It was a wild weekend in horse racing, and we’ll recap the action from a jockey angle here. As always, be sure to consider this information when playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Irad Ortiz Jr. still shows the way over his brother, Jose, as the Belmont spring/summer meeting enters its penultimate week. He won three times last week to maintain a 46-43 advantage. Ortiz Jr. also managed a score in Saturday’s Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth with Dream Awhile.
Jose Ortiz matched his elder sibling’s output at Belmont last week and also notched a stakes win while riding out of town on Saturday. That score came in Woodbine’s Dance Smartly Stakes with Santa Monica.
Manny Franco also recorded three victories at Belmont in June’s final stanza but had to be frustrated with his five runner-up finishes on Saturday, one of which occurred in the Mother Goose (Road to Victory). He sits at 37 wins for the meeting.
John Velazquez, fifth with 29 victories, was out of town on Saturday but took the weekend’s richest race, the $1 million Queen’s Plate, aboard Wonder Gadot.
California-based jockeys Mike Smith and Flavien Prat each made a rare appearance at Belmont on Saturday. Smith went 1-for-5 but took the Grade II Mother Goose with favored Midnight Bisou, while Prat nabbed the Perfect Sting atop La Sardane and won one other start from eight total tries.
Brian Hernandez Jr. won his first career riding title at Churchill Downs with 43 total victories, including Saturday’s Debutante Stakes romp atop Restless Rider. However, the achievement must be placed in some context, as main rival Corey Lanerie missed the last two weeks of the season as he mourned the passing of his wife, Shantel.
Florent Geroux, tops in earnings, ended up second with 38 triumphs, while Lanerie placed third (35). Geroux won Woodbine’s Grade I Highlander with Long On Value on Saturday.
Ricardo Santana Jr. concluded a solid meet with a six-win final stanza, highlighted by a strike in the Bashford Manor atop Sir Truebador. He finished in fourth with 30 total victories.
Kentucky circuit mainstays Julien Leparoux and Shaun Bridgmohan tied for fifth at 26 wins each.
Tyler Gaffalione narrowly prevailed in Gulfstream’s spring meet over Emisael Jaramillo, 63-61. Gaffalione managed to win four in the waning days of the meet, while Jaramillo netted five. Jaramillo recorded two Saturday stakes triumphs; the Carry Back (War Giant) and the Smile Sprint (X Y Jet).
Gulfstream’s summer meet began on Sunday and will run through Sept. 29.
Paco Lopez leads all Monmouth riders in wins (28) after registering a half-dozen scores last weekend, but Antonio Gallardo broke through in Saturday’s United Nations with Funtastic to take the lead in earnings. The U.N. was his first career Grade I triumph and was part of a Saturday hat-trick and four-win weekend.
Sandwiched between these two is Jose Ferrer, who posted two victories last week to get to 25 for the meet. He’s three clear of Antonio Gallardo going into Wednesday’s special Independence Day card.
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