FanXT dives into the week that was in horse racing, highlighting jockey achievements on both coasts.
Manny Franco has bounced back from a rough Saratoga meet to take the lead in the Belmont fall season. He’s in front of Jose Lezcano 13-11 through two weeks. Franco notched 10 wins last week on the strength of an eye-catching four straight victories to start Friday’s card. Lezcano matched Franco’s four-win feat on Thursday but won just two other races last week.
John Velazquez and Joel Rosario are currently tied at nine wins apiece. The former won four straight starts on Saturday, including the Pebbles Stakes (Blowout) en route to a six-win performance for the stanza. The latter won just three times due to riding commitments at Kentucky Downs and Woodbine, where he came up largely empty.
Jorge Velez and Assael Espinoza are tied at six wins for the Los Al September meet lead with just three racing days remaining. Velez won three times while taking about double the mounts Espinoza, who won twice, chose to last week.
Joe Talamo is a close third at five victories following a three-win week highlighted by his Los Alamitos Special score atop Zestful on Sunday.
The lucrative five-day all-turf meeting at Kentucky Downs wrapped up on Thursday, and Jose Ortiz emerged as the leading rider with 10 victories. He won a whopping four stakes there including the meet centerpiece, the Kentucky Turf Cup, atop Zulu Alpha.
Julien Leparoux was a clear second at Kentucky Downs with seven wins, including opening Saturday’s Tourist Mile score atop Snapper Sinclair. He carried the momentum over to Churchill Downs, where he won six times during opening weekend to take the early lead.
Florent Geroux, Adam Beschizza and Tyler Gaffalione each won five times at Kentucky Downs to earn a split of third place. Geroux managed a victory in the Runhappy Turf Sprint with Totally Boss, while Gaffalione took the Ladies Sprint with Morticia.
Irad Ortiz Jr. was well-traveled last weekend but he made his trips to Churchill and Woodbine count. He guided Dennis’ Moment home first in the Iroquois on Saturday before sweeping both the Natalma (Abscond) and Summer Stakes (Decorated Invader) on Sunday.
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