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Paco Lopez’ Six Stakes Wins Net Him Back-To-Back Jockey Of The Week Titles – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

With six stakes wins over the weekend at Gulfstream Park, Paco Lopez was voted Jockeys’ Guild Foundation Detox Jockey of the Week for December 2-8, 2019. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by FoundationDetox.com, America’s #1 Equine Toxin Remover.

Paco Lopez returned for a second consecutive week as Jockey of the Week after winning a remarkable six stakes over the weekend at Gulfstream Park.

Last week, Lopez ventured out to Del Mar, where he won three graded stakes in one day, including the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.

Back on his home turf, Lopez won four stakes during the Claiming Crown on Saturday and two stakes on Clasico Internacional del Caribe Day on Sunday.

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Lopez had a mount in nearly every race on Claiming Crown day. Of his eight Claiming Crown mounts, he won four and finished second twice.

Lopez won the $110,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit with Royal Squeeze ($7.80), the $110,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury with Shekky Shebaz ($2.60), the $125,000 Claiming Crown Tiara with Lucky Long ($9.40) and the $125,000 Claiming Crown Emerald with Muggsamatic ($5.80).

On Sunday, Lopez won two more stakes, starting with the $86,500 Copa Dama del Caribe with Genubi Asquifar ($11.00). He ended his six-stakes weekend with a bang, riding The Brother Slew ($92.80) to a massive upset victory in the feature race, the $300,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe.

Not only did Lopez win more stakes than any other rider in North America last week, he was the leading rider by overall wins as well. Lopez won 12 of his 42 starts for the week and finished in the money in half of his races. He is now 273 for 998 in 2019, with 2,704 wins in 13,177 career starts.

Among North American jockeys last week, Lopez was second by stakes winnings with $515,770 and second by total earnings of $662,020. With this week’s earnings, he passed the $10 million mark in 2019 and has career earnings of nearly $96 million.

The Brother Slew Gives Venezuela Clasico del Caribe Win

The Brother Slew, a 45-1 longshot ridden by Paco Lopez, prevented a sweep by Mexico of the five Clasico Internacional del Caribe stakes at Gulfstream Park Dec. 8, scoring an upset victory for Venezuela in the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe.

“This is the best thing that ever happened in my life,” owner/trainer Paul Valery said through an interpreter. “Just the opportunity to win with this horse and come to Miami and Gulfstream Park and win here, it’s a dream come true.”

Temple City
The Clasico del Caribe, a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 3-year-olds, was the grand finale of the Clasico Internacional del Caribe program for horses representing Caribbean and Latin American countries. The program hosted by Gulfstream for the third consecutive year drew a large crowd, including many fans of the seven represented countries who waved flags rooting for their horses.

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The Brother Slew ($92.80) gained prime stalking position along the rail behind Puerto Rico’s pacesetter Papa Candelo, who set fractions of :23.96 and :48.14. The Venezuela-bred son of Slew’s Tizzy continued to track Papa Candelo into the homestretch before being eased to the outside for the stretch run. Brother Slew opened a clear lead in midstretch but was under a drive to withstand an inside bid by Gran Omero, another Venezuelan representative, ridden by Javier Castellano.

“What an amazing feeling this is. I’m so lucky to have this opportunity,” Lopez said. “This was a longshot, but I really love this horse, and when I went to the paddock with no pony, my horse felt very comfortable and very happy jumping around. I didn’t know if I’d win, but I knew we’d be 1, 2, (or) 3. I waited and my horse was looking around a little bit, because there were a lot of people, but my horse ran very big.”

Castellano, whose horse brushed the inside rail nearing the finish line, claimed foul against the winner, and the stewards posted the inquiry sign. The Brother Slew, who finished a length ahead of Gran Omero, was subsequently declared the official winner.

“I (wasn’t worried) about the inquiry,” Valery said. “Either way, winning or finishing second, for me it was a big win.”

The Brother Slew finished in 1:51.76 on a fast track for his second win in seven starts. Gran Omero finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Panama’s Turpin Time.

Kukulkan Strong in Gulfstream Return
Cuadra San Jorge’s Kukulkan was a popular and powerful winner in his Gulfstream return, getting a well-timed ride from Irad Ortiz Jr. and dominating four rivals with a six-length victory in the $98,000 Copa Confraternidad del Caribe.

Trained by Fausto Gutierrez and sent off as the 1-10 favorite, Kukulkan was wrapped up by Ortiz inside the eighth pole and hit the wire in 2:04.19 for his 16th victory and the fourth of the afternoon for Ortiz.

Kukulkan joined former stablemate Jala Jala in winning the Copa Confraternidad and Clasico del Caribe in back-to-back years. Mexico’s Triple Crown winner of 2018 who went undefeated in his first 14 starts, Kukulkan captured last year’s Clasico by 10 1/4 lengths.

Ortiz, the reigning Eclipse Award winner from Puerto Rico, also rode Jala Jala to her wins in the 2017 Clasico and 2018 Confraternidad.

“He’s such a nice horse,” Ortiz said of Kukulkan. “He’s got so much talent. It’s so special to get to ride him.”

Kukulkan’s first defeat came in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) in January. The 4-year-old Point Determined colt rebounded to win an allowance at Churchill Downs and finish second in the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes (G3) at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort two starts later.

Gutierrez was proud of Kukulkan’s effort and hinted a return to graded competition is in the cards for his stable star.

“I think it was an obligation to run in this race here. I think he will run in another level here, back with the strong group. We will stay here and run in the stronger races,” Gutierrez said. “At this level, he is a champion of these horses. If we are being honest, the competition was not tough for him. We have to plan to run here in a good race, maybe a (grade) 3.”

Ortiz has won seven of the 15 Clasico Internacional del Caribe races contested at Gulfstream Park, including the 2017 and 2018 Clasico del Caribe.

“I just have the support from the owners and trainers; you can see I ride for Mexico and I’m from Puerto Rico. I get a lot of support from all of them—Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama—and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me,” Ortiz said. “Doing well on a day like today means so much. All of my people are here, and they go crazy when they see me, so I’m just enjoying the moment.”

Mexico Sweeps Undercard Stakes
Rancho La Soledad’s Genubi Asquifar ($11) gave Mexico its second straight winner to open the Clasico program. Ridden by Lopez, Genubi Asquifar reeled in Dominican Republic pacesetter Best Trebol and drew away in the $86,500 Copa Dama del Caribe for 3-year-old fillies. She completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.35.

Cuadra San Jorge’s undefeated filly Letruska made it a Mexican hat trick in the $85,000 Copa Invitacional del Caribe for 3-year-olds and up, going gate-to-wire to beat the boys and earn her seventh consecutive victory, this one under Gulfstream regular Emisael Jaramillo. A sophomore daughter of Super Saver also trained by Gutierrez, Letruska ($5.20) had plenty left to withstand late runs from Bravo Ignacio and Celandine. She completed 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.01. It was the first race for Letruska since her second straight group 1 victory in Mexico July 20 and her first win over older males, though she beat older females in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance in April.

Rancho Pozo De Luna’s Sacamandu, at 32-1 the longest shot in the field, gave Mexico a clean sweep of the undercard stakes with a frontrunning score in the $115,000 Copa Velocidad del Caribe for 3-year-olds. Ridden by Luis Contreras for trainer Ariel Ruiz, Sacamandu ($67) ran six furlongs in 1:10.41.

The Brother Slew upsets Clasico del Caribe at 45-1

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The Brother Slew, the lesser regarded of the three Venezuelan representatives in the $200,000 Clasico del Caribe, set off a raucous celebration while lighting up the tote board in the process after holding off Gran Omero to upset the main event on Sunday’s Clasico Internacional del Caribe program at Gulfstream Park.

The Brother Slew and jockey Paco Lopez had to survive an inquiry and claim of foul by Javier Castellano, the rider of Gran Omero, before the result was made official. Gran Omero also represented Venezuela in the Clasico del Caribe, along with Doctor Sotelo.

Although Venezuela swept the first two placings in the Clasico, it was Mexico who dominated the afternoon, winning the first four stakes on the program including the co-featured Copa Confraternidad with last year’s Clasico winner Kukulkan.

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The Brother Slew came into the Clasico with just one victory in six previous outings. He had finished a distant third in Group 1 races in each of his last two starts and was racing on Lasix for the first time on Sunday. The Venezuelan-bred son of Slew’s Tizzy raced within easy striking distance of pacesetter Papa Candelo from the outset, readily overtook the leader after racing wide into the stretch, edged clear, then held off Gran Omero while lugging in under a right-hand stick and putting that one in tight quarters near the finish line.

The Brother Slew is owned and trained by Paul Valery. He completed a mile and one eighth over a fast track in 1:51.76 and paid $92.80.

“This is the best thing that ever happened in my life. Just the opportunity to come here to Miami and win with this horse at Gulfstream Park is a dream come true,” said Valery. “I said when I bought this horse he was going to be the winner of the Clasico del Caribe. I didn’t worry about the inquiry because either way, win or second, for me he was a big winner.”

Kukulkan romps in Copa Confraternidad

Kukulkan paved the way for team Mexico’s big day, coasting to a six length victory over Kandinsky and three other overmatched rivals in the $100,000 Copa Confraternidad. Kukulkan became the second horse from Mexico to sweep the Clasico del Caribe and Confraternidad in consecutive years. His stablemate Jala Jala completed the same feat here last season. Both horses are trained by Fausto Gutierrez for owner-breeder Cuadra San Jorge.

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. took Kukulkan in hand with the issue no longer in doubt in the final furlong. Kukulkan, who was graded stakes-placed earlier this season in the U.S., paid $2.10 as the prohibitive favorite.

“At this level, he is a champion of these horses,” said Gutierrez. “If we are being honest, the competition was not tough for him. We have to plan to run here in a good race, maybe a [Grade] 3.”

Kukulkan was the first of two winners on the day for Gutierrez and Cuadra San Jorge, whose 3-year-old filly Letruska led throughout to easily defeat males in the $85,000 Copa Invitacional del Caribe. The win was the seventh in as many starts for the Kentucky-bred daughter of Super Saver who captured a pair of Group 1 races in Mexico by a combined margin of 23 1/2 lengths earlier this summer.

Letruska returned $5.20 as the second choice with her final time of 2:04.01 for 1 1/4 miles, .18 seconds faster than Kukulkan covered the same distance. She was ridden to victory by Emisael Jaramillo.

After the race, Gutierrez said he also plans to keep Letruska in South Florida to run against Grade 3 competition later this winter.

Genubi Asquifar, Sacamandu also win for Mexico

The Mexican flag was also proudly displayed on two other occasions during the festive afternoon, following victories by Genubi Asquifar in the $86,500 Copa Dama del Caribe and Sacamandu in the $115,000 Copa Velocidad del Caribe.

Genubi Asquifar ($11) rallied from just off the pace to a 1 1/2-length decison over another Mexican-bred, Laika, in the Copa Dama. Paco Lopez rode the winner for trainer Efrain Loza.

Sacamandu led a sweep of the first two placings for Mexico in the Confederacion Hipica, controlling all the pace en route to a 3 3/4-length win over 5-2 co-choice Ferragamo. Despite winning his last two starts and being Group 1-placed earlier in the year, Sacamandu was overlooked in the wagering, returning $67 to win.

Succesful Trip To Del Mar Nets Paco Lopez Jockey Of The Week Title – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

With more stakes wins than any other North American jockey last week, Paco Lopez was voted Jockeys’ Guild Foundation Detox Jockey of the Week for November 25 – December 1, 2019. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by FoundationDetox.com, America’s #1 Equine Toxin Remover.

The trip out west was a successful one: Paco Lopez landed a graded stakes triple at Del Mar on Saturday, far from his normal home base.

Lopez started with a win in the $100,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3) with Alms ($7.40), sitting just off the pace before winning by nearly three lengths.

Two races later, Lopez found his way to the winner’s circle again in the $100,000 Red Carpet Stakes (G3), this time aboard Zuzanna ($48.00), the longest shot in the field.

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Later on the card, Lopez and Om led for most of the $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) before hitting the rail and finishing sixth behind longshot winner Next Shares ($56.40). However, the feature race was still within reach, and Lopez guided post-time favorite Mo Forza ($7.60) to victory in the $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1), giving him his third stakes win of the day and his fourth of the week.

Lopez’ first stakes win was also his first start of the week on Tuesday at Ocala. Lopez and A Bit of Both cleared a full field by over three lengths in the $125,000 OBS Filly and Mare Sprint. He stopped at Churchill Downs to ride in the Clark (G1) and the Mrs. Revere (G2) on Friday before heading to Del Mar for the Saturday card.

Lopez won five of his 15 starts for the week and is now 261 for 956 in 2019, with 2,692 wins in 13,135 career starts. He has earned just under $10 million in 2019 and has career earnings of over $95 million.

Among North American jockeys last week, Lopez was third by stakes winnings with $376,973 and finished eight by total earnings of $410,595.

In addition to Lopez and strong performances by Joel Rosario, Tyler Gaffalione and Corey Lanerie, three jockeys made the ballot who each posted a five-win day. Emisael Jaramillo won five races, including three stakes, at Gulfstream on Saturday. Geraldo Corrales won five races on the Saturday card at Mahoning Valley, and Ramon Vazquez won five consecutive races at Remington on Tuesday.

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Alms Kicks Clear In Jimmy Durante Stakes – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Godolphin’s Alms, a solidly-backed second choice at 5-2, made it three-for-three in her brief career with a convincing triumph in the Grade III $100,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes for two-year-old fillies Saturday at Del Mar.

Alms, piloted by Paco Lopez, wore down the 24-1 pacesetting longshot Laura’s Light in the upper stretch and drew off to win by two and three-quarter lengths in 1:36.01 over a grass course labeled “good” after recent rains.

Laura’s Light, with Abel Cedillo in the saddle, held on gamely to be second, a half-length in front of Princesa Caroline, the 4-5 favorite in the field of 11 fillies. Croughavouke was fourth. Withdrawn from the line-up were Lookintogeteven, Awesome Ella and Almost a Factor.

Alms, a daughter of City Zip based on the East Coast with trainer Michael Stidham, was a debut winner at Belmont Park in September and then won the Grade III Matron in early October.

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Earning first money of $60,000 to increase her bankroll to $$183,750, Alms paid $7.40, $4.80 and $3. Runner-up Laura’s Light returned $21 and $8.20, while Princesa Caroline paid $2.20 to show.

PACO LOPEZ (Alms, winner) – “I had a perfect trip. Michael (Stidham, trainer) told me to get a spot behind the speed and it worked out. She came away from there well and we got a good spot. The course was good. I’d heard about all the rain here, but the course was very good. Not soft; just right. When I asked her she gave me a big kick.”

ABEL CEDILLO (Laura’s Light, second) – “She ran really well. She handled the surface well and did good. She ran a very good race.”

JAVIER CASTELLANO (Princessa Caroline, third) – “It all went great for us. We were in a good spot and she handled the course and everything else very well. She just didn’t bring her big punch with her today.”

JAMES BARDEAN, assistant to trainer Mike Stidham, (Alms, winner) – “She shipped in very well and seems to like it here. We had her sister and we’ve had high hopes for her all along.”

$8,000 Claim Zuzanna Springs The Upset In Red Carpet Handicap – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Claimed for $8,000 in September of 2018, Zuzanna, the longest shot in the field of older fillies and mares at 23-1, climaxed her rise to prominence with a surprise victory in the Grade III Red Carpet Handicap at the marathon distance of a mile and three-eighths on the grass Saturday at Del Mar.

Providing jockey Paco Lopez with his second stakes success of the afternoon, Zuzanna surged to the lead in the stretch and then held off the late challenge of 17-1 outsider Curlin’s Journey to win by a length and one-half in 2:16.29 over a “good” Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

Zuzanna, a daughter of Wilburn, was claimed by trainer Bob Hess at Los Alamitos on behalf of an ownership group including Brian Ferguson, Kurt Hoover and Jeffrey Lambert. Sidelined for several months while recovering from throat surgery, the five-year-old mare returned to action and now has won four of nine starts for her new owners. For her career, she has a record of nine victories in 32 outings and first prize of $60,000 Saturday increased her total earnings to $271,751.

Third was Vibrance, a head behind Curlin’s Journey and a nose in front of fourth-place Strike At Dawn in the field of seven distaff runners. Withdrawn from the race was morning line favorite Siberian Iris.

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In the mutuels, Zuzanna paid $48, $15.80 and $7. Curlin’s Journey returned $13.80 and $6.40, while Vibrance paid $5.40 to show.

Earlier on the program, Lopez won the Jimmy Durante Stakes astride Alms. Hess also won the third race with Riding With Dino.

PACO LOPEZ (Zuzanna, winner) – “Bob (Hess, trainer) told me I could put her anywhere I wanted to in the race. Front, back, inside, outside. He said this mare would run anywhere you wanted. So I rode her with a lot of confidence. I had a bit of trouble on the turn (for home). Horses inside and outside me. But I got clear and she was game.”

RUBEN FUENTES (Curlin’s Journey, second) – “If I didn’t have a little trouble in the stretch, I’m going to win it. She ran great.”

JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Vibrance, third) – “I got in tight at the quarter pole and I had to wait, wait, wait. Once I got clear, she came running.”

BOB HESS, JR. (Zuzanna, winner) – “I really wasn’t looking at this race. I had her (booked) on a plane next week to go to Florida for the claiming crown. But Kurt (part-owner Kurt Hoover) nudged me to go here. My reservation (about running) was that I’ve never trained an $8,000 claimer to win a Grade III. But on the other hand, we thought a mile and three eighths could work, she loves Del Mar and she really worked well over this turf course. To me, she’s an easy read; when she’s ready, she’s ready and she said, ‘Hey Bob, let’s run.’”

Mo Forza Proves Deserving Favorite In Hollywood Derby – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

OG Boss and Bardy Farm’s homebred Mo Forza continued to roll in Southern California, scoring his third consecutive victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. Under the guidance of jockey Paco Lopez, the Peter Miller-trained colt had to battle the length of the stretch with Neptune’s Storm but was able to prevail by three-quarters of a length. The 3-year-old son of Uncle Mo, sent off as the 5-2 favorite in the field of 12, ran nine furlongs over Del Mar’s “good” turf course in 1:48.57.

It was the third stakes win on the card for Paco Lopez, who also won the Red Carpet and the Jimmy Durante.

“You can look good when you’re riding the best horse in the race,” Lopez said. “You’ve just got to get lucky (and get on that horse). I was using my hands on him during the running. I took a bit of a hold on him. I think he liked my hands. When we made the lead (in the stretch), he was waiting (on other horses). But we got busy. Today was a special day for me. Here I am: Del Mar. Big horses. Good jockeys. And I get to win three stakes. You’ve got to be lucky. I was today.”

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The first to the lead was Neptune’s Storm, and with Uncle Bull prompting the pace from second he led through early fractions of :23.90 and :48.22. Mo Forza was content to sit back in third early on against the rail, biding his time down the backstretch.

Lopez guided Mo Forza to the outside to make his challenge in the far turn, and drew even with Neptune’s Storm at the top of the lane. Mo Forza grabbed a slight advantage but had to fight for every inch as Neptune’s Storm refused to quit; at the wire, Mo Forza was three-quarters of a length ahead of his rival. Standard Deviation came flying from the rear of the field to finish third, beaten a little over a length for everything, and his stablemate Digital Age checked in fourth.

Bred in Kentucky by co-owner Bardy Farm, Mo Forza is out of the Unusual Heat mare Inflamed. It took the colt six starts to break his maiden but he hasn’t lost since, adding wins in the G2 Twilight Derby and G1 Hollywood Derby to his resume. Overall, his record stands at 3-3-1 from seven starts with earnings of over $350,000.

“Really nice horse and a super ride,” said Miller of Mo Forza. “He got banged pretty good coming out of the gate but he came back strong. I think it’s just maturity (for improvement in last two starts). I’d like to say it was some genius trainer move, but I’d be lying. I’ve always been high on this horse. He’s always shown a lot of ability but it has taken time for him to put it all together, but we knew he had it in him.”

Mo Forza gives Paco Lopez a graded stakes triple by winning Hollywood Derby

DEL MAR, Calif. – The turf festival on Saturday at Del Mar turned into the Paco Lopez festival.

Lopez won three of the day’s four graded stakes, and capped off the day by winning the biggest of them all, the Grade 1, $302,457 Hollywood Derby with the ascendant Mo Forza.
Mo Forza ($7.60), the favorite, got a ground-saving trip under Lopez until the top of the lane, when they came around a stubborn Neptune’s Storm, who wouldn’t go down without a fight. Mo Forza won by three-quarters of a length, with Standard Deviation running on strongly for third, another half-length back.
Digital Age was fourth, then came, in order, Succeedandsurpass, Originaire, Proud Pedro, Henley’s Joy, Nolde, Mr Dumas, Moody Jim, and Uncle Bull. Kingly was scratched earlier in the day.

Mo Forza ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:48.57 while earning his third straight victory, with his most recent win in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
Lopez earlier in the day won both the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante for 2-year-old fillies with Alms and the Grade 3 Red Carpet for females with the longshot Zuzanna. His only stakes loss came in the Seabiscuit, in which he finished sixth on Om.

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Both Om and Mo Forza are trained by Peter Miller, with whom Lopez has had outsized success over the years, most notably winning the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint aboard Roy H.

“I’m very lucky with him,” Lopez said.
Mo Forza has come a long ways in a short amount of time. He only made his debut on June 2, but in less than six months has made eight starts and gone from an unstarted maiden to a Grade 1 winner.
“It’s just taken a little time for him to put it all together,” Miller said. “He had it in him. He’s a gorgeous horse – by Uncle Mo – sound, great mind. Just a matter of maturity.”

Mo Forza did not win for the first time until his sixth try, but he’s gone right up the ladder. He won the Twilight Derby at 18-1 in such a convincing fashion that he was favored this time.
Mo Forza was bred by the Bardy Farm of former trainer Barry Abrams and his wife, Dyan, and is owned by Bardy and the OG Boss stable of Onofrio Pecoreio.

Gulfstream Park West’s Fall Turf Festival Comes to End

The 2019 Fall Turf Festival at Gulfstream Park West came to an exciting close Nov. 24, when a mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool generated $3,615,196 in wagering on the popular multi-race bet by handicappers in search of a possible multi-million score.

However, the best bets at Gulfstream Park West throughout the 40-day meet have been horses trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. and/or ridden by Paco Lopez.

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Joseph claimed the training title in a runaway with 22 winners from 57 starters while achieving a 39-percent strike rate and amassing purses winnings of more than $450,000.

“It means a lot. We have a good team that works hard and good owners supporting us. We’re thankful that everything fell into place for this meet. The horses are in good form,” Joseph said. “I hope it carries over to the Championship Meet.”

Click here to read from Bloodhorse

Lopez was tops among the jockeys with 38 winners and more than $825,000 in purse earnings despite riding primarily at Monmouth Park for the first month of the Gulfstream Park West meeting. Emisael Jaramillo and apprentice Cristian Torres finished in a tie for second with 32 wins each.

“When I started riding at Gulfstream West, I didn’t think I’d get the title, riding half the meet,” said Lopez, who rode winners at a 28-percent rate. “I really thank the owners and trainers for the opportunities. They helped me win a lot of races.”

Joseph has enjoyed career-high success during the 2019 campaign, during which he saddled Math Wizard for a victory in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx and promising 2-year-old prospect Chance It for a triumph in the $400,000 In Reality, the final of the Florida Sire Stakes series.

“It’s been a great year. We’re blessed,” said Joseph, who plans to give Math Wizard a prep at Gulfstream Park prior to a planned start in the $20 million Saudi Cup in Riyadh Feb. 29. Plans are somewhat up in the air for Chance It, who is scheduled to breeze at Gulfstream Park Tuesday.

Frank Calabrese was the leading owner in wins with 8 victories, while Arindel was atop the money-won standings with more than $245,000.

Paco Lopez Has A Solid Lead In Gulfstream West’s Race For Riding Title – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

ockey Paco Lopez entered the final weekend of the Fall Turf Festival with a five-win lead in the race for the riding title at Gulfstream Park West.

Heading into Saturday’s nine-race card, Lopez was ahead of apprentice Cristian Torres, 35-32, with Emisael Jaramillo sitting third at 29. Torres needed stitches in his lower lip following a spill out of the gate in Friday’s opener, replaced on his mounts the rest of the day and Saturday.

Torres, the country’s second-leading apprentice by wins who rides with a five-pound weight allowance, ranks first among all jockeys with $793,797 in purses earned. Lopez is second at $766,402 with Edgard Zayas third at $759,679.

Zayas had 28 wins, good for fourth in the standings, before being injured in a spill out of the gate in Wednesday’s third race. The defending Fall Turf Festival champion who won both the spring and summer meet titles at Gulfstream Park, Zayas is expected to miss four weeks with a broken left index finger.

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Lopez finished as the leading rider at the Monmouth Park meet which ended Oct. 27, 109-107, over Nik Juarez. On Nov. 9, Lopez won four races, three of them stakes, on the Millions Preview Day card at Gulfstream West – the Turf on Galleon Mast, the Sprint on Travy Boy, and Juvenile Sprint on As Seen On Tv.

Defending champion Saffie Joseph Jr. has wrapped up his second straight Fall Turf Festival trainer’s title with 21 wins entering Saturday’s card, 13 more than runners-up Victor Barboza Jr. and Jorge Navarro. David Fawkes, Rohan Crichton and Eddie Plesa Jr. were all tied at seven wins.

Joseph also ranked first with $415,489 in purses won, leading Fawkes ($201,003). In 2018, Joseph edged Barboza, 15-13, for the Gulfstream West title.

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