Joel Rosario posted three stakes wins including the Grade I Pegasus World Cup to be named Jockey of the Week for January 18 through January 24. 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.
Rosario began the week at Santa Anita on Monday in the Grade III Megahertz Stakes aboard Mucho Unusual for trainer Tim Yakteen. Breaking alertly in the scratched-down field of four, Mucho Unusual ran in second just behind the leader. A three horse battle developed in the final furlong with Mucho Unusual prevailing by three-quarters of a length.
On Saturday, Rosario travelled to south Florida from his southern California base with mounts in four stakes races on Pegasus World Cup Day at Gulfstream Park. Shug McGaughey gave Rosario a leg up on Performer in the Grade III Fred W. Hooper who went to the post as the 4-5 favorite in a field of eight. Breaking from the rail, Rosario eased him off the rail while chasing the leaders. He advanced on the tiring pacesetters on the turn and took a narrow lead into the stretch to win by a neck. “I didn’t want to fall too far back but be there in the race…he broke good and got the job done. He’s a nice horse,” said Rosario. “It feels good to be back (at Gulfstream) even for a day. I’m glad to be here.”
Trainer Brad Cox teamed with Rosario on Knicks Go in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup. The 6-5 favorite went right to the lead and was on cruise control, cantering home by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:47.89. “He’s a very special horse,” Rosario said who has piloted Knicks Go to three straight wins. “He just goes faster and faster…He was really enjoying what he was doing out there, so I was never worried about somebody getting close to me.”
After riding on the east coast since 2013, Rosario returned to southern California for the Santa Anita Winter/Spring meet. He has won multiple riding titles in southern California and is currently third in the standings at Santa Anita.
Rosario’s weekly stats were 18-5-0-1 and was the leading jockey by purse earnings with $1,929,645.
Rosario out-polled fellow jockeys Colby Hernandez who won the most races with 10, Tyler Gaffalione with two graded stakes wins, Abel Cedillo with a graded stakes and Irad Ortiz, Jr. who won the Pegasus World Cup Turf.