Ricardo Santana, Jr. won the 2018 meet riding title at Oaklawn and notched a career milestone as the unanimous choice for the Jockeys' Guild Jockey of the Week for April 9-15, 2018. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys' Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by Animal Element's Foundation Detox and Product X Performance Enhancer.
By any measure, Ricardo Santana, Jr. had an exceptional week among North American jockeys. He won three stakes races, led weekly standings by total and stakes earnings, won the 2018 meet riding title at Oaklawn, and hit a personal career milestone of 1,000 victories.
The only jockey last week to win multiple stakes, Santana, Jr. won one a day for three days straight. On Thursday, he won the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes with Mitole ($2.80), besting a field of 3-year-old sprinters by nine lengths.
On Friday, he was aboard the upset winner of the $700,000 Apple Blossom (G1), Unbridled Mo ($11.60). Santana and Unbridled Mo made a well-timed run at Unique Bella, who missed the break but still gained the lead early in the race. The winning duo won by over two lengths in the feature race on the card.
Santana, Jr. returned on Saturday for yet another stakes victory, this time in the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3). Santana and Whitmore ($3.60) were the defending champions of the Count Fleet from 2017, and returned to win for a second consecutive year.
With multiple Oaklawn riding titles to his name, Santana Jr. added another as the meet ended on Saturday evening with 69 wins in 307 starts, 26 more than David Cabrera in second place. Santana Jr. also led by earnings, with $4.2 million over the meet.
As if that was not enough, the Panama native celebrated his career 1,000th victory on Thursday, shortly before his win in the Bachelor. He was also the second leading rider by number of wins last week, with 10 wins in 36 starts, for a win rate of 58%. He now has 1,007 wins in 6,294.
Aided by his number of wins and stakes victories, Santana, Jr. led all North American jockeys by earnings last week. He earned over $1,269,913 in total, with $885,167 earned in stakes races. With $4.270,307 in earnings this year, he is currently ranked seventh among all North American jockeys by earnings in 2018. He has career earnings of over $43 million.
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