Joel Rosario won two stakes at Keeneland and one at Belmont to be named the Jockeys Guild Jockey of the Week. The title goes to the week’s outstanding jockey in the opinion of a panel of industry experts. They looked at races run from October 6-12.
Overall for the week, Rosario posted 7 wins, 6 seconds and 1 third from 22 starts, earning $469,761. His fans collected an average $8.77 payoff on $2 mutuel tickets on his seven winning mounts.
Rosario kicked off his winning week on Rainha Da Bateria in the Grade III Jessamine Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Keeneland on Wednesday. He trailed the field in the early going before circling the field and powering home a length and a half in front as the second favorite.
On Friday, he won the $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes at Keeneland on second favorite Free as a Bird.
In the most dramatic finish of his week’s three stakes wins, Rosario and front-running La Tia held off the late challenges of Byrama and Overheard to win the Grade III Athenia Stakes at Belmont Park on Sunday.
“They pressured me last time,” said Rosario, who rode La Tia for the first time in the Grade IIT Canadian at Woodbine last month. “The stretch in Woodbine is longer than here, and that day they finished up very strong. She ran a good race and got beat by some very good horses. I was very confident with her today and knew she was going to give me 100%.”
Rosario, 29, grew up on a farm outside Santo Domingo and decided to become a jockey after gong to the races when he was 13. He turned pro the following year, and was leading rider in the Dominican Republic four times before moving to California in 2006. By 2008, he was riding in stakes for leading trainers, and he finished fifth in the national standings in 2009 with $13 million in earnings. In 2012, he moved to the east coast.
Last year, he won the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup on Animal Kingdom, and the Kentucky Derby on Orb in the space of five weeks.
Rosario is currently ranked second in wins and third in earnings at Keeneland. Nationally, he’s the second leading jockey by earnings, with over $18 million in 2014.
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 Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, 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.