Herrera, Monroy battle for the jockey title in Ferndale

Photo courtesy of the Humboldt County Fair

The battle for the belt buckle is heating up heading into the final weekend of horse racing action at the Humboldt County Fair.

Both Hugo Herrera and Francisco Monroy are in the midst of an exciting race for the 2023 Fair jockey championship, with the symbolic belt buckle going to the winner.

Six-time Fair champion Herrera holds the lead at the midway point of this year’s meet, with three days of action concluded and three more remaining.

Herrera has six wins for 49 points, based on the special Gunnar Froines scoring system which awards five points for a win, three points for a second-place finish and one point for a third.

Herrera rode home three winners on Sunday at what he describes as his “favorite track,” on the way to opening up a 12-point cushion over Monroy.

And following the final race of the day on Sunday, Herrera announced that he would stay for the final three days of the Humboldt meet rather than go back to Golden Gate Fields, which opens a fall session on Saturday.

“I love riding at Ferndale, and based on my first week’s success and the business I have lined up for the second week here I am going to ride here,” he said. “Capturing a seventh riding title at Ferndale would mean a lot to me.”

Only Danny Boag, who claimed eight riding crowns here, has more Humboldt County Fair jockey titles than Herrera.

Monroy, who won three races on Saturday, is the only rider within shouting distance of Herrera.  

Monroy has 37 points, but he has a lot of “live” mounts lined up over the final three days as he bids to overhaul Herrera.

Jose Rodriguez is third in the standings with 27 points, followed by Taylor Smith (20) and Pedro Flores (18).

Isidro Tamayo, bolstered by five wins, leads the trainer’s race with 30 points, followed by Emilio Guerrero (26), Jesus Ramos and Teri Beckner (25 apiece), Angela Aquino (13) and Bruno Maelfeyt (9).

Racing resumes on Friday with first post at 3:07 p.m.

The Humboldt season will conclude at the weekend with Saturday and Sunday action starting at 2:07 p.m. both days.

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