The 2019 Fall Turf Festival at Gulfstream Park West came to an exciting close Sunday, 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.
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.”
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.
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