Ron Anderson was agent for jockey Jerry Bailey in 2003 when he won 55 graded stakes to set an all-time North American record. He was agent for Garrett Gomez in 2007 when the latter recorded 76 stakes victories to set the all-time single season record in that category.
Anderson is taking aim at both records this season with Joel Rosario, the leading jockey in North America by stakes, graded stakes and money won in 2021. The 36-year-old native of Dominican Republic also has a very good chance of surpassing the single-season earnings record of $34,109,019 set in 2019 by Irad Ortiz Jr.
“We get up every morning to try and do things that other people haven’t done,” Anderson said, adding that the records are important to both him and Rosario, the favorite to win his first Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey of 2021.
“Joel is a humble kid and not an ‘all me’ type of person,” Anderson said. “At the end of the day, to be mentioned in the same breath as Jerry Bailey and Garrett really is a big deal. He’s the nicest, sweetest kid, respectful to hot walkers and grooms, a very special person. I don’t know that I’ve ever been around anyone like him.”
Entering Thanksgiving week, Rosario has won 49 graded stakes and 69 stakes overall in 2021, with $32,159,053 in mount earnings for the year.
He is currently riding at Churchill Downs, where he has picked up mounts for Mike Maker on Army Wife in Thursday’s Grade 2 Falls City Stakes and on Midnight Bourbon for trainer Steve Asmussen in the G1 Clark Stakes. Churchill Downs has four stakes scheduled on Saturday, including the G2 Golden Rod Stakes and G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
Rosario will then go to Aqueduct to ride Dec. 2-5, including the Dec. 4 program that features four graded stakes: the G1 Cigar Mile Handicap, G2 Demoiselle, G2 Remsen, and G3 Go for Wand Handicap.
After that, Rosario will take a week off while serving a three-day suspension he received Preakness week in Maryland last May. He’ll then surface at Remington Park on Dec. 17 for a day that includes five ungraded stakes, topped by the $400,000 Remington Springboard Mile. The following day, he’ll be at Gulfstream Park for a Dec. 18 card featuring five stakes, four of them graded.
The following weekend, Rosario will ride the opening day card at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, featuring six graded stakes and Anderson has plans for Rosario to ride in the final graded stakes of the year, the G3 Robert Frankel, at Santa Anita on Dec. 31.
Rosario will kick off 2022 at Oaklawn, where he has not ridden full time, though two years ago won with 17 of 45 mounts at the Hot Springs, Ark., track, a 38% strike rate. Rosario appears to be well situated to pick up mounts at Oaklawn from the powerful stable of leading trainer Steve Asmussen, whose partnership with jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. seems to have soured after the latter went through a prolonged slump this fall and lost mounts to Rosario on G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Echo Zulu and G1 Preakness and G1 Travers Stakes runner-up Midnight Bourbon in Friday’s Clark Stakes at Churchill Downs.
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