Rajiv Maragh rides Haikal in Kentucky Derby

Friday, April 26, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaican born jockey Rajiv Maragh mounts up on the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Haikal in the prestigious Kentucky Derby known internationally as the “Run for the Roses”.

This year's race is down for competition on Saturday, May 4 at its regular track, Churchill Downs in Kentucky.

McLaughlin and Maragh are both looking for their first taste of success in the Kentucky Derby and are hopeful Haikal will provide it.

McLaughlin is for 0-for-8 with a runner-up finish in 2005 with Closing Argument.

Maragh is 0-for-5, including a third with Mucho Macho Man in 2011, but has been on some top horses such as Mission Impazible (2010), Alpha (2012), Wicked Strong (2014), and Irish War Cry (2017), and now on Haikal, Maragh is hoping to savour that winning Kentucky Derby moment that seemed unlikely in 2015 when he suffered eight broken vertebrae in a spill.

“Every year I've ridden in the Derby, I've been on a great horse with a great chance. I'm just taking it day to day now. It's not easy to win the Kentucky Derby, and I'm glad I have a good contender like Haikal,” the 33-year-old rider said. “The injury is long behind me. It was a hiccup. I've completely recovered and have had a good career since then, but when you win big races, you still reminisce about the tough times and appreciate what you have because it was almost taken away from you.”

Haikal (Daaher-Sablar) debuted November 18 at Aqueduct (New York) in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race and rallied from eighth to miss by a neck. In the final furlong alone, he made up 6 1/4 lengths. Since then he has developed the reputation of being a come-from-behind horse and is sure to find the 10-furlongs of the Kentucky Derby right up his alley.

Haikal earned most of his Kentucky Derby entry points when he won the Gotham Stakes in March.

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