Paco Lopez was the star of Claiming Crown Day, winning three of the nine stakes in the annual event to earn Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week honors for the week ending December 3, 2017. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by Animal Element’s Foundation Detox and Product X Performance Enhancer.
The only jockey to win multiple stakes last week, Paco Lopez earned the majority of votes from the panel for his performance on Claiming Crown Day at Gulfstream Park. Lopez had a mount in each of the nine Claiming Crown races on Saturday. Of the nine, he won three: the $110,000 Distaff Dash Stakes with Blue Bahia ($5.20) for trainer Jason Servis, the $125,000 Tiara Stakes with Martini Glass ($6.00) for trainer Keith Nations, and the feature race, the $200,000 Jewel Stakes with longshot Flowers for Lisa ($35.80) for trainer Jorge Navarro.
He also finished second in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury Stakes with Oak Bluffs and was third in the $110,000 Iron Horse Stakes with Solve.
With his three stakes wins, Lopez was the second leading rider by stakes earnings for the week, with $291,000 earned during his Claiming Crown appearances. He earned $331,793 for the week as the fifth leading rider by total earnings, including his race days at Aqueduct and Parx. In 2017, he has earned over $8.9 million and is ranked 14th by earnings among all North American jockeys this year.
Lopez’ three Claiming Crown victories were the only wins of his 26 mounts, but he also had four second-place finishes and four third-place finishes, giving him a win rate of 12% but an in-the-money rate of 42%. He has won 171 of his 975 starts this year and has won 2,191 races lifetime. The winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in 2008, Lopez has career earnings in excess of $75 million in over 11,000 starts.