GRAPEVINE, Texas (Friday, Dec. 1, 2017) — Tyler Gaffalione, Christian Hiraldo, Feargal Lynch and Jomar Torres have been named finalists for JockeyTalk360.com‘s 2017 Breakthrough Jockey of the Year Award, presented by Betfair/TVG.
The winner will be selected by the panel of racing experts who vote on Jockey of the Week honors for JockeyTalk360.com, the website dedicated to promoting and celebrating the sport of horse racing by showcasing riders from across the nation and around the world. Jeff Lowich, TVG’s Director of Industry Relations, will present the Breakthrough Jockey of the Year Award to the recipient at the Dec. 12 awards luncheon of the annual Jockeys’ Guild Assembly sponsored by Betfair US at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand. The JockeyTalk360 awards are in addition to those handed out at the luncheon by the Jockeys’ Guild.
“TVG has increased its commitment to the Jockeys’ Guild and Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund,” Lowich said. “We have exciting plans ahead to raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund as well as promote the role of the jockey in horse racing, as evidenced by the sponsorship of the Breakthrough Jockey Award. Best of luck to all finalists. You all had a great year.”
Gaffalione earned the Eclipse Award designating North America’s outstanding apprentice jockey in 2015. One of the most difficult times for a rider can be after they lose their apprentice weight allowances. But while Gaffalione has won more than 200 races each of the past three seasons, he stamped himself as a player on the national scene outside his Florida base this year, his five graded-stakes victories including the Fair Grounds’ Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Memorial with Enterprising, Turfway Park’s $500,000 Jack Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes (G3) on Fast and Accurate and Belmont’s Matron Stakes (G3) on Happy Like a Fool. Gaffalione’s 268 wins this year and more than $10.1 million in purses through Nov. 29 shatter his Eclipse-season statistics.
Hiraldo, the leading rider at Charles Town in West Virginia in both wins and money, has steadily built his business, winning more than 100 races for the first time in a career that began in 2013. He’s at 135 victories and almost $2.4 million in purses with a month left in the year, going from three stakes triumphs in 2016 to eight so far this year.
Lynch, based in the Mid-Atlantic region, is enjoying his best season in America in his second tour here, including sweeping Laurel’s Grade 3 Commonwealth Derby and Oaks. Lynch, who was based in the United States in 2008 and 2009, returned to ride full time in America in late 2015. His 124 victories through Nov. 29 are the most of his career (topping his 100 last year), with his almost $5 million in purses reflecting a $2 million increase over 2016. Lynch went from three stakes victories last year to 11 so far in 2017.
Torres, who started out pursuing a career as a horse-shoer in his native Puerto Rico, emerged as one of the hottest jockeys in the Mid-Atlantic after coming to the United States last year. Having won his first stakes victory this year, he’s up to seven through November. He finished second in wins in the Delaware jockey standings after losing his apprentice weight allowances in the spring.
In 2000, Betfair pioneered the betting exchange, a popular form of fixed-odds pari-mutuel wagering that allows customers to match bets against each other rather than a bookmaker. Betfair operates exchange wagering in New Jersey in conjunction with Darby Development. Betfair also operates the on-line Betfair Casino in New Jersey. Betfair owns and operates the TVG Network, America’s horse racing network and leading advanced-deposit wagering service, which manages 4NJBets, the state-authorized ADW platform for New Jersey residents. Betfair is part of the FTSE 100 Paddy Power Betfair plc.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, TVG, a subsidiary of Betfair Group plc, is one of the largest legal online gaming companies in the US, accepting more than $1 billion in wagers annually from over 30 states. TVG operates 4NJBets, the exclusive ADW platform in the state of New Jersey. TVG network airs races at over 150 racetracks worldwide and is among the most widely distributed horseracing networks in the world, operating TVG and TVG2 in more than 40 million US homes. The company has demonstrated its commitment to the racing industry, its owners, tracks and fans through sponsorship of several preeminent races including the TVG Pacific Classic and TVG Super Saturday. For more information about TVG, visit: TVG.com.
JockeyTalk360.com, created and produced by the father-son team of Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen and JockeyTalk360.com publisher C.J. Johnsen, promotes and celebrates the sport of horse racing by showcasing riders from across the nation and around the world. JockeyTalk360.com‘s mission is to bring fans closer to these talented, fit and fearless athletes. JockeyTalk360 also is the publisher of the definitive book on riders, Bob Fortus and Gary West’s Ride to Win: An Inside Look at the Jockey’s Craft, and the racing-themed mystery by John Perrotta, Half a Chance, both books for sale at JockeyTalk360.com. JockeyTalk360.com is the sister website to TurfTalk360.com, which centers on grass racing. Follow JockeyTalk360 on Twitter @JockeyTalk and Facebook.com/JockeyTalk360.