Luis Saez Voted Jockey Of The Week After Graded Stakes Double

With two graded stakes wins including the Grade 2 Jim Dandy, Luis Saez was voted Jockey of the Week for July 26 through August 1. The award, which is voted on by a panel of racing experts, is for jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 active riders in the United States as well as retired and permanently disabled jockeys.

On Saturday at Saratoga, trainer Brad Cox called on regular rider Luis Saez to pilot Champion Essential Quality in the highly anticipated Jim Dandy at nine furlongs. Starting for the first time since his victory in the G1 Belmont Stakes in June, Essential Quality was the heavy favorite in the field of five breaking from post position five. Saez and Essential Quality were four wide into the first turn but within 2-1/2 lengths of the frontrunner Dr Jack. The duo continued four wide into the far turn. As the field turned for home, Saez and Essential Quality made a sweeping outside move to take command at the three-sixteenths, but had to dig-in when challenged by Joel Rosario on Keepmeinmind. It was a race down to the finish line with Essential Quality pulling clear in the shadow of the wire in a final time of 1:49.92.

“I saw him (Keepmeinmind), but I had a lot horse and I knew he was going to finish,” said Saez.

Saez continued his winning ways in the next race, the Grade 2 Bowling Green. Riding for trainer Mike Maker, Saez and defending champion Cross Border were always within striking distance of the early leaders Channel Cat and Channel Maker. Saez angled Cross Border out from the rail out of the final turn to overtake Channel Cat in the final furlong and hit the wire in the front by 1-1/2 lengths in 2:16.36 for the 1-3/8 miles contest.

“He loves it here. This is a special horse that I love riding,” Saez said. “He always tries hard. Today he ran huge. It set up perfect with a good pace.”

Saez’s weekly statistics were 41-8-4-6 for a 19.5% win rate and total purse earnings of $860,098 which led all riders. Saez was also leading rider in stakes earnings with $500,825.

Saez out polled fellow riders Corey Lanerie who won the Grade 2 Honorable Miss, Jose Lezcano who won the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Joel Rosario with two stakes wins, and Sheldon Russell with one stakes victory while registering his 1,500th career victory.

The post Luis Saez Voted Jockey Of The Week After Graded Stakes Double appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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