The Belmont Stakes and its accompanying action at Belmont Park will encompass most of this week’s jockey review. However, Churchill and Santa Anita will also be discussed. Don’t forget to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Mike Smith masterfully guided Justify to victory in gate-to-wire style in the Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown. Smith, also aboard Ogden Phipps winner Abel Tasman, became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown at age 52. Justify is only the 13th horse to ever sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.
Meanwhile, Irad Ortiz Jr. forged a sizeable lead in wins and earnings at Belmont with a nine-win performance last week. Ortiz Jr. took the Bed o’ Roses (Lewis Bay) and the New York (Fourstar Crook) on Friday before winning the Jaipur (Disco Partner) and the Just A Game (A Raving Beauty) on Belmont Stakes day. On Sunday, he was large and in charge as he won five times, including the featured Jersey Girl (Sower). He heads into next week five wins clear of brother Jose Ortiz, who had a down week with just two total victories, in second (33-28).
Manny Franco, third with 25 wins, notched three wins last week. But like Jose Ortiz, he also failed to register a stakes victory.
Javier Castellano recorded another solid week, winning five times to get to 20 for the meet. He had a stakes trifecta on Friday, winning the Tremont (Our Braintrust), True North (Imperial Hint) and Gold Cup (Call To Mind). Tied with Castellano is Joel Rosario, who tallied a stakes double when he took Thursday’s Wonder Again (La Signare) and Saturday’s Woody Stephens (Still Having Fun) en route to a six-win stanza.
A four-win Friday helped Brian Hernandez Jr. keep his lead in the final month of racing at Churchill. He’s now up 35-30 on Corey Lanerie. The latter stayed home all week and won five times, including Saturday’s featured Mint Julep atop Lovely Bernadette.
Back in third with 22 wins is Florent Geroux, who won once at Churchill on Sunday. He was in New York on Saturday and took down the Acorn with Monomoy Girl.
Ricardo Santana Jr. and Julien Leparoux are currently tied for fourth at 18 wins apiece. Santana had a two-win week at Churchill and made a Saturday sojourn to Belmont count when he took the Met Mile aboard Bee Jersey. Leparoux tallied three wins last week to draw even with Santana.
Flavien Prat rode just one day at Santa Anita but recorded two victories on Sunday to help keep Joe Talamo and Geovanni Franco in his rearview mirror. He was at Belmont from Thursday to Saturday and won the Intercontinental (La Sardane) and Brooklyn (Hoppertunity).
Talamo grabbed five wins last week, including an upset of Sunday’s Affirmed atop Draft Pick. Franco failed to keep pace, winning just twice. The pair trails Prat by five (29-24) with just two weeks remaining before racing shifts to Los Alamitos.
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