‘They All Have A Place In My Heart’: Flavien Prat Celebrates 1,000th Career Victory

A budding superstar, French-born Flavien Prat, Santa Anita’s reigning Winter/Spring Champion Jockey and current meet leader, registered his 1,000th North American victory in Friday’s second race, a 6 ½ furlong starter allowance for fillies and mares, aboard the Jonathan Wong-trained Clockstrikestwelve. Santa Anita’s leading Winter/Spring jockey in both 2019-20 and 2016-17, Prat, 28, in an amazing span of roughly six years, has amassed 11 Southern California riding titles and is currently tied for 13th with retired Hall of Famer Donald Pierce on Santa Anita’s all-time Winter/Spring stakes-won list with 99 added money victories through this past Monday.

With a three-win day on Monday and 11 wins that included two stakes over the four-day Presidents’ Day holiday, Prat entered Friday’s festivities with 998 career wins. Victorious in today’s opener aboard Bob Baffert’s 2-5 favorite Du Jour, Prat wasted little time in reaching number 1,000 as he guided Wong’s 3-5 favorite Clockstrikestwelve to a last to first triumph in race two, winning by 2 ¼ lengths.

Born Aug. 4, 1992 in Melun, France, Prat, the son of a trainer, won the 2019 Kentucky Derby via disqualification aboard the William Mott-trained Country House and is currently atop the Santa Anita rider standings with 32 wins, three more than Juan Hernandez, with 25 full days of racing completed. Also in 2019, Prat also became only the third jockey to ever win the Kentucky Derby and Canada’s championship race for 3-year-olds, the Queen’s Plate, in the same year, joining Bill Hartack (1964) and Kent Desormeaux (1998).

“It means a lot, it’s a big achievement,” said Prat following today’s second race. “I wasn’t dreaming of that when I came here (from France) to be honest with you and I didn’t think it would happen so quickly. It felt like yesterday that I got here and started riding…

“(Looking to the future) I hope to do as good as I have done. I don’t want to be satisfied with what I’ve done, I want to try to improve. I think there’s room for improvement…It’s nice, it’s been a lot of support from my family and the trainers and owners, all the connections. It’s something I share with everybody. I’ve been lucky to have been on a lot of good horses…They all have a place in my heart.”

Clockstrikestwelve, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by New Year’s Day who had won her last four starts, three of them at Golden Gate Fields, was saddled by trainer Kristin Mulhall and paid $3.20 to win.

Prat, who as a teenager, worked full-time during the winter mornings for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella and split riding time between Santa Anita and his native France, registered his first Santa Anita win at age 17 on Jan. 15, 2010 aboard the Suzanne Rodriguez-trained Heavenly n’ Free, who paid $103.40 to win.

In a move that surprised many in the racing industry, Prat announced last week that he was parting company with his longtime agent Derek Lawson and that he had hired veteran agent Brad Pegram, who will now represent both Prat and Mike Smith.

The post ‘They All Have A Place In My Heart’: Flavien Prat Celebrates 1,000th Career Victory appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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