Three crucial Kentucky Derby preps, plus opening weekend at Keeneland, are now behind us. Let’s recap the action here, focusing on which jockeys excelled at their respective circuits. Don’t forget to play FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Junior Alvarado, Manny Franco and Kendrick Carmouche are tied atop the leaderboard one week into the spring meet. Each rider won five times, with Alvarado boasting the best win percentage and highest earnings of the trio. Franco was the only member of the troika to earn a stakes win, and in fact, he won two. He was aboard Discreet Lover in Saturday’s Excelsior and Fire Away in Sunday’s Danger’s Hour.
Joe Bravo, fourth with three victories, recorded a stakes double at “The Big A” on Saturday. He guided My Miss Lilly home first in the Gazelle before cruising with Army Mule in the Carter.
John Velazquez won just once from nine starts but took the weekend’s most prestigious event, the Wood Memorial, atop Vino Rosso. The son of Curlin will be his Kentucky Derby mount.
Six wins and seven additional ITM finishes help secure first place for Jose Ortiz in both victories and earnings. Ortiz nearly topped $1 million in purses over just three days of racing, thanks mainly to his stakes scores in the Transylvania (Analyze It) and Blue Grass (Good Magic).
Florent Geroux is close behind after visiting the winner’s circle five times last weekend. Chief among those wins was the Ashland Stakes with Monomoy Girl.
Corey Lanerie won four over the first three racing days and placed in both Commonwealth Stakes (Limousine Liberal) and Ashland Stakes (Eskimo Kisses). He sits third, one clear of Gabriel Saez, who swept a mid-card Pick Three on opening day that paid $138.40.
Julio Garcia, riding exclusively for Wesley Ward, hit the board in all five starts and won the Shakertown Stakes with style atop Bound For Nowhere.
Ricardo Santana Jr. has forged a nearly-insurmountable 18-win lead at Oaklawn with just one racing week left. He won five over the extended five-day stanza to get to 59 wins for the season.
David Cabrera, second at 41 wins, took down seven events last week, including the Carousel Stakes with Swing and Sway.
Alex Canchari won six times to get to 25 wins for the meet. He sits sixth going into the last few days of the season but could easily take fourth despite a slow start.
Evin Roman nosed out Flavien Prat, 46-45, to win the early part of the marathon meeting at Santa Anita. Roman won just once last week but took advantage of Prat riding Saturday’s card at Aqueduct. Prat won three times at “The Great Race Place” last week, including Sunday’s Tokyo City Cup atop Hoppertunity, and took down Aqueduct’s Bay Shore Stakes (National Flag) on Saturday.
Drayden Van Dyke placed third after a three win week with 38 total victories. He beat fourth-place Tyler Baze by three. Kent Desormeaux secured a top five finish after a three-win stanza boosted him to 34 triumphs.
Mike Smith did his thing on Santa Anita Derby day, winning three stakes, including the signature event atop Justify. He was aboard Heck Yeah in the Echo Eddie and Midnight Bisou in the Santa Anita Oaks as well. Smith won 21 times from just 88 total mounts (24%) but finished first in earnings. Santa Anita’s spring meet picks up on Friday.
Joel Rosario and Javier Castellano both did some traveling this week and experienced good fortune. Rosario won the Providencia (Fatale Bere) and Royal Heroine (Beau Recall) at Santa Anita on Saturday before recording a riding double at Keeneland on Sunday.
Castellano won two at Santa Anita and placed in both the Derby and Oaks before taking a pair at Keeneland on Sunday, including the Appalachian Stakes atop the undefeated Rushing Fall.
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