Jockey Joe Bravo has had eight Breeders’ Cup mounts since his riding career started in 1988. Amid a career resurgence, the 44-year-old will nearly double that number later this month at Keeneland.
Bravo was aboard promising 2-year-old Greenpointcrusader — one of his six anticipated mounts in the 13 championship races Oct. 30-31 — on Monday for a maintenance breeze in Lexington.
Within striking distance of breaking his single-year career earnings record, Bravo didn’t ride the Bernardini colt before his latest score in Belmont Park’s Grade I Champagne Stakes.
“This was the first time, and he was awesome,” the New Jersey native said. “He is pretty pleasant to ride and he wanted to do it.”
Greenpointcrusader went five furlongs in 1:01.80 over a fast Keeneland track, the colt a neck away from an undefeated record in three races. Also, Greenpointcrusader was on Monday dropped to 25-1 co-second choice in the Wynn Las Vegas’ 2016 Kentucky Derby odds.
Bravo has ridden horses to more than $7 million in earnings so far in 2015. His best previous mark came in 2004 at $8,169,405.
Mounts in the Breeders’ Cup could put Bravo over the top. He’ll also be on Merry Meadow for the Filly & Mare Sprint, Sheer Drama in the Longines Distaff, Big Blue Kitten in the Turf, Watsdachances for the Filly & Mare Turf and Conquest Daddyo in the Juvenile Turf.
“To be honest with you, I’m just glad to be part of the game,” Bravo said last week. “If I don’t win another race the rest of the year, I’m (still) ecstatic. It’s just nice to be able to come out here (and ride). I’ve been injured a bunch and it sucks to sit on the sideline and watch the game go by. Every day I can come out here and do this, I’m happy.”