Through the first nine days of the 2019 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs, jockey Gabriel Saez is proving “grit and determination” can lead to success after scoring nine victories, including a three-bagger on Saturday's 11-race card, to vault him into a tie atop the rider standings.
“We had a good winter down at Fair Grounds and we just need to keep riding the momentum into meet here at Churchill,” Saez, 31, said. “If I keep showing the same grit and determination each race, we can prove successful at any level.”
Saez's three-win Saturday came after a successful Derby Week with a victory aboard Mr. Money in the $400,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (Grade III).
“It's always enjoyable to ride at the highest level in this game and that's what you see Derby Week,” Saez said. “I've been lucky to be put on some very live horses that made my job much easier.”
Saez began his flurry of victories Saturday in Race 7 aboard Brilliant Racing's Eskenforit. The Panama-native returned to the winner's circle in Race 8 aboard Frazza Cassimeris Racing's Cause I'm Edgy and completed his trifecta in Race 10 aboard 35-1 longshot Change of Control in the first running of the $100,000 Mamzelle Overnight Stakes.
“Gabe just gave a perfect ride on (Change of Control),” trainer Michelle Lovell said. “He was so patient and waited for exactly the right moment to ask her to run. He's been riding great lately.”
Saez, who is represented by veteran agent Derek Ducoing, began Sunday's 10-race card tied with James Graham and Ricardo Santana Jr. in the jockey standings.
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