Weekly jockey review, 4/17/19; Smith sweeps Grade Is at Oaklawn

It’s time to catch up on the spring meet jockey standings at Aqueduct, Keeneland and Santa Anita. We’ll also visit Oaklawn, where a muddy Arkansas Derby weekend came and went.


Manny Franco and Jose Lezcano are tied at 13 wins apiece heading into the final week of racing at the Aqueduct spring meet. Each brought in eight winners last week, but Franco was the only one to win of the pair to win any stakes. He took Saturday’s Top Flight with Another Broad before scoring in Sunday’s Mizdirection winner Eyeinthesky. That helped to contribute to Franco’s sizable lead in earnings ($1.19 million to $688k).

The comebacking Kendrick Carmouche, third with seven victories, visited the winner’s circle five times last week. He’s one clear of Eric Cancel in fourth.

Irad Ortiz Jr. was in town on Wednesday and Sunday and won a pair of races each day. That included Sunday’s Plenty of Grace Stakes atop Fifty Five.


Javier Castellano added five wins to his meet-high total as the Keeneland spring season crossed the halfway point. He stands at 14 victories, five ahead of Joel Rosario and Florent Geroux. Castellano took Friday’s Maker’s 46 Mile with Delta Prince before nabbing Saturday’s Jenny Wiley atop Rushing Fall. He needs just one more stakes score to break the record for one meet.

Geroux was in top form last week, winning six times in total. He pulled off the upset in the Lexington Stakes with Owendale on Saturday. Rosario matched Geroux’s weekly total despite riding one fewer day (Saturday). He was victorious in Friday’s Limestone Turf Sprint atop Ginger Nut.

Julien Leparoux has been in a prolonged slump, but he finally had a solid five-win week at Keeneland. He was aboard two former stakes winners, Talk Veuve to Me and Gio Game, respectively, in allowance prep wins.


Ricardo Santana Jr. won eight times last week to tie David Cohen (five victories) at 59 winners for the meet, which ends on Kentucky Derby day. Santana visited the winner’s circle four times on Saturday, and chief among them was his score in the Count Fleet with Mitole. He also took Friday’s Fantasy Stakes with Lady Apple.

Mike Smith swiped both Saturday’s Arkansas Derby (Omaha Beach) and Sunday’s Apple Blossom (Midnight Bisou), Oaklawn’s two biggest races. Smith opted to ride Omaha Beach in the Kentucky Derby rather than Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster. The latter colt will be ridden by Geroux on the first Saturday in May.

Jose Ortiz won the Oaklawn Handicap with Quip on Saturday and was second in the Arkansas Derby with Improbable. Ortiz declared on Sunday that he would ride Wood Memorial winner Tacitus in the Kentucky Derby.

Santa Anita

Flavien Prat rode at Santa Anita exclusively on Sunday but scored three times to draw within one victory of the missing Rosario.

Drayden Van Dyke won four times to forge a third-place tie (32) with Geovanni Franco, who tallied just two triumphs.

Saturday’s Mizdirection Stakes went to Painting Corners and Joe Talamo, while Sunday’s Tokyo City Cup was won by Rafael Bejarano and Campaign.

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