Gary West’s 2015 Derby Rankings
After winning the Florida Derby on Materiality, John Velazquez holds a pair of aces as he moves closer to the most famous of races, the Kentucky Derby. He’s the regular rider for two of the top five horses on the road to Kentucky, as well as Madefromlucky, who’s to make his next start April 11 in the Arkansas Derby.
Florent Geroux, a native of Argentan, France, may have his first Derby mount after riding Stanford to a runner-up finish at Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Derby. And Santiago Gonzalez joins the jockeys hoping to converge on Churchill Downs in a month; he’ll ride Ocho Ocho Ocho in the Blue Grass, replacing Mike Smith, who’ll remain in California to ride Bolo in the Santa Anita Derby.
Christophe Soumillon, a native of Schaerbeek, Belgium, and the Irish-bred Mubtaahij could add some foreign flair to the Derby and perhaps some style to the festivities surrounding the event. Soumillon and Mubtaahij convincingly won the UAE Derby. By the way, Sophie Soumillon, the jockey’s wife, is a model, author and television hostess. And she was Miss France of 1998.
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. Velazquez, for example, has 46 points, the total from his three possible mounts: 23 + 21 + 2.
Jockeys (total points) leading the way on the road to the Kentucky Derby
- John Velazquez (23 + 21 + 2 = 48)
- Martin Garcia (25)
- Victor Espinoza (24)
- Mike Smith (14 + 8 = 22)
- Gary Stevens (22)
- Manuel Franco (20)
- J. L. Ortiz (19)
- Kent Desormeaux (18)
- Miguel Mena (17)
- Christophe Soumillon (16)
- Irad Ortiz Jr (15)
- Javier Castellano (13 + 1 = 14)
- Florent Geroux (12)
- C. C. Lopez (11)
- Rafael Bejarano (10)
- Jose Lezcano (9)
- Luis Saez (7)
- Julien Leparoux (6)
- Santiago Gonzalez (5)
- Joe Talamo (4)
- James Graham (3)
Wow! A 66% win rate. Eight wins in 12 mounts. Jockey Juan Hernandez enjoyed a dream week at Golden Gate Fields and tops the list of Who’s Hot for March 23 – 29. The 23-year-old native of Vera Cruz, Mexico is currently third in the jockey standings at Golden Gate Fields, where he finished second in wins during the 2013-2014 season.
Deshawn Parker returned to Mountaineer Park after his successful stint at Sam Houston Race Park and continued his torrid pace. The veteran rider scored eight wins, six seconds and five thirds in 26 mounts. Thirty percent winners and 73% in the money is a strong scorecard. Parker is in top form, having captured the riding title at the recently concluded Sam Houston Race Park meeting with 55 wins. As always, the all-time leading rider at Mountaineer Park cannot be ignored at the West Virginia track.
Antonio Gallardo continued his winning ways at Tampa Bay Downs with nine wins in 29 mounts for a 34% win rate. Gallardo is ranked second in North America in number of wins this year.
Apprentice Michael Ritvo (Penn/Parx) is beginning to make a name for himself as he won seven of his 21 mounts for earnings of $123,220.
See the week’s top jockeys by winning percentage here.
TD Houghton (Mountaineer/Mahoning Valley) and Antonio Gallardo led North American jockeys in wins last week with nine each. Deshawn Parker, Juan Hernandez, and Larren Delorme (Fonner Park) tied for second with eight wins. James Graham (Fair Grounds), Robby Albarado (Fair Grounds), Michael Ritvo, and Andrew Wolfsont all tied for third with seven wins each.
See the week’s top jockeys by wins here.
Jockey of the Week John Velazquez (Gulfstream Park) led the nation in earnings with $960,130 due in part to his Florida Derby win aboard Materiality. Miguel Mena (Fair Grounds) finished the week second in earnings after his Louisiana Derby victory on International Star. Mena finished the week with one win, three seconds, and seven thirds totaling $522,490. Florent Geroux (Fair Grounds) rounded out the top three in earnings with $516,830 from five wins, three seconds, and two thirds.
See the week’s top jockeys by earnings here.
Quarter Horse Standings
Omar Reyes (Remington Park), David Alvarez (Sam Houston), and Raul Ramirez Jr. (Sam Houston) are tied for first in wins for 2015 with 48 each. Rodrigo Vallejo (Sam Houston) ranks second with 36 wins from 145 starts and John Hamilton (Louisiana Downs) ranks third with 34 wins from 166 mounts.
Rodrigo Vallejo has earned $664,174 from 145 starts to lead the AQHA earnings standings, while Omar Reyes is second with $646,836, and David Alvarez is third with $548,390.
Keep up with all the AQHA leaders here . . .
Junior Alvarado Earns Ride of the Week
Jockey Junior Alvarado piloted Lady Lara (IRE) to victory in Saturday’s $300,000 Honey Fox Stakes at Gulfstream Park and was awarded the JockeyTalk360 Ride of the Week.
Lady Lara was bumped and pinched back within 100 yards out of the gate. Alvarado did not panic, gathered her and found the rail in the first turn. Lady Tara sat on the rail until the stretch, when the real riding began.
Alvarado found a small seam in the stretch, got Lady Tara to switch leads and surged to the lead in less than a sixteenth of a mile. Lady Tara would hold on to win by a neck paying $11.60 to win.
John Velazquez Voted Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week
Veteran rider John Velazquez cruised to victory as the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week based on his impressive performance on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. Three of his four winning rides were in Stakes events, culminating with a win aboard the Todd Pletcher trained Materiality in the Grade I Florida Derby.
The win may lead to a tough decision for Velazquez, who is the regular rider of Derby hopeful Carpe Diem as well. Carpe Diem and Velazquez will go next in Bluegrass Stakes on April 4th at Keeneland Racecourse.
PDJF to Benefit From ‘Fillies & Lillies’
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.