This week’s jockey review highlights opening week at Saratoga and closing week at Los Alamitos. Delaware and Monmouth will also be discussed.
Irad Ortiz Jr. and Jose Lezcano are tied for the lead at five wins apiece after four days of racing at Saratoga. The former took the meet opener before guiding By Your Side home first in Saturday’s Sanford Stakes. Ortiz Jr. recorded a hat-trick on Sunday and boosted his ITM percentage to 63. The latter tallied at least one winner per day but was shutout stakes-wise.
Javier Castellano, Jose Ortiz and Junior Alvarado are tied for third at four wins each after Week 1. Castellano hit the board in 15 of his first 20 mounts, taking Thursday’s Schuylerville Stakes (Comical) in the process. Alvarado pulled off an upset in Friday’s Forbidden Apple Stakes with Mr Havercamp.
The aforementioned Jose Ortiz had an incredible Saturday at Delaware Park, taking the Delaware Handicap with Elate as well as three other stakes. The Dashing Beauty (Bronx Beauty) came first, followed by the Just a Kiss (Capla Temptress) and the Glasgow (Parlor). Ortiz does not ride regularly at Delaware of course; Alex Cintron currently leads all jockeys at the Wilmington oval with 31 wins.
Nik Juarez extended his lead over the idle Jose Ferrer at the Monmouth meet, winning four times. Juarez is now in front of Ferrer, who is expected to miss four weeks with a spine fracture, 51-34.
Paco Lopez will probably leap-frog Ferrer in short order as he sits third with 29 victories. He won seven times last weekend, which included a Blue Sparkler Stakes score atop Missmizz.
Monmouth will host the Haskell Invitational, traditionally their biggest annual event, this coming Saturday.
Apprentice Jorge Velez won four races over the final three days at Los Al to wrap up his first ever meet title with nine overall strikes. He was two ahead of Geovanni Franco, who won twice on just three mounts last week. The hot-starting J.C. Diaz finished third with six victories over the three-week summer session.
Joel Rosario guided Game Winner to a facile victory in Saturday’s Los Alamitos Derby, the final stake of the meet. Saratoga’s Travers Stakes in the Bob Baffert trainee’s next target.
The Southern California racing scene shifts to Del Mar beginning on Wednesday afternoon.
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