Israel Hernandez, a multiple stakes winning jockey, has ridden at Canterbury four consecutive years. Originally from Guerrero, Mexico, Israel started riding professionally in the United States in 2012. He ends Canterbury’s meet with more than 2,000 career starts, more than $486,238 in purses and is in the top 10 in Canterbury’s jockey standings.
Q: How long have you been riding?
A: I have been riding professionally for four years now and this is my fourth meet at Canterbury. I started riding in the United States in 2012 at Hawthorne.
Q: How did you get involved in horse racing industry?
A: I started riding in Mexico City at Hipodromo de las Americas and I rode a couple races there. I came to the United States when I got the opportunity to gallop horses in Ocala, Florida. After that I worked as a hotwalker and groom at Arlington Park in Chicago.
Q: Where is home to you?
A: Guerrero, Mexico.
Q: What is one of your favorite memories riding?
A: My favorite memory of racing was when I won my first stakes race in Phoenix at Turf Paradise.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a jockey?
A: I would probably still be home in Mexico. I would be doing something with animals because I’ve always been around them. I grew up on a small ranch where my father had horses, donkeys, chickens, and other animals.
Q: What other tracks have you raced at?
A: I’ve been at Canterbury for the last four years but I’ve also raced at Hawthorne, Arlington, and Turf Paradise.
Q: Do you have any future career goals?
A: The main goal I have for my riding career is to just try for more wins and get as many as I can.
Q: What do you do with your free time away from the racetrack?
A: I spend most of my off time with my wife and two daughters. They travel with me wherever I go so it’s nice to have them around with me.