Midwestern-based jockeys Brian Hernandez Jr., a leading candidate for an Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice, and Justin Shepherd have agreed to wear the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's logo on their pants.
Hernandez won the Nov. 21 Remington MEC Mile at Remington Park aboard the Steve Asmussen-trained Smooth Bid while sporting the TRF logo.
Both riders are regulars on the Kentucky circuit, but the TRF logo was not worn at the recent Churchill Downs fall meet. All parties involved agreed it was not the proper time to introduce the pants because of on-going problems there involving jockey insurance issues. However, Shepherd and Hernandez agreed to wear the pants whenever they ride in another state, if allowed by the local racing commissions.
Churchill Downs' corporate racing manager Kelly Danner was instrumental in getting the riders to put the TRF logo on their pants and said she hopes to enlist more jockeys in the future.
"Both riders were more than happy to wear the pants," Danner said. "I believe we can move forward with Brian Hernandez Jr. as he will be a wonderful spokesman for our cause. He is a caring individual with wonderful work ethics and respect for both people and animals. He is a team player to say the least."