We are entering the waning days of some of the country’s major race meetings, including Churchill and Santa Anita. Belmont will be wrapping up in less than a month, and before you know it, Del Mar and Saratoga will be open for business! Let’s review the week that was in horse racing and shed light on who’s riding well at the moment. Don’t forget to try out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Irad Ortiz Jr. ruled the roost at Belmont last week, winning ten times to kick past his brother, Jose. Ortiz Jr. now enjoys a 50-43 over his younger sibling.
Luis Saez had another fine week, sweeping both of Sunday’s New York Stallion Stakes and winning an additional five races. He now sits at 32 victories, which puts him in third with 13 race days remaining.
Angel Arroyo visited the winner’s circle five times last week to pull himself up to 21 wins at the meet. He’s been riding first-call for Robertino Diodoro, who’s had a highly-productive Belmont spring season (38-12-2-3). Arroyo may not threaten for the leading rider title but is one to watch for in the lower-level races as the meet winds down.
Racing concludes this Friday at Churchill Downs, and Corey Lanerie has a nearly insurmountable 14-win lead over Brian Hernandez Jr. Those two jockeys took the lion’s share of mounts at the Louisville oval, while Julien Leparoux and Florent Geroux occasionally took weekends off to race elsewhere. Lanerie, Hernandez, Leparoux and Geroux are the only four jockeys above $1 million in earnings (minimum 100 starts).
Evin Roman made his move for the rider title last week, winning six times from 26 mounts. His four-win performance on Sunday, which included the Southern Truce Stakes aboard Street Surrender, drew him to within one of the lead currently enjoyed by Flavien Prat (35-34). Prat was supposed to miss closing week at “The Great Race Place” due to suspension, but he is currently appealing and will be allowed to compete instead. He won on his lone mount of the week, Battle of Midway, in the Grade III Affirmed Stakes.
Joe Talamo (32) and Rafael Bejarano (31) are still in the discussion for leading rider honors as well. Talamo had a riding double on Saturday ($9.20) while Bejarano rode just once and settled for second in the Grade III Precisionist Stakes on Cat Burglar.
Tyler Baze (23) had a bounce-back week of sorts, winning four times in 16 attempts. However, he’ll likely finish in fifth due to a slow start to the spring meet. A five-day closing week at Santa Anita begins this Friday.
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