Capping a remarkable week in the 24-year-old’s riding career, Eric Cancel was voted Jockey of the Week for March 22 through March 28. The award, which is voted on by a panel of racing experts, is for jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 active riders in the United States as well as retired and permanently disabled jockeys.
Cancel entered the 8-race card on Sunday in second place in the jockey standings four victories behind Kendrick Carmouche. In dramatic fashion through rainy and foggy conditions, Cancel won the opener on Sono Grato for trainer Cleveland Johnson. Starting in race three, he reeled off five winners in a row, riding Lobsta for Gary Sciacca, Kith for Robert Ribaudo, City Temper for Jorge Abreu, Make Mischief for Chris Englehart and My Boy Tate for Michelle Nevin in the Haynesfield Stakes. He finished in-the-money in all eight races. Six wins for six different trainers catapulted Cancel to the top of the standings at Aqueduct’s winter meet and his first leading jockey title at a NYRA track.
“I’m filled with emotions. I worked very hard for this and being able to compete with a guy like Kendrick, who is a very hard-riding guy, it feels wonderful,” said Cancel. “Yesterday (Saturday) I didn’t think I was going to get it. But today (Sunday) I just woke up and said to keep on swinging and go for it. I want to thank my agent and all the owners and trainers who gave me the opportunity to be here and win this meet.” Cancel continued, “I was just trying to win as much as I can and go home happy.”
Cancel had two stakes wins on Saturday during New York Claiming Championship Day with Air Attack for John Toscano, Jr. in the Stud Muffin and Fox Red for Linda Rice in the Dads Cap.
Weekly stats for Cancel were 28-13-4-3 for a 46.4% win percentage, an impressive 71.4% in-the-money percentage and total purses of $509,975.
Cancel out-polled jockeys Adam Beschizza who tied for second in wins with 10, Julien Leparoux who won two graded stakes races, Irad Ortiz, Jr. with two stakes wins including the Grade I Florida Derby and set a single season win record at Gulfstream Park and Jose Ortiz who won three stakes including the Gr. II Gulfstream Park Oaks.