It was a busy weekend for veteran rider Joe Bravo as he won three stakes races at three different tracks on his way to being honored as the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Award for June 13th to June 19th. 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.
Bravo got the ball rolling on Saturday afternoon when he rode just one mount on the card at Parx and captured the featured sixth race, the $100,000 Donald Levine Memorial Stakes aboard A.P. Indian. Bravo then hopped on a plane to Louisville where he would later guide 9-1 shot Bradester to a wire-to-wire win in the Grade 1 $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap under the lights at Churchill Downs.
“He’s a pretty fun horse. He does all the hard work for you,” Bravo said. “He kind of reminds me of his father Lion Heart, who I rode in the Haskell. I just kind of rode him like his dad and you saw what he did today.”
On Sunday, back at his home base of Monmouth Park, “Jersey Joe” would guide Donegal Moon to his first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3 $100,000 Betfair.com Pegasus Stakes for 3-year-olds.
The Pegasus win for trainer Todd Pletcher would cap off a great weekend of riding for Bravo who began his career in 1988. The 45 year-old Jersey native has dominated that state’s 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 seven graded stakes wins in 2016.
For the week, Bravo won four times from his nine mounts with one second placing and led all North American riders with $474,960 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.