Noel Vigil (Mountaineer) led all jockeys in win percentage last week by winning all four of his mounts. Three of his wins came on Sunday in the first three races of Mountaineer’s card. Javier Castellano (Gulfstream) also had a solid week by winning over 61% of his mounts and Luis Rivera (Mountaineer/Mahoning Valley) rounded out the top three by winning 60% of his mounts. See the week’s top jockeys by winning percentage here.
The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Gerard Melancon (Fair Grounds/Delta Downs) led North American jockeys in wins last week with 10 from 24 mounts. Sheldon Russell (Laurel), Luis Saez (Gulfstream), and Javier Castellano (Gulfstream) finished the week with eight wins each. Colby Hernandez (Fair Grounds), Jevian Toledo (Charles Town/Laurel), Ramon Vazquez (Oaklawn), Rajiv Maragh (Gulfstream), Antonio Gallardo (Tampa Bay), TD Houghton (Mountaineer/Mahoning Valley), and Chris Fackler (Fonner Park) all tied for third with seven wins each. See the week’s top jockeys by wins here.
Victor Espinoza (Santa Anita) jumped to the top of the earnings leaderboard with his win aboard American Pharaoh in the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. Espinoza finished the week with $618,604 from four victories. John Velazquez (Gulfstream) solidified second place with his win aboard Race Day in the Grade III Razorback Handicap aboard Race Day. Velazquez totaled $445,690 from four victories during the week. Tyler Baze (Santa Anita) finished third in earnings with $357,860 from two wins. See the week’s top jockeys by earnings here.
Quarter Horse Standings
Omar Reyes (Remington Park) is leading the Quarter Horse standings in wins for 2015 with 44 from 195 starts. David Alvarez (Louisiana Downs) ranks second with 39 wins from 147 starts and Raul Ramirez Jr. ranks third with 36 wins from 148 mounts.
Rodrigo Vallejo has earned $645,984 from 136 starts to lead the AQHA earnings standings, while Omar Reyes is second with $559,711, and Yordanis Amaro is third with $461,798.
Keep up with all the AQHA leaders here . . .
Luis Quinonez wins Ride of the Week aboard Gold Medal Dancer in Saturday’s Azeri Stakes
At the break, Gold Medal Dancer broke very sharp while Untapable acted up the gate and broke a half step slow. That allowed Luis Quinonez to take command of the race and make the lead in the first turn, forcing Untapable to get off the rail on a track labeled as good.
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Gerard Melancon (Fair Grounds/Delta Downs) was voted as the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for winning 10 races, 6 seconds, and 2 thirds from 24 mounts.
Melancon ended the week with a win percentage of over 41% and incredibly came in the money on 75% of his mounts totaling $246,635.
The impressive week was highlighted by a victory aboard Bellarmine in the Borgata Stakes at Delta Downs on Saturday. Melancon guided the 5 year old son of Magna Graduate to a 2 length victory helping him close out the Delta meet ranked 2nd place in both wins and earnings in the jockey standings.
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People’s Choice: The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a blue ribbon panel of industry experts. Now, each Monday, any racing fan can cast a vote that will be aggregated for a voice on the selection panel. Visit JockeyTalk360.com on Monday for details.
Garcia wins with first mount after Saudi Arabia trip
After riding in Saudi Arabia for the past four months, jockey Alan Garcia scored aboard his first mount back in the U.S. in Tuesday’s first race at Gulfstream Park. The 29-year-old journeyman guided My Dear Regina ($12.60) for an off-the-pace victory in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.
“It’s a great way to come back,” said Garcia, who last rode in the U.S. at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.
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Castellano Tops Century Mark at Gulfstream
The reigning two-time Eclipse Award winner rode Fashion Fund ($4.40) to victory in Sunday’s ninth race to record his 100th win during the current Championship Meet. It was the fourth consecutive winter season in which he has won at least 100 races at Gulfstream, where he is well on his way to clinching an unprecedented fourth straight riding title.
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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 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, Turf Publicists of America and racing fans.