Jockey Luis Saez, a recent addition to the New York riding
colony, brought home five winners, including back-to-back dead heat
victories, on Friday afternoon
at Belmont Park.
Saez, 20, of Panama, began the day by piloting Copper Forest
($4.30) to dead-heat with Anaphylaxis in race 3, a one-mile optional
claimer, and came right back to guide
late-running Smash ($5.20) to hit the wire in tandem with Leave of
Absence in race 4, a six-furlong optional claimer, both on the main
Saez made it three in a row in race 5 with a 3 ½-length score
aboard Hardest Core ($13.80) in a 1 ¼-mile maiden race on the turf, and
wrapped up the card by taking races
8 and 9, both 1 1/16-mile turf events, with North Slope ($15.60) and
Here’s D’Bride ($7.70), respectively.
Both Hardest Core and
North Slope are trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.
“I’m so exited,” said Saez, who moved his tack from
Florida to New York
in April. “Thanks to God, the trainers, and my agent [Richard DePass].
Today, the horses ran good for me. It’s a little hard here in
New York, but, thank God, we’re doing great here. Trainers have given me opportunities, so I have to ride hard.”
Saez currently is tied in fifth place with Jose Lezcano in the
spring/summer meet jockey standings with 23 winners, including victories
in the Grade 2 Peter Pan with Belmont Stakes contender Freedom Child
and the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay with Tannery.
The 145th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes will be held at
Park on Saturday, June 8.