Jockey Mitchell Murrill has enjoyed a lucrative first year riding fulltime in Kentucky recording 15 wins at Churchill Downs and finishing in the top three in 52 of his last 100 starts. Now the Alabama-native will roll into Fair Grounds with hopes to continue his success in New Orleans.
“We’ve been very fortunate to ride a lot of nice horses this year in Kentucky,” Murrill said. “My agent (Tim Hanisch) and I have worked hard all year on the backside getting business and the hard work has paid off.”
Murrill, who began riding professionally in Louisiana when he was just 20 years old, has typically ridden at Arlington Park in the spring but he decided to turn his attention to riding in Kentucky.
“I’m going to ride hard to try and get the best finish we possibly can,” Murrill said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have the support of many trainers on the backside to give us the opportunities to ride nice horses.”
Murrill is no stranger to the limelight having played the guitar in front of thousands of people prior to becoming a jockey at Alabama’s Pecan Festival.
“I got used to the pressure at an early age performing guitar in front of thousands of people at the Pecan Festival,” said Murrill, who still performs locally when he’s not riding. “Having thousands of people support you like that gives you a lot of confidence. It translates a lot to confidence when riding knowing not to get nervous.”
To date, Murrill has won 76 races with more than $2.5 million in purse earnings. He was scheduled to ride three horses on Sunday before making the 10-hour journey to Fair Grounds for the next four months.