Three major circuits, Aqueduct, Gulfstream and the Fair Grounds, wrapped up winter meetings this past week; we’ll recap the action here. Don’t forget to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Manny Franco secured his first ever NYRA jockey title with a Saturday riding double. The final margin over Dylan Davis was 61-47.
“It means a lot to me and I’d like to thank all the trainers and owners who have given me the opportunity to race good horses, and my agent, who has done a great job,” Franco told NYRA media. “I feel like I’ve gotten better and I’ve been riding better horses now, too, so that helps. I never thought I’d be in this position, to win a title in New York. It’s always a goal for a rider. I’m blessed.”
Davis added one more to his winter meet total with a win on Friday. He staved off Junior Alvarado, who won four times last week, for second place by two.
Rounding out the winter meet top five were Kendrick Carmouche (36) and Trevor McCarthy (34). Aqueduct’s brief spring meet begins Friday and runs through April 22.
Circuit veteran Shaun Bridgmohan took the Fair Grounds jockey title by the narrowest of margins over newcomer Adam Beschizza, 66-65. Bridgmohan won three last week, while Beschizza won six.
Florent Geroux was a close third at 63 wins for the meet. He had a strong final stanza, compiling five victories. Matching strides with Geroux was Mitchell Murrill, who settled for fourth with 57 victories.
Miguel Mena, who led most of the way but got injured late in the meet, took fifth with 55 wins.
Luis Saez repeated as Gulfstream’s leading rider at the championship meet, topping Irad Ortiz Jr. 137-101. Saez put together an incredible final week, winning 12 times overall. He took down seven races on Thursday and three stakes on Saturday, including the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks (Coach Rocks) and Grade II Pan American Stakes (Hi Happy).
“I just tried my best and the horses have run very good for me,” Saez told Gulfstream media. “A lot of trainers and owners have been giving me the opportunity. I’m really blessed.”
Ortiz Jr. slumped a bit in the final stanza, winning four times from 38 starts (11%). However, it was an incredible meet for him as he spotted some of his competition over a month’s worth of mounts and still finished second.
Tyler Gaffalione (87), Jose Ortiz (64) and Emisael Jaramillo (57) took third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking