The last week of 2017 was a noteworthy one in horse racing, as Aqueduct wrapped up its fall meet while Santa Anita began its winter meet. We’ll go over the cross-country action and highlight which jockeys are excelling here. Don’t forget to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Irad Ortiz Jr. unsurprisingly took top honors at the recently-concluded Aqueduct fall meeting. He recorded 43 wins, 14 more than runner-up Manny Franco. What did come as a surprise, however, was Ortiz’s announcement that he’s heading down to Gulfstream and skipping Aqueduct’s winter meet.
Jose Ortiz and Kendrick Carmouche ended up tied for third at 22 wins. Dylan Davis rounded out the top five with 21 victories.
The Fair Grounds’ jockey battle continues to be a tense one. Miguel Mena has the advantage going into the new year, leading Shaun Bridgmohan 27-24.
Mitchell Murrill, who’s taken the most mounts of anyone on the grounds, is just three behind Bridgmohan in third.
Luis Saez holds an eight-win advantage over Tyler Gaffalione going into the first week of the new year at Gulfstream. Saez won 10 times from Dec. 26 to New Year’s Day, but was blanked in the stakes department. Gaffalione also won 10, but he managed to take the Allen Jerkens (Run Time) and the Janus Stakes (Successful Native).
Emisael Jaramillo, third with 21 wins, was involved in a scary spill in the shadow of the wire on Dec. 28. Fortunately, he is only expected to miss a week due to soreness.
Evin Roman has a narrow advantage with one week of racing in the books at the marathon Santa Anita meet. He leads Kent Desormeaux, 7-6. Desormeaux, however, won three stakes; the Mathis Brothers Mile (Bowies Hero), Eddie Logan (Pubilius Syrus) and Midnight Lute (Silent Bird).
Rafael Bejarano won five times, which was good enough to be third through one week. Chief among those victories was the Blue Norther Stakes on New Year’s Eve aboard Ippodamia’s Girl.
Mike Smith won a pair of Grade Is en route to a tie for fourth in the standings at three wins with Drayden Van Dyke. Smith was aboard Unique Bella in the La Brea and Daddys Little Darling in the American Oaks. Van Dyke managed a Grade I of his own, the Malibu, atop City of Light on Dec. 26.
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