Gaffalione clinches jockey title at Churchill Downs

Gaffalione clinches jockey title at Churchill Downs
Photo: Churchill Downs

With 12 races remaining in 2021 at Churchill Downs, jockey Tyler Gaffalione already has clinched his sixth straight Churchill Downs meet riding title. The Florida native entered Sunday’s closing-day program with an insurmountable 30-18 win lead at the fall meet over Brian Hernandez Jr.

Gaffalione dominated throughout the year at Churchill Downs with 92 victories and more than $6.6 million in purse earnings. The next highest win total, as of Sunday, was Hernandez with 57 wins.

This was Gaffalione’s seventh overall riding title at Churchill Downs. He won the 2018 fall meet with 21 wins. The 27-year-old’s 2021 fall meet was highlighted by a six-win day on Nov. 12 and five-win day on Nov. 25.

Rafael Bejarano’s 17 wins was third in the standings, followed by Joel Rosario (16 wins), Mitchell Murrill (15), James Graham, (11), Corey Lanerie (11), Florent Geroux (10), Joe Talamo (9) and Martin Garcia (8).

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen secured his record-extending 25th title with 20 wins entering Sunday. He was 10 in front of Brad Cox and Kenny McPeek. Asmussen had seven entries on closing day.

Overall in 2021, Asmussen lead Cox by 11 wins with 46 victories from 263 starts. His runners earned more than $4.4 million.

The fall meet leading owner title will be decided Sunday as M and M Racing had a 4-3 win lead over BBN Racing, Lothenbach Stables and Ten Strike Racing. Lothenbach Stables and Ten Strike racing had no entries, but BBN Racing had one entry in Race 8.

Lynn and Lola Cash’s Built Wright Stables, who had three victories at the meet, could surpass M and M Racing with four entries Sunday in Races 2, 3, 5 and 9. The husband-and-wife duo changed their ownership name to Built Wright Stables halfway through the meet.

Calumet Farm also could surpass M and M Racing with runners in Races 3, 9 and 10, and Rigney Racing could tie M and M Racing with entries in Races 7 and 12.

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