It’s time to review the week that was in horse racing, focusing on jockey achievements. Belmont, Monmouth and Los Alamitos will be in the spotlight.
Jose Lezcano earned his first NYRA riding title at the Belmont spring/summer meet, as he held off Luis Saez 44-43. He capped off the meeting with a three-win final stanza, including his Belmont Derby upset aboard Henley’s Joy. Saez, who earned over half of his 43 victories in the final three weeks of the meet, closed strong by winning four races, including the Grade II John A. Nerud Stakes atop Promises Fulfilled.
Jose Ortiz also put in a good late rally in the final month of the Belmont meet, as he finished third with 40 triumphs. He notched six victories in the final racing week, though he was shut out stakes-wise.
John Velazquez notched a stakes trifecta that began on Friday with a River Memories score atop Semper Sententiae. Velazquez came back on Saturday with a picture-perfect ride atop Code of Honor in the Dwyer before taking Sunday’s State Dinner atop Prince Lucky.
Joel Rosario was the leading earner at the meet ($4.24 million) thanks mainly to his Belmont Stakes score with Sir Winston. He also took down the Grade I Man o’ War atop Channel Maker. Racing moves to Saratoga for their prestigious 40-day meet beginning on Thursday.
Despite bad weather prompting Monmouth to cancel half of its Saturday card, Nik Juarez managed to score six times and extend his lead over Jose Ferrer (47-34). He also placed in both the Irish War Cry Handicap and the Jersey Girl Handicap. Ferrer won just four times over the holiday weekend.
Paco Lopez had a productive week at Monmouth, winning five times. He took Thursday’s Rumson Stakes (Ray’swarrior) as well as Saturday’s Irish War Cry (Golden Brown). Amazingly, he made at pit stop at Parx on Saturday and took down the Parx Dash atop Pure Sensation. Lopez currently sits third at the meet with 22 scores.
Joe Bravo, one behind fourth-place Angel Suarez with 17 wins but striking at a 27 percent clip, won twice at the Oceanport oval last week, taking the Jersey Girl (Heading Home) in the process. He made a Saturday trip to Delaware Park count as he guided Jaywalk home first in the Delaware Oaks.
The Los Al summer meet title is up for grabs with four days remaining before racing shifts to Del Mar on July 17. Geovanni Franco, J.C. Diaz and Jorge Velez are tied for the lead at five wins apiece, while Flavien Prat and Edwin Maldonado are just one win behind. Martin Garcia, Tiago Pereira, Abel Cedillo and Evin Roman are within striking distance at three triumphs each.
Drayden Van Dyke took the lone stake of the weekend, the Grade II Great Lady M, with Marley’s Freedom.
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