ARCADIA, Calif. –With six wins to his credit through nine races, including a victory aboard Bellafina in the Grade III, $100,000 Desert Stormer Stakes, French-born jockey Flavien Prat was poised to join the legendary Laffit Pincay, Jr. on Sunday as the only other jockey to ever record seven wins in a single day at The Great Race Place as one dance remained on the 10-race card.
Alas, it wasn’t to be, as Prat ended up a non-threatening sixth aboard 9-5 favorite Winning Element in the 10th, a one mile allowance for 3-year-olds and up.
In notching six wins, Prat nonetheless joined some very select company, as the feat had only been accomplished 12 times dating back to Dec. 25, 1934. The first jockey to ever win six in a day at Santa Anita was the immortal Bill Shoemaker, a 17-time leading rider here who won six races on Feb. 23, 1962. (Pincay’s seven-win day came on March 14, 1987).
With three jockeys turning the six-win trick twice each, Pincay (Oct. 23, 1973 & March 4, 1981), Sandy Hawley (Feb. 20, 1976 & March 26, 1976) and Darrell McHargue (March 5, 1978 & Oct. 25, 1979), five riders each did it once each: Steve Valdez (Oct. 15, 1973), Patrick Valenzuela (Oct. 21, 1978), Martin Pedroza (Oct. 31, 1992), Corey Nakatani (April 23, 2000) and Rafael Bejarano (April 8, 2006).
“That’s quite an amazing group of riders,” said Prat, 27, when apprised of those who had preceded him in winning six in a day. “It was one of those days when everything you do is right. It’s so good to be back racing here and I rode good horses all weekend.
“Even though we had the break (with no racing until this past Friday, dating back to March 27), I thought I was fit and ready to come back. I’ve never worked out so hard at home. I’ve got a stationary bike and I lifted weights, not heavy, but enough to maintain flexibility.”
With 55 wins through 44 racing days, Prat is 13 winners in front of Abel Cedillo in the current jockey standings and he’s looking forward to continued success this coming Memorial Day Weekend.
“I’m really excited to ride War of Will for Mark Casse in the Shoemaker Mile (Grade I, $300,000 on May 25). He was one of the best 3-year-olds in America last year and he’s proven he likes the grass. I think the distance is going to be very good for him.
“We’ve got good business all weekend and I know United is doing very well for Richard Mandella. He was training great for Dubai, but we weren’t able to run and I think he’s sitting on a big race here in the (Charles) Whittingham (Grade II, $200,000 at 1 ¼ miles on turf) on Saturday.”
Prat’s six-win hit parade began in Sunday’s first race aboard the Peter Miller-trained Querelle ($10.00). His next win came in the fourth, aboard Phil D’Amato’s Noor Khan ($7.60), the fifth aboard Leonard Powell’s Bud Knight ($4.80), the sixth aboard Collusion Illusion ($7.40), the eighth aboard Simon Callaghan’s Bellafina ($3.60) and the ninth with Carava’s Harper’s Gallop ($8.00).
With six wins from his nine mounts, Prat’s win percentage for the day totals 66 percent.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita with a four-day week on Friday. First post time for a nine-race card is at 12:30 p.m.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Flavien Prat. Credit: Benoit Photos