It was a super Saturday for horse racing, as the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass Stakes and Santa Anita Derby were held at Aqueduct, Keeneland and Santa Anita, respectively. Let’s review the results for the week at each circuit, focusing on the top jockey performances.
Manny Franco and Jose Lezcano both got off to successful starts at the Aqueduct spring meet. Each rider won five times, with Franco garnering more than double the purses ($682k to $314k). Franco was aboard Come Dancing, emphatic winner of Friday’s Distaff Handicap, as well as Gazelle winner Always Shopping and Carter victor World of Trouble on Saturday. Lezcano took one stake over the weekend, Sunday’s Danger’s Hour, atop Inspector Lynley.
John Velazquez was the only other rider to win more than two races on opening weekend despite riding exclusively on Saturday. He found the winner’s circle three times in all, taking the Bay Shore (Mind Control) and Excelsior (Life’s a Parlay). Jose Ortiz, in to ride for Saturday only, took the Wood Memorial with Tacitus.
Javier Castellano jumped out to a sizable early lead at Keeneland’s spring meet, winning nine races. He took Thursday’s Palisades (Bulletin), Friday’s Transylvania (Avie’s Flatter) and Saturday’s Madison (Spiced Perfection) before scoring in the meet’s signature event, the Blue Grass Stakes, atop Vekoma.
Florent Geroux sits in second after a four-win week. He’s one ahead of Paco Lopez, who had a solid three-win week with Saturday strikes in the Shakertown (Imprimus) and Ashland (Out for a Spin). Lopez shares third early on with Brian Hernandez Jr. and Joel Rosario.
Joel Rosario, currently splitting time at Keeneland and Santa Anita, recorded four wins at “The Great Race Place” between Saturday and Sunday, taking the Santa Anita Handicap with Gift Box in the process.
Flavien Prat, four behind Rosario at 52 victories, won six times last week. He took the Santa Anita Oaks (Bellafina) and Royal Heroine (Vasilika) on Saturday.
Geovanni Franco, third with 30 winners in all, made five trips to the winner’s circle last week. He struck in Saturday’s Echo Eddie (Lieutenant Dan) as well as Sunday’s Las Flores (Danuska’s My Girl).
Dryaden Van Dyke had seven winners last week but sits in fourth with 28 for the meet. He was aboard Evening Jewel victress Sneaking Out as well as Providencia upsetter Hostess.
Mike Smith, tied for sixth with Rafael Bejarano at 25 wins, won the Santa Anita Derby with a well-timed ride atop Roadster. He and Bob Baffert will try to win their second straight Kentucky Derby in just under a month.
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