Jockey Joe Bravo went from upstate New York to the Jersey Shore amassing four graded stakes wins on his way to the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for July 22- July 31. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
The Jersey native would begin the weekend at Saratoga on Saturday when taking the call aboard six year-old A.P. Indian in the $350,000 Gr. 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap.
A.P. Indian and Joe Bravo hooked up with Holy Boss who gained ground on the outside nearing the three-furlong pole and prevailed in a hard-fought stretch battle giving trainer Arnaud Delacour his first grade one victory of his career.
“He’s pretty nice, isn’t he?” said Bravo. “When you have good horses like that they make you look good by hanging on. The [final time] is [asking] a lot to go over a course like this, but the most impressive part is that you got Holy Boss and another very fast horse on the inside, huge competition. Overcoming that is really cool.”
It was then back to his home base of Monmouth Park for a great day of Sunday racing that included five stakes events on Haskell Invitational day.
Bravo captured back-to-back graded stakes victories in the 8th and 9th races Sunday when he first cruised to an easy victory the $200,000 Monmouth Cup Stakes aboard Bradester for trainer Eddie Keneally. Bravo had to do a little more work in following race, the $150,000 Gr. 3 Oceanport Stakes, when he piloted a game Blacktype (FR) to a hard-fought neck victory for trainer Christophe Clemente from well off the pace.
The 45 year-old would complete a stakes-winning hat trick later in the 11th race when he won the Gr. 3 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes aboard Itsonlyactingdad for trainer Todd Pletcher.
“After my day at Saratoga yesterday being able to come down here with the mounts I had is just living a dream. It is fun to deal with good horses and with these horses any jock in the jock’s room could have sat on any one of these horses and won the race. It’s just nice that it was me. What makes this filly special is that she did it with so much ease. Every time I pointed her at something she listened perfectly,” said Bravo after the WinStar Matchmaker Stakes.
It was an exceptional weekend of riding for Bravo who began his career in 1988 and has dominated the New Jersey racing scene since the early 90’s, winning nine riding titles at The Meadowlands and 13 titles at Monmouth Park.
The last couple of years have been a renaissance of sorts for Bravo who tallied 17 graded victories last season and is on pace for another stellar season with 11 graded stakes wins in 2016.
For the week Bravo won with six of his ten mounts and tallied $556,380 in earnings.
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JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, The Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Horse Racing Nation, The Jockeys’ Guild, The Paulick Report, The Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.