There was plenty of stakes action last week, including some crucial Kentucky Derby preps. Let’s review some of the nation’s top circuits here from a jockey’s perspective. Don’t forget to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Irad Ortiz Jr. won 10 races over the first five-day racing week of the year at Aqueduct to take a 13-10 lead over Junior Alvarado in the jockey standings. That number came despite Ortiz riding at Keeneland on Friday, where he won once. Chief among those Aqueduct scores was Saturday’s Plenty of Grace Stakes, which Ortiz won with Uni.
Alvarado won five times in all, including a Sunday hat-trick and a Saturday stakes score in the Bridgetown with longshot Black Stetson.
Manny Franco won four times to get to fourth place on the meet with nine victories. He leads a trio of riders tied at six wins apiece; Joe Bravo, Kendrick Carmouche and Paco Lopez.
Kentucky circuit regulars Florent Geroux and Corey Lanerie have risen to the top of the leaderboard with eight wins apiece, one clear of the hot-starting Jose Ortiz and Brian Hernandez Jr. Geroux won three last week while Lanerie won four.
Hernandez was probably the rider of the week at Keeneland after a six-win stanza. Joel Rosario (six wins) is close behind after a four-win week.
The stakes were well-divided. Friday’s Maker’s 46 Mile went to Julien Leparoux (who is struggling at the meet at 2-for-33) and Heart to Heart. Saturday saw four different riders in the winner’s circle for four different stakes; Javier Castellano took the Ben Ali (Rated R Superstar), Adam Beschizza the Giant’s Causeway (Triple Chelsea), Kent Desormeaux the Lexington (My Boy Jack, and John Velazquez the Jenny Wiley (Sistercharlie). Contention runs deeper than ever at the Keeneland spring meet!
Ricardo Santana Jr. put the finishing touches on another Oaklawn riding crown last week, winning 10 times. He took the Bachelor Stakes on Thursday (Mitole), the Apple Blossom on Friday (Unbridled Mo), and the Count Fleet on Saturday (Whitmore). Santana finished with a 69-win total for the meet, well-clear of runner-up David Cabrera (43).
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