Weekly jockey review, 5/16/18; Franco, Ortiz Jr. continue lively battle at Belmont

The week between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes offered no lull in the action whatsoever. We’ll review the results at Belmont, Churchill and Santa Anita and reveal which jockeys are riding best at the moment. Be sure to play FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game this weekend!

Belmont

Manny Franco maintained his two-win lead over Irad Ortiz Jr. (16-14) with a four-win performance last week. Those victories, along with five other ITM finishes, came despite Franco riding just 16 times in a four-day span. Surprisingly, Franco had no stakes mounts in Saturday’s Man o’ War festival.

Ortiz Jr. matched strides with Franco despite riding far more times than that rival (32-16). Among his four wins was a strike in the Grade III Beaugay atop A Raving Beauty.

John Velazquez and Jose Ortiz each bagged five winners at Belmont last week. Velazquez won four on Man o’ War day, taking the Vagrancy (Kirby’s Penny) and the Runhappy (Westwood) in the process. Ortiz was shut out on Saturday but took Sunday’s Gold Fever with Engage.

Luis Saez got off the schneid on Thursday, scoring twice, before taking Saturday’s Man o’ War Stakes atop Hi Happy.

Churchill

In a battle that’s likely to continue all the way to the end of June, Brian Hernandez Jr. holds a three-win lead over Corey Lanerie (16-13). Hernandez Jr. won an astounding 10 times, including a sweep of Thursday’s late Pick Three ($342.60). Lanerie won five times on Saturday and six times overall for the week.

Santa Anita

Flavien Prat is in front by just two (18-16) despite posting a five-win week. That stanza was highlighted by a stakes score in the Laz Barrera with Kanthaka. Geovanni Franco, who won five as well last week, is Prat’s closest competition.

Joe Talamo posted a four-win week from just 10 starts. He now sits third with 13 victories at the meet.

Misc.

Edgar Prado became only the eighth jockey in North America to win 7,000 races when he guided Thefundsarelow home first in Tuesday’s sixth race at Parx.

“It’s a big accomplishment in my career,” Prado told America’s Best Racing. “I’m very thankful, very humbled.”

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