It's called the most exciting two minutes in sports -- and it all goes down with steady stewardship of the jockeys.

The Kentucky Derby is all about thoroughbreds, of course. Everyone remembers the great Secretariat, for example. But ask the average sports fan who rode the legendary horse, and you might get a blank stare (for the record, it was mostly Canadian Ron Turcotte).

The stars of the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday will still be the extraordinary, graceful horses. But the jockeys -- the directors of the talent -- will be behind the scenes, playing a crucial role in determining who will be celebrating at the end of those exhilarating 120 seconds.

Here's a look at the 19 jockeys (18 men, 1 woman) who hope to ride their horses to glory:

John Velazquez, Animal Kingdom

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.

Julien Leparoux, Dialed In

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.

Jon Court, Archarcharch

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.

Patrick Valenzuela, Comma to the Top

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.

Eddie Castro, Toby's Corner

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.

Anna Napravnik, Pants on Fire

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.

Víctor Espinoza, Midnight Interlude

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.

Alan García, Soldat

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.

Joel Rosario, Brilliant Speed

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.

Garrett Gomez, Masters of Hounds

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.

Corey Nakatani, Nehro

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.

Calvin Borel, Twice the Appeal

"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.

Rajiv Maragh, Mucho Macho Man

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.

Kerwin Clark, Decisive Moment

Clark 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.

Ramón Domínguez, Stay Thirsty

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.

Shaun Bridgmohan, Santiva

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.

Rafael Bejarano, Watch Me Go

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.

Jesus Castanon, Shackleford

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.

Mike Smith, Twinspired

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.

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