Ryan Curatolo Makes Himself at Home at Del Mar

August 20, 2022

DEL MAR, Calif.— Another new addition to the Del Mar jockey colony is making an impact this summer. Ryan Curatolo has won seven races with his first 57 mounts, placing him in a tie for seventh in the jockey standings.

But don’t be mistaken, Ryan is no newcomer to the game. He’s had plenty of experience, it’s just been outside of the country. In fact, the past few years have taken him to some of the hottest racing districts in the world, both literally and figuratively.

After riding in the States for a couple of years, Curatolo ventured overseas and rode in Macao, Singapore, and Japan.

“I was only in Japan for a few months,” Curatolo said, “because if you want to ride longer you have to speak Japanese and pass tests and everything. So I only rode there for three months but it was great because I won 29 races.”

From there Curatolo went to Qatar and Dubai, but even while enjoying success in the Middle East, he had dreams of one day riding at Del Mar.

“The racing there is only seasonal,” Curatolo said. “I could only ride in the winter because the summer’s too hot. So I was always thinking in my head, maybe in the summer I should go to Del Mar.”

Timing is everything and Curatolo could not have picked a worse time to apply for a visa to come to the U.S.

“Because of COVID it took two years to get my visa,” Curatolo said. “The offices were closed so I couldn’t get an appointment.”

He finally got the paperwork he needed and landed just in time for U.S. racing’s biggest day.

“Last year, when I got here, it was Breeders’ Cup week,” Curatolo said, “and it was a great atmosphere. People were really excited. I really enjoy it. Del Mar was exactly what I expected.“

So how does a kid, who grew up in the south of France, end up riding at some of the most exotic racetracks in the world? He credits his father.

“My father always watched racing on TV,” Curatolo says. “When I got home from school the TV was always on the races. Or my father would take me to the races. In the summer, we would go to Miami and my father would take me to Calder racetrack. So I was watching the races all my life.”

When he turned 14, Curatolo enrolled in a jockey school in France, and spent four years learning the ropes. When he graduated he began riding in France, but in 2010 he returned to the States, to the place he had visited as a kid.

“I was riding in Florida for trainer Patrick Biancone,” Curatolo says. “He told me I should go to New York and he connected me with some of his owners there.”

That led to rides on such notable horses as Agave Kiss, Ever Smart and Pure Gossip who, as a 2-year-old, won the G3 Miss Grillo at Belmont Park and gave Ryan his first Breeders’ Cup mount. In 2011, Curatolo was runner-up to Kyle Frey in the Eclipse Award voting for top apprentice. He compiled over $4 million in earnings that year.

Now he’s setting his sights on conquering California.

“For the moment I think we’re going to stay in the states,” Curatolo says, “even though they’ve asked me to go back there (to the Middle East). I think we’re doing real well right now and we want to break in some more barns and ride for some more trainers because I feel if they give me the opportunity, I can get the job done.”


Notes: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners Sister Otoole came out of her win in Friday’s $100,000 CTT & TOC Stakes in good order according to assistant trainer Alice Clapham. Sister Otoole was one of two horses trainer H. Graham Motion sent out from his east coast base for the stakes races at Del Mar this weekend. The other is Spendarella, favorite in the G1 Del Mar Oaks today…Jockey Edwin Maldonado is quietly having a nice meet. He notched his ninth win of the summer aboard longshot R Doc in the fourth race Friday. That moves him into fifth place in the jockey standings. R Doc ended up paying $76.60…Notable workouts for Saturday: Dirt – Desert Dawn (4f, :50.40); Master Piece (4f, :49.00); Slow Down Andy (4f, :49.00); Ce Ce (5f,:59.40), and Taiba (6f 1:10.80). A total of 196 horses put in official works on Saturday.

DMTC Press Release

Photo: Ryan Curatolo aboard City Rage after a victory at Del Mar August 13th (Benoit Photo)

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