Flavien Prat won his first Gr. I Preakness Stakes with a powerful stretch run earning Jockey of the Week honors for May 10 through May 16. 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.
Saddling his first runner in a Triple Crown race, trainer Mike McCarthy gave a leg up to Flavien Prat on Rombauer in the Grade I Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Riding the three-year-old for the first time, Prat raced between horses in sixth place in the 10-horse field. Prat and Rombauer launched their bid from the outside on the final turn passing the pacesetters Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon in the stretch for the decisive 3-1/2 lengths victory. “I was pretty confident going to the three-eighths pole,” Prat said. “I was behind the two favorites and I was travelling well. I thought if he switched leads and give me a good kick, I might be able to run them down.” Rombauer covered the 1-3/16th miles in 1:53.62 returning $25.60 for the win.
Speaking to NBC after the race, Prat said “It does feel different. Oh, what a feeling. I’m so thankful to [trainer] Michael [McCarthy] and all his team. I want to thank the groom and the pony girl, because he was quite on his toes before the race and I thought they did a great job.”
Prat continued, clearly humbled by the win, “To be honest, when I left France it was to do better than what I was doing in France. I didn’t know the magnitude of these races. I knew a lot about the Breeders’ Cup but the Triple Crown I didn’t know much about it. I realize how important it is. There’s so much history behind these races. To win one is amazing. To win the Preakness, it’s even better.”
Prat’s weekly statistics were 9-1-1-2 for an in-the-money percentage of 44.4% and total purse earnings of $669,040. He sits comfortably atop the jockey standings at Santa Anita with 102 wins through May 16. He registered his 1,000th North American victory on February 19, 2021 and has amassed 11 Southern California riding titles.
For Jockey of the Week, Prat out-polled Edwin Gonzalez who tied for number of wins with nine, Joel Rosario with two stakes wins including the Grade II Black-Eyed Susan, Diego Saenz with eight wins, and John Velazquez who won two graded stakes.