When super-agent Ron Anderson brought Hall of Fame jockey-in-waiting Joel Rosario to Santa Anita to ride on an everyday basis at the Winter Meet, potentially it changed the dynamics of the jockeys’ race.
Through 37 racing days, that potential has been realized, as Rosario and his primary adversary, Flavien Prat, have outdistanced the field in the battle for the riding title, to date winning 44 and 41 races, respectively. Heriberto Figueroa is a distant third with 22 victories.
The top two also are more than a million dollars ahead of their nearest rivals in money won this meet, Prat in front of Rosario, $2,568,554 to $2,270,864.
Rosario, the regular rider of undefeated Eclipse Award champion as outstanding two-year-old male of 2018 Game Winner, and Prat, also are among the national leaders in wins and purse earnings.
“We’ve been well-received and we’ve done well,” Anderson said. “Joel is a really great rider and a really good kid at the end of the day, which everybody recognizes. He’s an exceptional rider and very likable.”
Underplaying his own contribution to the team’s success, Anderson said, “The good ones make things easy.”
Prat’s agent, Derek Lawson, is enjoying the ride and the competition.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “The fact that we’re challenging Joel and Ron is exactly the way we thought it would be when he came out here, back and forth, back and forth between the two.
“And you know what? It looks like all the riders here are having a good season, although we’ve separated ourselves from the rest of the group. Saturday Rosario goes out of town but we’ve been out of town, too, so we’ve both missed time here.
“But it’s been exciting and we’re working hard. Flavien is riding extremely well and I’m actually picking some good horses for him to ride, so it’s all been a plus.”