Keeneland opened for business last weekend, while fall meets at Belmont and Santa Anita rolled on. We’ll recap all the action here, highlighting the best jockey performances of the week. Don’t forget to apply this information toward FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
Manny Franco won six races over the six-day racing week to maintain a narrow lead over Irad Ortiz Jr., 24-23. The leading mount-getter at “Big Sandy” notched his 1,000th career victory on Friday with Courageous Bet ($14.60) in Race 8.
“After I crossed the wire, I was excited,” he told NYRA publicity afterwards. “Thanks to all the owners and trainers for letting me ride their horses and [for] making this possible. I wasn’t expecting to be where I am right now, but the sky’s the limit.”
Ortiz Jr. won eight races at Belmont last week, including three stakes. He was aboard Disco Partner in the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational on Saturday, then won both the Futurity (Uncle Benny) and the Grade I Flower Bowl (Fourstar Crook) on Sunday.
Jose Ortiz, riding part-time at Keeneland, still managed to win seven times at Belmont last week. That included a Saturday grand slam, highlighted by Grade I wins with Wow Cat in the Beldame and Complexity in the Champagne.
Joel Rosario forged a tie for fourth with Javier Castellano (19 wins) after posting seven triumphs over six days. He won Sunday’s Grade I Frizette atop Jaywalk before taking Monday’s Knickerbocker with Blacktype.
Jose Ortiz led all riders during Keeneland’s opening weekend with four victories (15 mounts). He recorded a Sunday hat-trick, capped off by a well-timed rally atop Current to win the Grade III Bourbon.
Julien Leparoux, second with three winners, was the only other rider to win more than two starts at Keeneland. His week was highlighted by his inaugural Indian Summer Stakes score atop Strike Silver.
Tyler Gaffalione is the early earnings leader after his upset victory aboard Next Shares in the Shadwell Turf Mile. He won twice over the first three days of the fall meet.
Flavien Prat’s powerful nine-win display last week paved the way to his meet-leading 11-win total through two stanzas. Surprisingly, he was shut out in the stakes department, though Prat placed in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, City of Hope Mile, and L.A. Woman Stakes over the weekend.
Assael Espinoza won his first six races of the meet to tie Drayden Van Dyke for second early on.
Tiago Pereira won a pair of stakes, the Speakeasy (Its Gonna Hurt) and L.A. Woman (Skye Diamonds), to tie Mike Smith for fourth at five wins each. Close behind is Gary Stevens, who won both the City of Hope Mile (Sharp Samurai) and the Zuma Beach (King of Speed) to get to four victories.
The invading Paco Lopez stole the weekend’s most lucrative race, the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, atop Roy H, and placed in three other races from five total starts.
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