Del Mar Press Release

Drayden won Wednesday’s first race and Flavien Prat answered with a victory in the second. That was it for winner’s circle visits by the top two in the jockey standings and Van Dyke retained a four-win lead over the defending summer season champion entering the final five days of the meeting.

Van Dyke has 34 wins from 130 mounts, Prat 30 from 113.

They were scheduled to ride the same five races on Thursday’s card and the head-to-head matchups are likely to occur in greater numbers down to the finish, especially with 11-race cards scheduled from Saturday through Monday.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said Derek Lawson, agent for Prat. “I think we’re going to tighten it up and we’re sure not going to roll over. He rides 11 races on Saturday, he’s never ridden 11 in his life, and he’ll ride close to that on Sunday and Monday.

“He’ll have time to recover when the meeting’s over.”

The numbers reflect Peter Miller’s dominance of the trainer race. The Encinitas resident has 30 wins from 90 starters and a 13-win margin over second place Doug O’Neill.

Miller needs three wins to top  Bob Baffert’s 32 in 2000 for the most victories in a title season this century. Farrell Jones’ 35 wins in 1963 looks to be catchable for Miller, but all-time leader Red McDaniel’s 47 in 1954 might be a stretch.

Not that Miller won’t be trying. He has entered horses in the first nine races on Saturday’s card.