In this week’s review we’ll discuss opening weekend at Monmouth Park and continue to chronicle the jockey battles at Belmont, Churchill and Santa Anita. Be sure to put this information to use in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Irad Ortiz Jr. is unsurprisingly the top rider at “Big Sandy” by both wins (19) and purse money ($1.3 million) after three weeks of racing. He bagged 10 wins over the course of the last five days.
John Velazquez has been just as lethal as Ortiz Jr. while riding in fewer races, as he boosted his win total at the meet to 11, good for second place ahead of Manny Franco (10 wins). Velazquez added yet another stakes win to his résumé with Zhukova in the Grade I Man o’ War on Saturday.
Jose Ortiz and Javier Castellano are knotted up at nine wins apiece through three weeks, though Castellano has spotted Ortiz 35 mounts. Ortiz, however, has excelled at picking up small shares, hitting the board at a 58% clip. Castellano’s ITM percentage is just 43%.
Corey Lanerie continues to have a highly-productive meet, winning nine races last week to boost his total to 19. Lanerie won Saturday’s feature, the Unbridled Sidney, and boasts a 63% ITM rate. He is eight wins clear of Brian Hernandez Jr, who is also hitting the board at a solid clip (60%).
One of the week’s biggest movers was Ricardo Santana Jr, who won six races and marched all the way into fifth place. That included a sweep of the late Pick Three on Thursday night that returned $612! Santana Jr. has spotted plenty of mounts to his competition so far but if he continues to ride at Churchill, he should be right in the hunt for leading rider when the meet ends on June 30.
Nik Juarez got off to a good start, winning four races and placing four times in 16 starts. That was good enough to earn first place through the first weekend of racing, with one more win than Wilmer Garcia.
Mid-Atlantic fixture Trevor McCarthy won a pair in five starts, while respected veterans Eddie Castro, Paco Lopez and Joe Bravo each had one. Bravo, however, had four additional ITM finishes in just six races.
Flavien Prat won six races from just 18 mounts to tie Rafael Bejarano atop the standings (16 wins each). Joe Talamo is now sitting in third place despite winning three last week, including Sunday’s Angel’s Flight Stakes on Faypien.
Meanwhile, some of the senior members of the jockey colony had solid weeks as well. Gary Stevens won two and placed in two other races in just five starts, improving his meet statistics to 20-6-5-2. Kent Desormeaux also won a pair, and Mike Smith took the week’s biggest race, the Laz Barrera, on American Anthem.
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