Harry Hernandez knew he wanted to be a jockey since he was 4 years old and followed his father Andy Hernandez to the racetrack, and his dad is still riding in Puerto Rico.
“Since I’ve been little, I’ve went with him to the morning workouts, to the racetrack,” Hernandez said. “Right after school I used to go right to the racetrack with him.”
Harry started riding horses in Puerto Rico and that is where he attended jockey school. His first start in America was at Parx Racing in Philadelphia February 2015.
Hernandez said the riding styles between America and Puerto Rico are “very different.”
“Here, you break, you get your position, then you drop down. In Puerto Rico, you stay wide” Hernandez said. “We break, we stay there, sometimes we do come down, but the horses are all around.”
Hernandez attributes his success to those who support him.
“My family always supports me, my friends and my agent, Scott (Stevens),” Hernandez said. “The guy has a golden heart, like he is always positive.”
Stevens is in the Canterbury Hall of Fame as a jockey who has over 6,500 mounts but is now back as a jockey agent, representing Hernandez.
Stevens talked Hernandez into riding opening day at Turf Paradise where he had three mounts.
“First one he rode paid $56. Comes back, he runs second on the turf, then he wins the stakes,” Stevens said.
Hernandez’s competitve nature pushes him to race, but his friends and family support him along the way, including his dad.
Between January and March 2021, Hernandez “didn’t want to race” while he was at Tampa Bay Downs.
COVID-19 was complicating business at the racetrack and Hernandez was struggling to secure wins, but a call with his dad brought him back to his passion.
“When I called my dad, I explained everything to him, telling him I just feel like I don’t want to ride,” Hernandez said. “When I told him that, he was silent for a couple seconds.”
His dad encouraged him to keep going and not give up, and a two week rest at home refreshed him, getting his mind “ready to work.”
At Canterbury Park, Hernandez has had 25 wins and is “hungry” for more.
“I really like the way they work here,” Hernandez said. “The track has treated me good.”