Belmont, Gulfstream and Santa Anita share the spotlight as we review the action from the penultimate week of June. Take note of which jockeys are riding best, especially if you plan to play FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Irad Ortiz Jr. maintains a three-win lead (43-40) going into the final week of June at Belmont. He captured six races last week, including a NY-bred stakes atop Therapist on Sunday.
Jose Ortiz, currently second, cut into the margin slightly with a seven-win performance. He won Sunday’s other NY-bred stake with Kreesie.
Manny Franco, still the leading mount-getter, had a five-win stanza to boost his meet total to 34. That puts him five ahead of Javier Castellano, who won six times last week.
John Velazquez was away at Ascot during the week but managed to snare Saturday’s Wild Applause aboard Got Stormy. He currently rounds out the top five and sits two behind Castellano for fourth.
Tyler Gaffalione nurses a short lead at Gulfstream over Emisael Jaramillo, 59-56, while carrying on his ‘mercenary’ work elsewhere. He went to Canterbury Park last Saturday and took down the Lady Canterbury Stakes (I’m Betty G) and Mystic Lake Derby (Sniper Kitten) for trainer Mike Maker.
Flavien Prat pulled away late for yet another Southern California riding title. He amassed 39 wins in all, 11 better than runner-up Geovanni Franco, en route to his third jockey crown at “The Great Race Place.” Prat’s earnings were also significantly higher than his competition’s, as he pulled in over $500k more than next-highest earner Joe Talamo, who was third with 27 scores.
The meet’s final stake, the Wilshire, went to Rafael Bejarano and Storm the Hill. An injury cost Bejarano any chance of a meet title this time around, but he ended with a four-win performance. He’s expected to be a major factor at Del Mar in a few weeks, as is Evin Roman, who also lost significant time due to injury.
Santa Anita’s leading apprentice was 18-year-old Asa Espinoza, who tied with Tiago Pereira for fifth at 21 wins apiece. Just behind them were Drayden Van Dyke and Tyler Baze at 20 wins each. Baze closed the meet strongly with a five-win outing, including a score in Friday’s Santa Lucia (Yuvetsi).
Hall-of-Famer Mike Smith was heard from a couple of times in the meet’s concluding stanza, as he took Saturday’s San Carlos atop American Anthem, as well as Sunday’s finale with a well-timed ride aboard Unapologetic.
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