One of the new editions to the Churchill Downs jockey colony for the Fall Meet is Florida-native Tyler Gaffalione. Through the first seven days of the 21-day meet, the 24-year-old rider has already made headway in the highly-competitive roster of journeyman riders at Churchill Downs with five wins through 32 starts.
“So far I like it a lot here in Kentucky,” Gaffalione said. “I’m hoping to ride here fulltime. It’s been a goal of mine to ride in Kentucky and I think now is the time.”
Gaffalione grew up in South Florida and is a third-generation jockey. His grandfather, Bobby, and father, Steve, were both jockeys and combined to win more than 4,000 races. Gaffalione won the Eclipse Award for Champion Apprentice Jockey in 2015, has won 16 graded stakes races and was the leading rider at the recently-concluded Keeneland Fall Meet.
“This kid is going to be the real deal,” said trainer Chad Summers, who gave a leg up Gaffalione on Mind Your Biscuits in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. “I know Pat Day is synonymous around this part of the country with his success at Churchill Downs but I think this kid has a future that can make him the next superstar in Kentucky.”
Gaffalione plans to finish the Fall Meet at Churchill Downs before moving his tack back to South Florida’s Gulfstream Park for the winter.