Jockey Joel Rosario won a pair of stakes races at the Spa this week leading all riders in earnings on his way to the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for July 22- July 31. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
On Wednesday Rosario got his first stakes win of the week when he guided Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Wavell Avenue to the winner’s circle for the first time in 2016 after winning the $100,000 Shine Again Stakes at Saratoga.
With a familiar closing kick Rosario and Wavell Avenue surged late to edge clear of stubborn longshot Momameamarta for leading trainer Chad Brown.
The second part of Rosario’s stakes-winning double would come in front of a packed crowd at The Spa on Saturday afternoon when he would get a leg up on Frosted in the Gr. 1 $1,250,000 Whitney Stakes.
The Dominican-born veteran would try keep Frosted in sharp form for the Whitney coming off an incredible 14 ¼ length win when geared down in the Gr. 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont.
When the dust cleared late Saturday neither disappointed as Frosted was never seriously challenged in the stretch, completing the 1 1/8 miles Whitney in front by a comfortable two lengths as the 1-2 favorite in a field of six.
“He was cooking,” Rosario said in the winner’s circle, “I knew he probably went a little too fast—more than normal. … (but) I was cruising the whole way, he was very relaxed, and I just tried to save something for the end. Sometimes he’s a little difficult, and you have to let him do what he wants to do, but when I turned for home I knew I had something left because I know the way he likes to run.”
A “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Whitney awards Frosted berth into the $6 million race on November 5 at Santa Anita. The immensely talented Frosted had previously earned entrance into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for his victory in the Met Mile.
The winner’s share of the $1,250,000 Whitney purse helped Rosario lead all North American riders in earnings with a total of $1,010,895. Rosario finished the week with five wins, two seconds, and eight third place finishes from his 25 mounts.
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 Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, The Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Horse Racing Nation, The Jockeys’ Guild, The Paulick Report, The Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.