Congratulations are in order for Doug O'Neill and Flavien Prat, as both have clinched titles in their respective categories.
O'Neill, who coming into today had saddled by far the most horses of any trainer, 136, through 40 racing days, enjoyed a five-length advantage over both Phil D'Amato and Peter Miller with 31 wins. O'Neill thus celebrates his seventh overall meet title at Santa Anita dating back to the 2004-05 Winter Meet. In the stakes-won category, O'Neill bagged a pair, two behind Bob Baffert's leading total of four coming into closing day.
A 50-year-old native of Dearborn, Michigan, O'Neill relocated to Southern California with his family at age 10 and quickly developed a love for racing as a result of frequent pilgrimages to Santa Anita, HollywoodPark and Del Mar with his late father and brothers.
Known for his unflagging optimism and approachable method of operation, O'Neill is always quick to defer credit to his owners and “Team O'Neill” members that include his brother Dennis and assistants Leandro Mora and Steve Rothblum.
As for Prat, a 25-year-old native of Melon, France, he continues to ascend the ranks of America's top riders as he's clinched his third Santa Anita riding title with 37 wins coming into today from 140 mounts—good for a lofty 26 percent win quotient and nine clear of Geovanni Franco's 28 victories.
In the all-important stakes-won category, Prat also ranked first, with five added money wins, two clear of Victor Espinoza, Mike Smith, Joe Talamo, Franco and Gary Stevens.
Fluent in both French and English, Prat's business is on the rise not just here in Southern California, but nationally as well, evidenced by the fact he and his agent, Derek Lawson, will be traveling to ride in New York full-time prior to the Del Mar opener on July 18.
Readily accessible, fiercely competitive, a great judge of pace and naturally light, Prat appears to have a limitless future.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.