Jockey Joel Rosario tallied five winners on the Saturday card at Gulstream Park including a pair of stakes races on his way to being named the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for December 28th – Jan 3rd. 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.
Rosario was red hot Saturday at Gulfstream when he took top honors in the first, the last, and three other races in the middle of the card including wins in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes and the Grade 3 Dania Beach Stakes.
Rosario, aboard Life Imitates Art, finished with a determined rally to take the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes in the seventh race at Gulfstream Park Saturday. After breaking from post four, the 3-year-old son of More Than Ready was guided to the rail by Rosario, who settled his eager mount in seventh. Life Imitates Art then advanced along the inside and pounced through an opening in mid-stretch to edge second choice Isotherm by a head in a thrilling finish.
“It worked out perfect,” Rosario said. “I was trying to save some ground, we had a lot of horse. I was waiting and then hopefully the horse in the front would come in and then maybe I could go out, but he decided to stay outside and then I went outside the other horse. I was just looking for some room. He’s a nice horse, trying really hard.”
Three races later in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, Rosario, who turns 31 January 14th, would lay much closer to the early pace after his mount Awesome Speed was bumped by an outside rival leaving the starting gate. He recovered to stalk the leader along the backstretch, and then moved Awesome Speed to the outside of the pacesetter on the far turn before sending him to the lead leaving the turn into the homestretch. The son of Awesome Again was briefly challenged by El Charro before asserting himself and drawing clear.
Rosario, a native of the Dominican Republic, who also had a five-win day in September at Belmont Park, ended the day by sweeping the late daily double. After winning the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man he rallied up the rail to score with Bar None in the finale.
“My agent told me we had a good chance today, but I can’t believe we were going to win five,” Rosario said. “I’m really happy and we’ll just go forward from this. It’s a great way to start the new year. It helps to motivate me to keep working hard and go from there.”
For the week Joel had five winners from his 20 mounts along with four second placings, and two third place finishes. His total earnings for the week were $244,220.
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, 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.