Saratoga and Del Mar will once again be the focus of the jockey review column, but we’ll also highlight some of the action from Arlington Million weekend in Illinois. As always, be sure to apply this information toward FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Irad Ortiz Jr. won four stakes last week, two at Saratoga and two at Arlington, and eight races overall. He now leads Javier Castellano in the Saratoga standings 29-24. Ortiz Jr. also has a commanding $700k+ lead in earnings. His big week began on Wednesday with a strike in the Quick Call atop World of Trouble. After sweeping the Arlington Million (Robert Bruce) and the Pucker Up (Secret Message) on Saturday, he returned to “The Spa” on Sunday and scored in the Saratoga Special (Call Paul).
Castellano moved past Luis Saez for second on the strength of an eight-win performance. Despite this, he might be a little frustrated after finishing second in all three of Saturday’s stakes races. Saez, third with 23 overall victories, bagged six winners last week, including a New York Stallion Series event atop Goodbye Brockley on Thursday.
Jose Ortiz continues to make up ground and is now fourth with 18 wins on the meet. He had eight winners last week despite riding at Arlington on Saturday, where he was second in two graded heats.
John Velazquez didn’t let a minor injury stop him from riding two Grade I winners at Arlington (Carrick in the Secretariat and Sistercharlie in the Beverly D.) on Saturday. Afterwards, he recorded two victories between Sunday and Monday at Saratoga. He now stands seventh with 14 wins.
Junior Alvarado is tied for eighth with Ricardo Santana Jr. at 13 triumphs apiece. He guided five mounts home first last week, including Adirondack victor Sue’s Fortune.
Jose Lezcano (seven wins) is far back in the competitive Saratoga standings but notched two stakes wins on Saturday. He went gate-to-wire in the Fourstardave atop Voodoo Song before rallying from last in the Lure aboard Inspector Lynley.
Flavien Prat pulled away from Drayden Van Dyke, taking a 22-17 lead into Pacific Classic week. He notched a half-dozen wins last week, though none were stakes. Van Dyke won just twice, but one was a stylish victory in the Best Pal atop Instagrand.
Tied for second with Van Dyke is Tyler Baze off a five-win stanza. Baze helped himself to two stakes; Friday’s Solana Beach (Cordiality) and Sunday’s Rancho Bernardo (Yuvetsi).
Apprentice Heriberto Figueroa pulled himself even at 13 victories with fellow bug rider Assael Espinoza. Figueroa now carries a five-pound allowance after registering his 40th career triumph.
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