DEL MAR, Calif.— You never want to tell any jockey he’s running for second place. The competitive nature of the riders will not allow them to accept such an assertion. But in the case of most jockeys at Del Mar this summer, they may all be playing for second place in the jockey standings.
For instance, Joe Bravo is having a very good meet. He’s won 14 races and has compiled $965,576 in earnings. And yet, he trails leading rider, Juan Hernandez, by 21 wins.
Hernandez is having a remarkable meet with 35 victories and over $2.2 million in earnings so far. His numbers appear to be out of reach with three weeks left of racing. However, Bravo is just five victories out of second place in the rider standings, currently held by Umberto Rispoli and one behind Ramon Vazquez in third.
So it comes as no surprise Bravo is enthusiastic for the remainder of the meet.
“Anytime you walk around a corner you can see a Grade 1 caliber stakes horse sitting in the barn,” Bravo says, “and that’s what we’re all chasing.”
He got one for this weekend. Bravo will ride American Theorem, winner of the G1 Bing Crosby, in the G2 Pat O’Brien Saturday.
“I’ve been in the game one or two days (he first rode in 1988) and you kind of look for the big races and we have a lot of them here in California,” he says.
The trainer standings continue to be a logjam at the top. Phil D’Amato leads with 13 wins out of 85 starts, three of them stakes victories. He’s compiled earnings of $1,517,790. Bob Baffert is next with 12 wins followed by Peter Miller, Doug O’Neill and George Papaprodromou with 10 each, all within reach of the frontrunner.
The partnership of Pegram, Watson and Weitman continues to lead among the owners with six victories. Hronis Racing is next with five.
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Joe Bravo (Eric Kalet)