Kyle Frey is now into his second year of riding full-time at Del Mar and he has already established himself as a top-10 jockey who can be relied upon to get the best out his horse. Frey has won 12 races this summer, good enough for ninth place in the rider standings.
“It’s been productive,” Frey says. “The first week was really good. I really felt an upward trajectory. All my horses ran good, they were placed well. It’s just that in a lot of the seconds we hooked good horses. That’s Del Mar. You can enter aggressively and you’re still going to run into some monsters.”
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Frey enjoyed huge success in Northern California, winning four straight riding titles at Golden Gate Fields before moving his tack down to Southern California last year. This year, he came in with a plan.
“Comin’ in I just wanted to be in the Top 10,” Frey says. “Then after that first week, I thought I might shoot for the top five. Things went a little slower so I had to rearrange my goals to keep myself a little more level, and I went back to the original goal. That way you don’t get overly frustrated. Keep it realistic.”
Frey is coming off his best year ever in regards to earnings, compiling over $4.5 million in 2021. He has a shot to best that mark this year despite all the changes to the Del Mar jockey colony brought about by the departure of Flavien Prat in April. Frey says the impact of Prat’s departure went deep.
“When we got here (at Del Mar), multiple people showed up,” Frey says, “like Flo (Florent Geroux) and a few other people and it felt like that was more of a curve ball than anything. Not in the sense that they came and took the best horses but they took the second and thirds, horses you could fall into a winning spot with. It definitely softened your momentum because then you have to ride the third and fourth best.”
He says you can still win with those horses but it’s always nicer to have the top horse in a race.
”If you’re 10 lengths the best you can make three or four mistakes and still get the job done,” Frey says. “I love the challenge and all it does is make you a better rider.”
Taking the time to study the horses you ride and the races you ride in also makes you a better rider and Frey does plenty of that. But he abides by strict guidelines when it comes to his preparations.
“I don’t do my homework too far ahead,” Frey says. “I feel like the more I look at it, the more I see things that aren’t there and I overanalyze the situation. So I just wait for the day of and, in the jocks room, I’ll evaluate all my races in the Form. I’ll also look at replays if I see something in the comments, or if it’s a horse that I don’t know, just so I can get an idea as to what got that horse beat and what’s helped that horse win in the past.”
Frey is already a winner off the track. He and his wife, Miya, are expecting their second child later this year.