The Panamanian attacked jockey school when he was 15 years old. He won his first race in 2002. He came to the United States to compete in 2003.
Born in Mexico City, he rode his first winner, She's The World, in Mexico in 1989. He came to the U.S. later that day. He rode his 2000th winner in the first race of Keeneland's 2010 fall meeting.
Gomez, who was born in Arizona, won his first race in New Mexico in 1988. The son of a jockey, Gomez dropped out of high school in his sophomore year to start riding. In 2006, he donated $10,000 to the Winners Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping racetrackers with substance and alcohol abuse.
The California native has had 14 Derby mounts. He has never won, though. He's finished fourth twice, and sixth another time. Nakatani was a high school wrestling champion; that's where he first came across riding. Even though he'd never been on a horse, he wanted to ride. He learned to ride from Hall of Fame jockey and trainer Johnny Longden.
"I wanted to ride," Borel once told Louisana Life magazine. "I knew from day one, maybe when I was four or five, I wanted to be a jockey." The youngest of five sons, he grew up on his family's sugarcane farm and helped with the family's racing Quarter Horses.
The New Jerseyian first started taking riding lessons when mother Cindy Faherty ran a stable. Her father, Charles, is a blacksmith and shoe horses. She began competing when she was 13 years old.
Born in Perú, García won the 2008 Belmont Stakes. He was the leading apprentice in 2003 before coming to the U.S. His father, Dagoberto and his grandfather were riders in Perú, back when young Alan wanted to be a soccer player.
The Mexican drove a bus before kicking off his career. "It's a lot easier riding horses than driving in that traffic in Mexico City," he said. He attended jockey school for a year, and won his first race at Hippodromo de las Americas in 1992. He moved to the U.S. shortly thereafter. He won the Derby in 2002.
The Jamaica native moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when he was 13 years old. His father, Gerald, introduced him to racing. But his father wouldn't let him become a jockey until he graduated high school.
Domínguez, a native of Venezuela, began riding horses when he was 16 years old. His disapproving father wanted him to become a doctor. He came to the U.S. in 1995, and began riding in Hialeah the next year.
Maragh, a native of Jamaica, is the son of a jockey. He kicked off his training career in South Florida. His brother, Shamir, is an apprentice rider who who got his first win at Calder Race Course on May 2010. Rajiv Maragh galloped horses for his father.
He attended races in his native Perú, and "fell in love" with riding. He groomed horses to earn money for riding school, where he stayed for 18 months. He went to the U.S. in 2002 with the help of trainer Dante Zanelli Sr., and won his first race in the U.S. at River Downs later that year.
Valenzuela, a Colorado native, is the latest Valenzuela to ride. His father, A.C., and uncles Milo, Santiago and Mario, were all riders. His brother Fabian, too, has competed. Patrick Valenzuela won the 1989 Derby and Preakness Stakes with Sunday Silence, and just missed out on the Triple Crown when he lost the Belmont Stakes.
Born in New Mexico, Smith began riding when he was 11 years old. He kicked off his licensed career in 1982, and won his first race that year -- at the age of 16 -- with Forever Man at Sante Fe in New Mexico. He has competed in three Derbys, but has never won.
Born into the sport, Leparoux is the son a former jockey who later became a trainer. He grew up in Chantilly, France, and began racing at age 18. He reportedly wanted to be a jockey since he was a child. His father, Robert, who taught him the sport, died in 2003.
Velazquez, who was scheduled to ride Uncle Mo before the thoroughbred had to drop out, has been riding since March 1990. He kicked off his career in New York. He began riding in his Puerto Rico in June 1988. His first winner was El Comandante in 1990.
Born in Gainsville, Florida, Court began riding at Centennial Park, a now-defunct track in Colorado. His first winner was Nevada's Hope. For Court, riding is a family affair. His wife, Krystal, is the daughter of Midwest trainer Jinks Fire and niece of Earlie Fires.
The native of the Dominican Republic won his first race in July 2000 at the Galapagos Hippodromo V Centenario there. He grew up on a farm in Santo Domingo, where he used horses for transportation. He attended jockey school for six months and by 14 years old he went professional.
Clark (not shown here) got his first win at Evangeline Downs in 1975 and won $2,000. He said his dad trained quarterhorses. He became a contact rider for Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia in the 1993 and rode there for three years.
The thoroughbreds are the stars, but success will depend on the relatively unknown jockeys.