Joel Rosario’s trip to Monmouth Park on Saturday resulted in three graded stakes wins earning him Jockey of the Week honors for July 12 through July 18. The award, which is voted on by a panel of racing experts, is for jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 active riders in the United States as well as retired and permanently disabled jockeys.
Trainer Chad Brown gave a leg up to Rosario on Great Island in the Grade 3 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on the turf at 1 1/8 miles. Breaking from post position two in the field of six, Great Island settled at the back of the field, moved up on the far turn and finished fast to just catch Kalifornia Queen and prevail by a half-length in 1:48.89.
“She’s a nice horse and it makes it easy when you ride that kind of horse,” Rosario said.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Dr Post was ridden by Rosario for the first time in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. Off as second choice in the wagering, Dr Post settled off the pace in the field of six, moved up on the backside and rallied six wide into the stretch to pull away for a 1-1/4-length victory in 1:47.53.
“I never rode this horse before, but Todd said he has been a little more focused with the blinkers,” Rosario said. “I think that was the case in the race.”
Riding again for Todd Pletcher, Rosario had the mount on Graceful Princess in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Off at odds of 14-1 in the field of nine, Graceful Princess came from off the pace and rolled to a three-quarters length victory in 1:47.67.
“It’s always nice to ride for Todd, I don’t think she has run quite this well before but today she was ready and she won a tough race and proved she was ready for this kind of company,” said Rosario.
With the win, Rosario swept the first three graded stakes on the card.
“I came into today thinking I had some chances but you don’t know,” said Rosario. “You have to have the right horses.”
Rosario’s weekly stats were: 31-5-4-6 for an in-the-money percentage of 48.3 and total purse earnings of $852,648 to lead all riders.
Other contenders for Jockey of the Week were Manny Franco who won the Grade 1 Diana, Irad Ortiz, Jr. with two Grade 3 stakes, Luis Saez also with two Grade 3 stakes, and Ruben Silvera who posted nine victories from 22 mounts.
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