There were graded stakes galore offered at Churchill Downs last week, while one rider attained a prestigious personal milestone at Santa Anita. Let’s go over all the action from thoroughbred racing from last week, focusing on jockey achievements.
Jose Lezcano maintains a comfortable lead at the Belmont spring/summer meeting that ends in three weeks. He won three races last week, including Saturday’s Dancin Renee Stakes with Holiday Disguise, to boost his total to 36. Lezcano is seven clear of Irad Ortiz Jr., who had a nine-win performance last week.
Junior Alvarado bagged six winners last week to draw within one victory of third place, currently held by Dylan Davis and Kendrick Carmouche (27).
Corey Lanerie remains atop the leaderboard in the Churchill spring/summer meet on the strength of a four-win week. He has 36 total victories, five better than Miguel Mena.
Stakes wins were well-divided on Stephen Foster Saturday. Gabriel Saez and Mr. Money struck first in the Matt Winn before Tyler Gaffalione and March to the Arch upset the Wise Dan. One race later, Jose Ortiz guided Elate to a bounce-back victory in the Fleur de Lis. John Velazquez was aboard Seeking the Soul in his upset win in the Stephen Foster before Julien Leparoux and Hard Legacy wrapped things up in the Regret.
Rafael Bejarano notched his 4,000th career victory during a three-win Saturday at Santa Anita Park. Portal Creek ($5.20) bested three others with Bejarano aboard in the third race of the day, just one after Dr. Troutman helped earn the Peru native career win number 3,999. Bejarano would visit the winner’s circle one more time that day after taking the Thor’s Echo Stakes (Desert Law). He later added a victory on Sunday for a weekend grand slam.
Bejarano sits third in the standings at the marathon meet, well behind Flavien Prat, who has all but clinched the riding title with just three days remaining. Racing in Southern California moves to Los Alamitos beginning on June 29.
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