Gary West’s 2015 Derby Rankings
Jockeying for position begins, of course, long before the doors of the starting gate open. And John Velazquez has taken his position for the Kentucky Derby: He’ll be on Carpe Diem, as expected, rather than Materiality. And with that, several assignments have become clear as the Derby approaches. Javier Castellano will ride Materiality, and Mike Smith will stay with Far Right. And three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel has a mount, replacing C. C. Lopez on El Kabeir. A few assignments, though, and a few horses for the Derby still remain uncertain.
And with all this settling, Victor Espinoza moves to the top of the jockeys’ board. He, of course, has the mount on Arkansas Derby winner American Pharoah. The jockeys’ points are based on the horses’ rankings, with Espinoza, the rider of the No. 1 horse, getting 25 points, followed by Martin Garcia, the rider of No. 2 Dortmund, with 24 points; Joel Rosario, the rider of No. 3 Frosted, at 23 points, etc.
Jockeys leading the way on the road to the Kentucky Derby:
- Victor Espinoza (25) – American Pharoah
- Martin Garcia (24) – Dotmund
- Joel Rosario (23) – Frosted
- John Velazquez (22) – Carpe Diem
- Javier Castellano (21) – Materiality
- Gary Stevens (20) – Firing Line
- Miguel Mena (19) – International Star
- Open mounts (8 + 6 + 3 + 2 = 19)
- Jose Ortiz (18) – Upstart
- Julien Leparoux (17) – Danzig Moon
- Christophe Soumillon (16) – Mubtaahij (IRE)
- Mike Smith (15) – Far Right
- Luis Saez (14) – Itsaknockout
- Calvin Borel (13) – El Kabeir
- Manny Franco (12) – Tencendur
- Joe Talamo (11) – War Story
- Rafael Bejarano (10) – Bolo
- Ramon Vazquez (9) – Mr. Z
- Florent Geroux (8) – Stanford
- James Graham (5)
- Ricardo Santana (4)
- Alex Solis (1)
Tyler Baze continued to ride as good as ever at Santa Anita with 18 victories in 48 mounts over the last two weeks. The 32-year-old native of Seattle scored at a 37% win rate and was either first or second 54% of the time. Baze finished second to Rafael Bejerano with 58 wins during the recently concluded Santa Anita Winter meeting. This is the seventh time Baze has ranked in the top five during a Santa Anita Winter meeting.
Another hot jockey is Colby Hernandez, who is enjoying a successful start to the Evangeline Downs meeting. Last week, Hernandez won 12 times and was second seven times in 28 tries. Over the past two weeks, the young Cajun rider has scored at a 41% clip and been first or second 60% of the time. Hernandez is ranked sixth in the nation in races won for 2015.
Alan Garcia and C.J. McMahon are two riders trying new circuits with outstanding results. Back from riding in the Middle East, Garcia has moved his tack to Woodbine, where he scored four wins in nine mounts last week. Garcia’s patient riding style should be a perfect match for the Woodbine polytrack and turf course. McMahon is trying Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie for the first time and had seven wins in 12 starts last week.
See the week’s top jockeys by winning percentage here.
See the week’s top jockeys by wins here.
See the week’s top jockeys by earnings here.
Quarter Horse Standings
Raul Ramirez Jr. (Sam Houston) is leading in the win column for the year with 54 from 215 mounts. Omar Reyes (Remington Park) ranks second with 51 wins from 269 starts and David Alvarez (Sam Houston) ranks third with 48 wins from 206 mounts.
Omar Reyes has earned $796,586 from 269 starts to lead the AQHA earnings standings. Rodrigo Vallejo (Delta Downs) has moved up into second in the standings with $730,299, and Rodrigo Vallejo (Sam Houston) is third with $719,497.
Keep up with all the AQHA leaders here . . .
Ride of the Week
April 18, 2015 – Santa Anita – Race 7 – Santa Barbara Handicap (GIII)
Jockey Drayden Van Dyke continued his stakes winning ways over the Santa Anita lawn with a nose victory aboard in Queen of the Sand (IRE) in Saturday’s Santa Barbara Handicap (GIII).
Van Dyke and his mount were squeezed coming out of the gate and were content to be in next to last while Fanticola carved out easy fractions on the front end. Queen of the Sand saved ground every step of the way in the 1 ¼ miles turf event. At the top of the stretch Van Dyke was able to guide his mount through a narrow hole three paths off the rail to gain clear sailing. Fanticola and jockey Joe Talamo kept the rail shut off for Three Hearts and appeared to have the race won until Queen of the Sand launched her last second heroics.
When Queen of the Sand got clear and started to run down the leader, she began to drift in and, in a race winning move, Van Dyke switched to a left handed whip which kept his mount from lugging in on the leader.
A ground saving ride, a gutsy move to find open ground, and a split second decision to switch sticks led to a nose victory and a well-deserved Ride of the Week award.
Follow Drayden on Twitter @DraydenV
Derby Day Silent Auction Fundraiser to Support Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund
ELKTON, Md. – A consortium of racing organizations has announced a Derby Day fundraising campaign to be held on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 25 tracks and racing venues across the U.S. to raise funds for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).
Each participating track will hold a silent auction of framed, autographed photographs of California Chrome (signed by jockey Victor Espinoza), Secretariat (signed by owner Penny Chenery), Wise Dan (signed by jockey John Velazquez), and Zenyatta (signed by jockey Mike Smith).
Proceeds from the collaborative effort by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA), PDJF, JockeyTalk360, and the Jockeys’ Guild will provide aid for permanently disabled jockeys’ health care and living expenses.
TRA-member tracks participating include: Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Delaware Park, Finger Lakes, Gulfstream Park, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Parx Racing, Pimlico, Portland Meadows, Prairie Meadows, Remington Park, Sam Houston Race Park, Santa Anita Park, Tampa Bay Downs, and Turfway Park. Finger Lakes will be conducting their auction on their opening day, Friday, May 1.
Ron Turcotte Released from Hospital
4/21/15 – We are delighted to announce Ron Turcotte has been released from his local New Brunswick hospital to continue his recovery and physical therapy from the comforts of home.
His broken legs from the early March auto accident appear to be mending in good order and his casts are expected to be removed in the next two weeks. Ron is enjoying the company of his family and friends and catching up on world affairs and current racing news.
For the Kentucky Derby, he says “the three favorites (American Pharoah, Dortmund, and Carpe Diem) all look tough and it sure doesn’t hurt that each is a descendant of Secretariat!”
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.