Gary West’s 2015 Derby Rankings
With the connections of Texas Red declaring the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile off the road to Kentucky, John Velazquez moves to the front of the line among jockeys on their way to the Kentucky Derby. Velazquez has three possible Kentucky Derby mounts at this point — Carpe Diem, Materiality and Frammento.
The jockeys’ points are based on the horses’ rankings, with the rider of the No. 1 horse getting 25 points, followed by No. 2 at 24 points, No. 3 at 23 points, etc. Dubai Sky, the winner of the Spiral Stakes, makes his debut in the top 25 at No. 21, and so his rider,
Jockey of the Week Jose Lezcano, joins the group headed to Kentucky with five points. One Lucky Dane, an impressive allowance winner for Bob Baffert, also makes his debut among the top 25 horses. He’s ridden by Rafael Bejarano. The injury to jockey Corey Nakatani has led, for the moment anyway, to some more shuffling among the riders. Joe Talamo will replace Nakatani on Mr. Z in the upcoming Louisiana Derby, with Kent Desormeaux, in turn, replacing Talamo on War Story.
Jockeys (total points) leading the way on the road to the Kentucky Derby
- John Velazquez (23 + 12 + 4 = 39)
- Victor Espinoza (24 + 13 = 37)
- Kent Desormeaux (18 + 10 = 28)
- Martin Garcia (25)
- Gary Stevens (22)
- Manuel Franco (21)
- Luis Saez (20)
- J. L. Ortiz (19)
- Mike Smith (15 + 2 = 17)
- Miguel Mena (17)
- C. C. Lopez (16)
- Irad Ortiz Jr. (14)
- Joe Talamo (11)
- Luis Contreras (9)
- James Graham (8)
- Rafael Bejarano (7)
- Javier Castellano (6)
- Jose Lezcano (5)
- Luis Garcia (2)
- Julien Leparoux (1)
Bryan McNeil (Will Rogers) led all jockeys in win percentage last week by winning five of his eight mounts for an astounding 62.5% win percentage. Roberto Alvarado Jr (Parx) also had a solid week by winning three of his five mounts for a 60% win percentage. Edwin Maldonado (Santa Anita) and Christopher Emigh (Hawthorne) tied for third with over 57% by winning four of their seven mounts. See the week’s top jockeys by winning percentage here.
Victor Carrasco (Laurel), Luis Saez (Gulfstream), and Jose Montano (Charles Town) led North American jockeys in wins last week with nine each. Rafael Bejarano (Santa Anita), Javier Castellano (Gulfstream), and Christian Pilares (Mountaineer/Mahoning Valley) finished the week tied for second with eight wins each. Russel Baze (Golden Gate), Daniel Centeno (Tampa Bay), TD Houghton (Mountaineer/Mahoning Valley), and Fernando De La Cruz (Tampa Bay) all tied for third with seven wins each. See the week’s top jockeys by wins here.
Gary Stevens (Santa Anita) led the nation in earnings with his 14 length victoy aboard Firing Line in the Grade III Sunland Derby at Sunland Park. Stevens finished the week with $536,750 from two victories. Jockey of the Week Jose Lezcano (Gulfstream) solidified second place with his wins in the Bourbonette Oaks and Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday. Lezcano totaled $469,790 from five victories during the week. Luis Contreras (Gulfstream) finished third in earnings with $302,040 from two wins. See the week’s top jockeys by earnings here.
Quarter Horse Standings
Omar Reyes (Remington Park) and David Alvarez (Louisiana Downs) are tied for first in wins for 2015 with 45. Raul Ramirez Jr. ranks second with 44 wins from 172 starts and Rodrigo Vallejo ranks third with 33 wins from 136 mounts.
Rodrigo Vallejo has earned $645,984 from 136 starts to lead the AQHA earnings standings, while Omar Reyes is second with $601,938, and David Alvarez is third with $626,110.
Keep up with all the AQHA leaders here . . .
Tyler Baze wins the Ride of the Week
Tyler Baze’s expert handling of Courageous Call in Saturday’s seventh race at Santa Anita earned him the JockeyTalk360 Ride of the Week honors.
Baze showed textbook riding form in going wire to wire in the allowance race. The break from the gate was critically important. Baze was on a runner with early speed and was starting from the two post. Any hesitation at the break, and the race could be lost with other early speed runners cutting him off on the backside.
Jose Lezcano takes Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Honors
Jose Lezcano wrapped up the Jockey of the Week award in part due to his back to back stakes winning double at Turfway Park on Saturday.
Lezcano piloted Don’t Leave Me to a 3/4 length victory in the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks for Pin Oak Stable and trainer Malcom Pierce. The veteran Panamanian rider then followed up that performance with another stakes win in the Grade III Spiral Stakes aboard Dubai Sky. Lezcano guided the Candy Ride (ARG) colt to the front at the top of stretch and held the rest of the field at bay for a 2 1/4 length victory.
Hialeah Park Hall Of Fame To Add Four Well-Known Personalities
Hialeah, FL / March 23, 2015 – Hialeah Park will add four well-known racing personalities to its Hall of Fame on Monday March 30 when Thoroughbred racing Hall of Fame jockeys Jerry Bailey, Angel Cordero, Jr., and Jose Santos join recently retired track announcer Tom Durkin for induction ceremonies at this iconic racing landmark.
All four will be the featured guests of Hialeah Park owner John J. Brunetti, Sr. at an evening dinner event starting at 6:30 PM on March 30 in the Citation Room at Hialeah Park Racing & Casino.
Bailey, Cordero, Santos, and Durkin all have strong personal ties to Hialeah Park. The three riders enjoyed success here during their many stays and aboard their numerous mounts at Hialeah Park, while Durkin spent time in the announcer’s booth at this track before settling in for his long and historic tenure at the New York Racing Association.
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.