list for the 20 slots in the Derby starting gate. His chances of entering hang mostly on the route taken by Flores' other potential mount, Behindatthebar. Flores has also been aboard that runner for all but one career start, including a win in the April 19 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II). But trainer Todd Pletcher has not decided if the colt, 19th on the graded earnings list, will run in the Derby.
As far as Flores is concerned, a mount is a mount, and either runner will give him his chance at a first Derby win from 10 attempts. Aside from lacking such an honor, there isn't much Flores hasn't done. He scored his first career win at Caliente in 1984; has won riding titles at Santa Anita, Del Mar, Oak Tree, Fairplex (six from 1989-1994), and Los Alamitos; holds nine victories in $1-million dollar races—including the 2003 Arlington Million (gr. I), 2001 United Arab Emirates Derby (UAE-II), and 2001 Godolphin Mile (UAE-III); and has won three Breeders' Cup events.
Career wins: 3,146
Born: Feb. 5, 1968, Tijuana, Mexico
Residence: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Family: Daughters Cinthya, Natalya, Priscilla, and Tayler
Favorite sport: "Golf. My best score was probably around 72."
Favorite food: "Mexican, absolutely."
I can't live without: "Probably a cell phone. Or maybe my cowboy hat."
The fastest I've ever driven was: "135 miles per hour on my way to Vegas from California, just to see how it feels. I did it for a little while and then slowed down because it was too fast; I was worried about hitting a bump or something."
Another active rider I admire is: "Alex Solis and Mike Smith. Those two guys are little bit older than me and they’re still in good shape and still riding very well."
If I could trade careers with one pro athlete, I would: "Be Tiger Woods. That guy is amazing; he's everybody’s hero."
One thing I wish people know about jockeys: "We love the horses; that's rule number one. The passion for the horse has to be complete, no doubts, none of that stuff. Somebody who wants to be a jockey has to love horses first; there's no other way."
The best part about winning this year's Derby would be: "Dedicating the race to my dad, David Flores Sr. He passed away seven years ago, and he taught me everything that I know. He loved me and I love him very much. I miss him."