Indiana's all-time leading jockey, Rodney Prescott, earned his third leading jockey title at Indiana Grand Wednesday, Nov. 7. The Portland, Ind. native was awarded the title after winning his 114th race of the meet in the first race aboard the Kim Hammond-trained Desert Thief.
Prescott now has 947 career wins over both the dirt and turf courses at Indiana Grand, 60 more than Fernando De La Cruz who is listed second on the list of all-time leading riders. Prescott has competed in all 23 seasons of pari-mutuel Thoroughbred racing in Indiana, starting his career in 1995 during the inaugural season at Hoosier Park. Since the inaugural season at Indiana Grand in 2003, Prescott has maintained a position among the top 10 jockeys each year, scoring the titles during the 2004 and 2005 racing seasons. He has also won 23 stakes races and set numerous track records.
“Things just fell together this year,” said Prescott. “And Shannon (McGovern), my agent did a lot of work. She really hustled this year.”
McGovern picked up Prescott's book for the first time in Indiana this season. The title with Prescott is her first as an agent. It also marks a first for a female jock's agent to win a title in the 23-year history of racing in the state of Indiana.
“I've had a good year and I want to thank everybody that rode me and also thank their help,” said Prescott. “It takes more than just a jockey to win races. In fact, Ellie that grooms for Kim Hammond had that winner in the first race today. She takes care of seven or eight horses and that was either her 16th or 17th straight win.”
Prescott wasn't sure how many of those particular horses he was on for the win, but noted that he's been on several of them. He noted it's people like Ellie that work behind the scenes that makes it possible for jockeys to win races, and he expressed his gratitude toward her and other caretakers at Indiana Grand.
Prescott was presented with a trophy for his leading jockey title at Indiana Grand by Kevin Greely, director of racing, and Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing. Prescott was also joined by McGovern as well as Steve Cahill, clerk of scales. Prescott adds this title to his already impressive list of accomplishments. He has also earned leading jockey titles at River Downs and Turfway Park in addition to Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand. He celebrated his 3,500th career win at Indiana Grand last summer and now has 3,698 career wins and more than $50 million in purse earnings through the end of the meet at Indiana Grand.
Juan Saez Award to Edgar Morales
Although he had limited starts at Indiana Grand this season, Edgar Morales accumulated enough wins to be named the Juan Saez Leading Apprentice Rider for 2018. Morales, a native of Puerto Rico, adds the honor to an already impressive resume, also earning leading apprentice rider titles at Oaklawn Park and Ellis Park earlier this year.
Morales completed the meet with 10 wins in 76 starts and more than $380,000 in purses. He spent most of his time on the Kentucky circuit throughout the season, but would make frequent trips to Indiana to ride, piecing together an impressive season for the award.
“I'd like to thank my agent and all the trainers and owners for helping me this year,” said the soft-spoken Morales. “I will lose my bug later this month. I plan to go to Fair Grounds for the winter.”
Morales earned his first win last fall at Keeneland. He now has 89 career wins in 915 starts with over $3 million in career earnings.
Rachel McLaughlin, on-air racing analyst, and Steve Cahill, clerk of scales, made the presentation to Morales. The award is named after Juan Saez who perished in a racing incident at Indiana Grand in 2014. Saez was honored posthumously with the leading apprentice award that season and subsequently, the award now carries his name. Morales joins jockeys Cheyanna Patrick (2015), Eduardo Gallardo (2016) and Katie Clawson (2017) as recipients of the Juan Saez Leading Apprentice Jockey award.
“Edgar (Morales) is a true professional,” said Steve Cahill, clerk of scales. “He is a pleasure to have in the room and he has a bright future ahead of him.”
The 16th season of Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horse racing concluded Wednesday, Nov. 7. Racing will resume in April 2019 with dates expected to be released by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission in December 2018.
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