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In the state of Florida, the racing year begins on July 1st. Gulfstream Park for the first time ran unopposed during the summer months, making a deal with Churchill Downs and taking control of the Calder racing dates. Taking a look at the jockey stats during the past year as well as the past six and three months shows us some interesting numbers.
In sprints for the last year at Gulfstream, the leading jockey in amount of wins was Edgard Zayas, who won 103 of his 516 sprint races (19.96%), easily outpacing apprentice Tyler Gaffalione, who was next with 56 wins out of 413 sprints races (13.56%). The only jockey in the top 20 in wins at Gulfstream with a better winning percentage was apprentice Harry Hernandez, who came to Gulfstream in the spring and was 21 for 102 (20.59%) in sprints.
In the last six months in sprints, Gaffalione has the most wins with 51 out of 339 races (15.04%). Zayas, who missed a lot of time during the last six months due to injury, was next with a record of 40 for 262 (15.27%). There were three jockeys in the top 20 during this time period with a winning percentage over 20. They were Luis Saez at 28 for 139 (20.14%), Harry Hernandez at 21 for 102 (20.59%) and Jose Lezcano at 11 for 49 (22.45%). The only jockeys to be over 50% ITM at this time period were Javier Castellano at 52.63% and Harry Hernandez at 50.98%.
In the last three months in sprints, when the northern jockeys left for home, Gaffalione was the leading jockey with a record of 40 for 204 (19.61%). Next was Eddie Castro with a record of 30 for 154 (19.48%). The next three jockeys all had winning percentages over 20 percent. They were Jonathan Gonzales at 24 for 108 (22.2%), Harry Hernandez at 21 for 102 (20.59%) and Edgard Zayas at 20 for 97 (20.62%). Surprisingly, the jockey in the top 20 with the best in the money percentage was Jocelyne “Jocy” Gomez, who was 22 for 39 in the money, 56.41 percent.
Looking at the numbers you can see when he was healthy and riding, Zayas was the top jockey at Gulfstream. When he was out due to injury, Gaffalione compiled the best numbers but his percentages weren’t as good as Zayas or even apprentice Harry Hernandez when he came to town. Gaffalione is scheduled to lose the bug soon and it will be interesting to see how he fares without the benefit of the bug. But Hernandez should be able to pick up the slack and be the top bug in the area while Zayas should continue his domination of the Gulfstream summer and fall meet, when he was 88 for 377 overall at this meet last year, easily outpacing Ramsey Zimmerman who was 56 for 314 overall and Jesus Rios who was 38 for 264.
In a note about American Pharoah, it was announced this week that his next start will be the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park on August 2nd. A three day celebration called the Pharoah Phun Phestival will be held that weekend and it gives New Jersey a chance to celebrate the Triple Crown winner, trainer Bob Baffert, who will be inducted into the Monmouth Hall of Fame and Zayat Stables, residents of New Jersey. A record crowd and handle is expected in the Haskell. American Pharoah looks to have the three year old championship and Horse of the Year locked up already and we must give credit for the connections to want to bring the champion to tracks that may not have the prestige of other races or even the purse or bonus structure of some bigger tracks. This is a Championship Tour which will set attendance and ratings record for horse racing and we need to support it and enjoy it because for all we know, it might be another 37 years before it happens again.
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