Milestones, Saratoga Records: Joel Rosario, John Velazquez Tie For Jockey Of The Week Title

During its more than 150 year history, Saratoga Race Course has been the site of many historic racing moments for both human and equine athletes. For the week of Aug. 22 through Aug. 28, it was achievements by the human athletes that took center stage. Jockeys John Velazquez and Joel Rosario reached milestones and set records which may stand for quite a while. The riders tied for the honor of Jockey of the Week.

The award, which is voted on by a panel of racing experts, honors jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 1050 active, retired and permanently disabled jockeys in the United States.

On Thursday, John Velazquez recorded win 1,000 at Saratoga. Riding for Hall of Fame trainer, Bill Mott, Velazquez guided Precursory to a neck victory in the eighth race.

“When they come to a photo finish, if you’re betting, you might want to put your money on him,” said Mott. “To win the one that he set the record on is very meaningful.”

“By far, this is one of the best ones,” said Velazquez when asked where this ranks with his legion of accomplishments which includes five Saratoga leading rider titles. “Wins at Saratoga tend to mean a little bit more. It forces you to dig deeper if you want to be successful.”

Velazquez was not done for the week, however, as he followed up his historic milestone with a win on Saturday aboard Malathaat in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.

On Saturday, Joel Rosario continued his assault on graded stakes victories with a win aboard Gufo in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer for trainer Christophe Clement. Gufo rallied down the center of the inner turf track to post a half-length win for Rosario’s third win of the day.

Rosario’s fourth win of the day came in the Grade 1 Travers aboard Epicenter for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Off as the even-money favorite in the field of eight, Epicenter took the lead from Cyberknife at the top of the stretch to post a dominant five-length victory in 2:00.72 for the 1 1/4 miles. The win was the first in the Travers for Rosario.

The Travers was the 12th graded stakes victory of the meet for Rosario, setting a record for the most graded stakes wins by a rider in a single Saratoga meeting. The previous record was set by John Velazquez with 11 graded stakes wins in 2005 and equaled by Javier Castellano in 2015.

‘It’s amazing,” said Rosario. “I have a great agent. Ron Anderson is amazing and I have to thank him and everyone for all the opportunities they’ve given me.”

Rosario also won the Seeking the Ante aboard Maple Leaf Mel on Friday for trainer Jeremiah Englehardt.

Other contenders for Jockey of the Week were Jose Ortiz with five stakes wins, Irad, Ortiz, Jr, also with five stakes wins, and Leonel Reyes who led all jockeys for the week in wins with 11.

The post Milestones, Saratoga Records: Joel Rosario, John Velazquez Tie For Jockey Of The Week Title appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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