Del Mar Press Release

Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup

Like millions of his countrymen, jockey Flavien Prat watched with interest on Sunday as France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup soccer final in Moscow.

And, it would seem, celebrated the victory with considerably more restraint than most of them.

“I watched the first half with just my girlfriend at home, then joined some friends from France at a restaurant for the second half,” Prat said Monday morning. “It was cool. It was fun.

“I’m a fan of soccer for the big events like the World Cup, but not as big as some French are.”

Prat, 25, born in Melun, France, has been a big presence in the Del Mar jockey standings for the last three years and has had his name atop the list for the last two.

Prat won the summer meeting riding title outright in 2017 with 35 wins, six more than co-runners-up Rafael Bejarano and apprentice Evin Roman. Prat shared the 2016 summer crown with Bejarano when each recorded 38 wins.

The riding colony here remains deep with Hall of Famers like Mike Smith, Gary Stevens, Victor Espinoza and Kent Desormeaux and youngsters like Evin Roman and apprentices Asa Espinoza and Heriberto Figueroa. But Prat’s goal for 2018 is to better his previous  win numbers, which would likely bring another title.

“That’s always the goal, to improve on the record,” Prat said.

Prat enters the summer meeting No. 12 for purse earnings among North American riders for 2018 with more than $6.2 million. He has 95 wins from 423 mounts and an additional 136 on the board finishes plus a 22 percent win rate and 55 percent in-the-money number.

“Overall it has been a pretty good year, I haven’t won any Grade I stakes, but I have won 15 graded stakes. I won on Derby Day at Churchill Downs and Belmont Stakes Day at Belmont Park and at Keeneland. So when I’ve gone out of town I’ve done pretty well.”