Weekly jockey review, 8/1/18; Saez scores early and often at Saratoga

Time to reveal which jockeys stayed hot, which picked up steam, and which are struggling after two weeks of racing at Saratoga and Del Mar. We’ll also review some of the action from Haskell Day at Monmouth Park. Don’t forget to play FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game this weekend!


Luis Saez got lost in the shuffle in week one at Saratoga, but an 11-win performance in week two vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard with 13 overall victories. He hit the board 23 times from 35 total starts (66 percent). Saez wasn’t even at “The Spa” on Sunday; he placed in four of six starts at Monmouth Park, with one win and a runner-up performance in the Haskell atop Bravazo. Saez’s Saratoga stakes victories last week included the Amsterdam (Promises Fulfilled) and the Coronation Cup (Broadway Run).

Hot on the heels of Saez is Irad Ortiz Jr, who rode eight winners last week. He now sits second at 12 total triumphs. Ortiz’s weekly highlight was a dominant score with Hofburg in the Curlin Stakes.

There’s a three-way tie for third at 10 wins apiece between John Velazquez, Ricardo Santana Jr. and Javier Castellano. Velazquez, who leads all riders at Saratoga in earnings, won six but was shut out in the stakes department. Santana, best of the three in win percentage (22 percent), bagged seven wins, including the Jim Dandy Stakes (Tenfold). Castellano cooled off after posting an eight-win opening week but took the Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt atop Imperial Hint.

Jose Ortiz, surprisingly, is tied for eighth with just four victories from 56 starts for the meet (7 percent). However, Haskell Day was good to him, as he won four times, including the feature aboard Good Magic.

Del Mar

Flavien Prat forged to the front at Del Mar last week, taking a 10-9 advantage over Drayden Van Dyke. Prat scored five times, sweeping the Saturday stakes double (the California Dreamin’ and Bing Crosby) in the process.

Van Dyke brought home three winners, including a high-level allowance aboard last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champ Stormy Liberal.

Mario Gutierrez won three times to boost his meet total to seven. That ties him with Geovanni Franco for third, though Gutierrez is hitting the board at a much higher clip (57 percent to 36 percent).

Tyler Baze is fifth in wins (six) but third in earnings, and he scored in the Fleet Treat Stakes on Sunday atop Just Grazed Me.

Sunday’s Grade I Clement L. Hirsch went to Mike Smith and the remarkable Unique Bella. He was also aboard impressive debut winner Roadster for Bob Baffert. Smith has been solid when called upon so far, going 4-for-12 through two weeks “Where the Turf Meets the Surf.”

Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking