should be no surprise that Saratoga Race Course, which boasts a strong daily
purse distribution and the finest stakes program in North America, has attracted
a deep colony of jockeys.
Ramon Dominguez has won the last
nine riding titles at NYRA racetracks, and the native of Venezuela is vying for his second consecutive
championship. Currently the leading jockey in North
America in both wins and earnings, Dominguez has ample competition
this year at the Spa.
super happy to have been able to come to New York and do this well consistently,” said
Dominguez. “I’m blessed to get so much support from so many people. Saratoga is very
challenging. There’s a lot of pressure because we always have to be our
His competition includes five
riders who have combined to win eight Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey,
with Kent Desormeaux (1989, 1992), John Velazquez (2004-05), and Garrett Gomez
(2007-08) having won the award twice. The other jockeys at Saratoga to have received
the award are Edgar Prado (2006) and Julien Leparoux (2009).
Desormeaux, who twice came within
one race of sweeping the Triple Crown, won last year’s Grade 1, $1 million
Travers, the centerpiece of the Saratoga meeting, aboard Summer Bird. Inducted
into the Hall of Fame in 2004, Desormeaux is ranked fifth among all riders with
nearly $264 million in earnings.
Velazquez has won the Saratoga title twice and
his 65 wins in 2004 remain course a record. Prado has also won two titles at the
Spa while Gomez, who has led the nation in earnings the past four years, and
Leparoux will try to top the standings for the first time.
Calvin Borel, winner of three of
the last six Triple Crown races, looks to add another page to his storybook
career this year at the Spa. The native of Louisiana won the 2007 Travers with Street
Sense, and last year guided the eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra to
her history-making victory in the Woodward.
The colony also includes Robby
Albarado, who was the regular rider of the all-time North American earnings
leader Curlin; the Bridgmohan brothers, Shaun and Jermaine; 2001 Kentucky Derby
winner Jorge Chavez; 2008 Belmont Stakes and Saratoga title winner Alan Garcia;
Alex Solis, who is plying his trade at Saratoga for the first time after
competing in Southern California for most of his career; Cornelio Velasquez, the
leading jockey at the Spa in 2007; Eibar Coa; David Cohen; Jose Espinoza; Pablo
Fragoso; Channing Hill; Michael Luzzi; Rajiv Maragh; Miguel Mena; Jean-Luc
Samyn; Victor Santiago; Maylan Studart; and apprentices Freddie Lenclud, Antonio
Lopez, and Jaime Rodriguez.