California-based jockey Joel Rosario is sneaking up the list of leading jockeys of American Graded Stakes winners, and unlike some of the others in the top five he is doing so without being hitched to one powerful stable.
Last week, Rosario won three AGS races in California for three different trainers: the Grade 1 Pat O'Brien aboard El Brujo for Bob Baffert, whose new “boy wonder,” Martin Garcia, was away at Saratoga winning a Grade 3 race for Baffert; the G2 Del Mar Handicap aboard Champ Pegasus for Richard Mandella; and the G2 Del Mar Mile aboard Enriched for Doug O'Neill.
He's now won 18 American Graded Stakes with 15 different horses for nine different trainers. Credit has to be shared by two different agents, in this case: Vic Stauffer, who handled Rosario's book, first in Northern California, and then again after the 25-year-old Dominican Republic native moved to Southern California. Earlier this year, Rosario replaced Stauffer with the flamboyant Ron “Love Man” Ebanks, a veteran agent who has handled numerous top riders over the years.
Unlike Rosario, John Velazquez, the leader by AGS winners, has the benefit of riding first call for the powerful stable of trainer Todd Pletcher. Velazquez has ridden 16 of his 22 AGS winners for Pletcher (the runaway leader among trainers). By contrast, Rosario has ridden five each for trainers Jerry Hollendorfer and John Sadler. Rosario doesn't get all the choice mounts from Hollendorfer, either, whose stable is enjoying a career year. Rafael Bejarano, with 16 AGS winners this year, has ridden eight for Hollendorfer.
Another jockey whose agent, Ron Anderson, has tentacles into many of the leading barns across the American racing landscape is Garrett Gomez. He is second behind Velazquez with 20 AGS winners. He's won those races for 11 different trainers, the most coming from Baffert, who's saddled four of them, though none since the Santa Anita winter meeting, which ended just before Gomez was replaced aboard Baffert-trained 2-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky by Garcia following the Kentucky Derby. Garcia, thanks largely to the 10 AGS winners Baffert has put him on, has 15 AGS winners overall.
Julien Leparoux is also in demand from a number of trainers. The young Frenchman has ridden 15 AGS winners this year for 10 different trainers, with Eddie Kenneally supplying the most, three.
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