Gulfstream Press Release
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Luis Saez successfully defended their respective titles, easily outdistancing their peers during the 2017-2018 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park.
Entering Sunday’s final card of the Championship Meet, Pletcher had saddled 67 winners, including Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) hero Audible, to claim an unprecedented 15th straight trainer’s title.
“We’ve been blessed. To sustain a good run like that is a great tribute to the staff,” Pletcher said. “I’ve always had success at Gulfstream and am happy to keep the streak alive.”
While visiting the winner’s circle with Audible Saturday, Pletcher celebrated his record fifth Florida Derby success, having already won with Always Dreaming (2017), who went on to capture the Kentucky Derby (G1), Materiality (2015), Constitution (2014) and Scat Daddy (2007).
Pletcher held a 31-win edge over Mike Maker and Jorge Navarro, who entered Sunday’s card with 36 winners each.
Saez notched back-to-back jockey titles by setting a record for most winners during the Championship Meet that began Dec. 2. The 25-year-old Panama native, who had tied Javier Castellano’s 2013-2014 record of 132 with his second record-equaling seven-win day Friday, set a new mark by riding Figarella’s Dream to victory in the $150,000 Sanibel Island Stakes. He went on to capture the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) aboard Coach Rocks and the $250,000 Pan American (G2) aboard Pletcher-trained Hi Happy to run his total to 135 heading into Sunday’s card.
“Everything has come together so well. I’m so glad everything went so good. Thank God for the opportunity,” said Saez, who launched his U.S. career in South Florida in 2009. “I feel very comfortable here. I just tried my best and the horses have run very good for me.”
Saez, who took the 2016-2017 title with 102 wins, has enjoyed 39 multi-win days, including his first seven-win day of the meet Jan. 24 that equaled the record shared by Jerry Bailey (March 11, 1996) and Tyler Gaffalione (July 4, 2017). He also notched a six-win day Dec. 20, as well as a second seven-win performance.
“A lot of trainers and owners have been giving me the opportunity. I’m really blessed,” Saez said.
Heading into Sunday’s final day, Saez had a 34-win cushion over Irad Ortiz Jr., who became only the fourth jockey in Gulfstream history to score 100 wins during the Championship Meet while riding regularly at Gulfstream for the first time.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey will earn their sixth consecutive owner’s title. They went into Sunday’s final program with 17 wins, three more than Grupo 7C Racing Stable and Frank Carl Calabrese.