Leandro Goncalves won six races including a pair of stakes at Kentucky Downs, and was the week’s leading money earner 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 September 2-7.
Goncalves won three races at Kentucky Downs on Saturday to take the lead for both wins and earnings in that track’s jockey standings.
He rode Croninthebarbarian to win the $200,000-added Kentucky Downs Juvenile by two lengths, upsetting favored Luck of the Kitten.
He came back in the $250,000 Dueling Grounds Derby with another upset, riding My Afleet at 8-1 to score by a nose over Medal Count. After setting the pace, My Afleet fell back by two lengths before battling back for his hard-fought victory.
“When he saw the horse pass him he just fought back and gave me everything he had,” Goncalves said.
In all, he won six races for the week, earning $408,744, to lead the nation for that time frame.
“It makes me feel very lucky to have such a great week; finishing ahead of some of the top jockeys in the country,” Goncalves said.
The 32-year-old Brazilian began riding at age 7 to herd livestock, and by 9, he was riding in Quarter Horse races. At 16, he went to Brazil’s jockey school at Hipodromo de Cidade Jardim, where he was the school’s top apprentice with 78 wins in 11 months.
In 2004, he went to England, but moved to America the following year and won his first American race in 2007. He has been a leading rider at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs, and on September 11, 2009, he won five races at Turfway Park, plus a sixth at Hoosier Downs.
His mounts have earned $2.5 million so far this year.
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.
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