LOUISVILLE, Ky. – At the start of racing on Sunday at Churchill Downs, jockey Tyler Gaffalione mathematically clinched his fourth leading jockey title beneath the Twin Spires.
Gaffalione had a 10-win advantage over Ricardo Santana Jr., 37-to-27. With his Fall Meet title, Gaffalione swept the jockey standings for all three meets in 2020 at Churchill Downs and collected his fourth local crown overall.
“Everything just seemed to be clicking,” Gaffalione said. “My agent (Matt Muzikar) does an incredible job. He’s a true professional and I’m lucky to be able to work with him. We’ve ridden a lot of really nice horses and can’t thank the owners and trainers enough for giving us the opportunity to ride.”
Gaffalione, a 26-year-old native of Davie, Fla., will return home to ride at Gulfstream Park for the next four months. Among his memorable moments at the meet were back-to-back four-win days on Nov. 20-21. During that week of racing at Churchill Downs (Nov. 18-22), Gaffalione won an astounding 15 races from 30 mounts with six seconds and two thirds.
In the Fall Meet trainer standings, Mike Maker had a four-win advantage over Steve Asmussen 20-to-16. Maker had three entries on Sunday’s card while Asmussen had five.
“With a guy like Steve, you can’t really let your guard down,” Maker said. “We’ve had a great meet and a great year. I’ve been in this spot before ahead of Steve in the standings and he finished with a flurry.”
If Maker held on to the lead, it would be his seventh title at Churchill Downs and first since the 2016 Fall Meet. Should Asmussen catch Maker, it would be his record-extending 25th championship.
In the owner standings, Three Diamonds Farm (Kirk Wycoff), one of Maker’s top clients, held a 5-4 win advantage over Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley), Ken and Sarah Ramsey and Paradise Farms Corp. (Peter Proscia) and David Staudacher. Calumet had three entries in two races on Sunday while Ramsey had one. Paradise Farms and Staudacher had no entries.
Following Sunday’s 11-race card at Churchill Downs, racing will shift to Turfway Park for their Holiday Meet, which spans Dec. 2-31. Turfway will continue racing after the New Year until Keeneland resumes in early April.
DOWN THE STRETCH – There was a mandatory payout of $52,666 in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot on Sunday’s Closing Day card. First post was 1 p.m. and the sequence spanned Races 6-11. … Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager will close on Sunday at 6 p.m. Through three days of wagering, “All Other 3-Year-Old Colts and Geldings” remained the heavy 3-2 favorite while offspring sired by Into Mischief held 5-1 favoritism in the Sire Future Wager. For more information and updated odds, visit www.kentuckyderby.com/futurewager.
Photo: Tyler Gafflione (Coady)