Ricardo Santana Jr. rode four winners Sunday at Oaklawn, including the 500th in his career for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, to regain the lead in the jockey standings.
Santana, Oaklawn's leading rider the last six years, reached the milestone with Asmussen when favored Bayerd ($5.60) captured the ninth race, a starter-allowance sprint for older horses, by a head. Santana also won two other races on the card for Asmussen – the second race with favored Street Trust ($4.80) and fourth race with favored One Man Party ($4.80). Santana won the sixth race with favored Mylady Curlin ($4.60) for trainer Brad Cox.
Bayerd represented Santana's 449th career Oaklawn victory. He has ridden 192 winners for Asmussen in Hot Springs. Santana rode his first horse for Asmussen in 2012 and his first winner for the trainer Feb. 3, 2013, at Oaklawn (Five Star David).
“All I can tell you is we take it a day at a time,” Santana's agent, Ruben Munoz, said. “We try hard. We're very grateful for the opportunities and try to take advantage of those opportunities because you don't get many of them and all of them are important.”
Bayerd was making his first start for Asmussen since he claimed the horse, on behalf of owner Clark Brewster, for $8,000 out of a runner-up finish Feb. 9. Bayerd has spent most of his 36-race career with Brewster and Asmussen, recording his biggest career victory in the $250,000 Springboard Mile for 2-year-olds in 2014 at Remington Park. They lost Bayerd through a $25,000 claim last March at Oaklawn.
Sunday's victory, Bayerd's seventh in 36 lifetime starts, bumped his career earnings to $663,836. He is a three-time stakes winner. Street Trust is also owned by Brewster, a Tulsa attorney.
Through Sunday, Santana had ridden 500 winners from 2,397 mounts for Asmussen, with purse earnings of $29,047,395, according to Equibase, racing's official data gathering organization. They had teamed for 73 stakes victories.
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