It’s time to the review the week that was in horse racing, highlighting the most noteworthy jockey performances. We’ll start on the east coast with Belmont before moving west to Los Alamitos.
Manny Franco remains in front at the Belmont fall meet as the competition bunches up behind him. Franco tallied four winners at “Big Sandy” last week to boost his total to 17. He made a Saturday trip to Laurel count when he took both the Laurel Futurity and Selima Stakes.
Jose Lezcano, John Velazquez and Luis Saez are each tied for second at 12 wins apiece. Saez had the best week of the trio as he guided seven horses home first, including Naked Avenger in the Joseph A. Gimma and Dot Matrix in the Ashley T. Cole. Velazquez recorded three wins, all on Saturday, including a Noble Damsel score atop Significant Form. Lezcano notched just one victory.
Javier Castellano bagged six winners last week, bringing his Belmont total to 11. That included a Sunday stakes double, namely the Gallant Bloom (Come Dancing) and John Hettinger (Fifty Five).
Dylan Davis is sitting in eighth with just seven wins through three weeks. However, he had a memorable Saturday as he struck three times, most importantly in the featured Grade II Kelso thanks to a perfect ride on New York-bred Pat On the Back.
Irad Ortiz Jr. is ninth at just six victories, mainly because he’s taken only 32 mounts at the meet. His travels paid off handsomely on Saturday as he guided Math Wizard to a 31-1 upset in the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.
Julien Leparoux leads Corey Lanerie and Brian Hernandez Jr. at the brief Churchill September season, 8-7. Clicking at a solid 26 percent for the meet, Leparoux brought home a pair of winners on Friday. Lanerie struck three times while Hernandez had the hottest hand of all, taking six races. The meet wraps up this Sunday before racing moves to idyllic Keeneland.
Jorge Velez paced all riders at the three-week Los Al September meet, winning 14 times. Seven of those occurred over the final four racing days.
Assael Espinoza was a respectable second with 10 winners from just 26 mounts (38 percent). Martin Garcia bagged four winners last week to secure third place with eight overall triumphs.
Racing in SoCal shifts to Santa Anita for their fall meet, which begins on Friday. The Breeders’ Cup will be held there Nov. 1 and 2.
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