Playing the Jockey Angle in The Preakness
The eight jockeys lining up for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes have a combined seven victories in the second leg of the Triple Crown. The leader with three wins is Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, who guided Silver Charm (1997), Point Given (2001) and Oxbow (2013) to victory in the Preakness. Stevens, who will ride Firing Line on Saturday, has a lifetime Preakness record of 17–3–2–6 for an impressive 65% in the money record.
Three other jockeys – Javier Castellano, Victor Espinoza and Martin Garcia – have captured at least one Preakness and each have a 33.3% win rate. Espinoza has two wins and a second in six Preakness mounts. The veteran rider from Mexico City will ride American Pharoah after his Kentucky Derby win, just like he did successfully with War Emblem (2002) and California Chrome (2014). Both Castellano and Garcia have scored one win in three mounts in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Castellano will handle Divining Rod and looks to duplicate his win aboard Bernadini in 2006. Martin Garcia, Dortimund’s pilot on Saturday, won the 2010 Preakness aboard Lookin At Lucky.
Post Position – Horse – Jockey – Preakness Record
1) American Pharoah – Victor Espinoza (6-2-1-0)
2) Dortmund – Martin Garcia (3-1-0-0)
3) Mr. Z – Corey Nakatani (4-0-0-0)
4) Danzig Moon – Julien Leparoux (6-0-1-0)
5) Tale of Verve – Joel Rosario (3-0-1-1)
6) Bodhisattva – Trevor McCarthy (0-0-0-0)
7) Divining Rod – Javier Castellano (3-1-0-0)
8) Firing Line – Gary Stevens (17-3-2-6)
Jockey of the Week Flavien Prat has been red hot of late as he leads the standing at Santa Anita Park in a colony full of veterans. The 22-year-old native of France scored at nearly a 42% win rate and came in the money 67% of the time. He scored a win the in Grade 3 American Stakes and was runner up in the Grade 1 Vanity Stakes. Prat brought home five wins, two seconds, and one third from twelve starts and earnings of $261,260.
Colby Hernandez continues to increase his lead in the standings at Evangeline Downs by winning 35% of his mounts and coming in the money 55% of the time. Last week, Hernandez won eleven times, was second three times, and third three times in 31 tries. Hernandez has built a comfortable 29 win lead at Evangeline this meet.
Javier Castellano had a great week by going 8-3-3 in 23 mounts. But, what is most impressive is that in five stakes mounts, he had two wins, one second, and one third for earnings of $412,500. Javier completed a stakes double on Saturday at Belmont winning the Grade 2 Peter Pan S. aboard Madefromlucky and the Grade 1 Man O’ War aboard Twilight Eclipse.
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.
AQHA Quarter Horse Standings
Raul Ramirez Jr. (Delta Downs) remains on top of the wins leaderboard for the year with 67 from 276 mounts. David Alvarez (Delta Downs) ranks second with 63 wins from 269 starts and Omar Reyes (Remington Park) ranks third with 57 wins from 312 mounts.
Esgar Ramirez (Albuquerque) has earned $935,820 from 212 starts to remain in first place in the AQHA earnings standings. GR Carter Jr. (Remington Park) has moved up and is sitting in second in the standings with $907,231 and Omar Reyes is third with $889,064.
Keep up with all the AQHA leaders here . . .
Veteran Russell Baze Wins Ride of the Week
He may have been on the slight betting favorite, but it took a Hall of Fame ride for Central Heat to end up in the winner’s circle. Baze broke perfectly with the daughter of Unusual Heat from the six post and was able to secure solid position behind the leaders in the two to three path. Saving as much ground as possible on each turn appeared to be the strategy.
On the stretch turn, Baze waited patiently on the rail while Theatre Star, the eventual second place finisher, went past him and took the lead in the stretch. At the perfect time at the top of the lane, Baze guided Central Heat to a small opening and swung out for the stretch run. If he had moved his mount out on the turn, Central Heat would have lost too much ground and could have finished second or third. Instead, Baze saved all the ground possible and was in perfect position for a stretch run.
The veteran rider had the whip in his left hand and only used it twice to make sure his mount did not bear in. He kept her straight and made a very difficult neck victory look easy.
World-Class Jockeys Address International Considerations at Pan Am Conference
Dr. Rita Rocca, a veterinary official at Maroñas Racetrack in Uruguay, will moderate a panel featuring three prominent jockeys at the Pan American Conference in New York City on Friday, June 5, at 8:40 a.m. EDT.
The panel includes Chris McCarron, John Velazquez, and Ramon Dominguez. They will discuss the transitions jockeys need to make when moving regionally within the Americas and globally and the issues they face in doing so.
“This is a global sport and it’s not uncommon for jockeys to travel to different parts of the world to compete,” said McCarron. “It’s important to be familiar with policies and practices, whether you’re riding in South America, North America, Europe or Asia, and I think that will be reflected in this panel discussion.”
“This sport has a responsibility to make conditions as safe as possible for both our equine and human athletes, and I look forward to discussing aspects of safety with this esteemed panel,” said Rocca.
Rocca specializes in research relating to the equine athlete, which has evolved into a Racing Injury Prevention Program. She is the South American regional representative of the IGSRV (International Group of Specialist Racing Veterinarians).
Dominguez, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, won two Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey and the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. He has won three Breeders’ Cup races. His notable mounts included Better Talk Now, Bluegrass Cat, Gio Ponti, Havre de Grace, and Hansen. Dominguez suffered head injuries in a spill in January 2013 and retired five months later.
McCarron, a native of Dorchester, Mass., who retired in June 2002, twice won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, and nine Breeders’ Cup races. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1989. He has won three Eclipse Awards, the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award and the Mike Venezia Memorial Award. His notable mounts include Alysheba, Bayakoa, Glorious Song, John Henry, Lady’s Secret, Precisionist, Sunday Silence, and Tiznow.
Velazquez, a native of Carolina, Puerto Rico, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012. He has won a Kentucky Derby, two Belmont Stakes, and 13 Breeders’ Cup races. He has twice been awarded an Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey and also received the George Woolf Memorial Award. His notable mounts have included Animal Kingdom, Orb, Point of Entry, The Lumber Guy, Union Rags, Verrazano, and Wise Dan.
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.