Umberto Rispoli has hired Matt Nakatani as his agent, effective March 9.
Umberto began riding in his home country of Italy. He won his first race ever in February of 2005 aboard Pace Maker. Before leaving Italy he was the Champion Italian Jockey in 2009 and 2010. He also broke Gianfranco Dettori’s (Frankie Dettori’s father) record of 229 wins. That record had stood for 20 years.
Rispoli has enjoyed success since moving his tack to the United States but recently his business slowed in part due to additions to the Southern California riding colony. Short fields and additional riders make live mounts all that much more difficult to obtain. Rispoli and Nakatani both hope to get back to competing for leading rider honors at the Santa Anita and Del Mar meets throughout the year.
Interestingly, Rispoli has a similar style and attitude as Matt Nakatani’s father, Corey Nakatani, himself a world class top rider like Umberto. Both are aggressive riders who seem to excel on turf but ride the main track equally as well. Rispoli has won Grade 1’s in the states aboard Rock Your World, Smooth Like Strait, and Going to Vegas since coming to ride in California. He was also second aboard Smooth Like Strait in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
In France at Longchamp he won the Group 1 Prix du Cadren aboard Molly Malone and the Group 1 Criterium International on Vert de Grece.
In Japan he won the Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen on Kinshasa no Kiseki.
One of Rispoli’s biggest wins to date was in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II at Sha Tin in Hong Kong aboard Rulership.
Photo: Benoit Photography