A fan favorite at Oaklawn Park for 40 years, Jon Court proved he isn’t slowing down as he recorded his 34th stakes victory and his 689th career victory at Oaklawn Park earning Jockey of the Week honors for January 25 through January 31. 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.
Riding for trainer Dallas Stewart and owner Willis Horton in the Martha Washington, the 60-year-old Court settled Will’s Secret behind the pace setter Sylvia Q who led the field of six through early fractions of :23 3/5 and :45 1/5 for the first half mile. Four wide turning for home, Will’s Secret put her head in front at the top of the lane drawing clear of 4-5 favorite Couch to win by 5 ¼ lengths. The winning time was 1:38 3/5 for one mile over a muddy track.
“The strategy was to not let the speed separate from us and keep them within striking distance, just because it is a short stretch, short run to the wire,” Court said. “I was keeping that in mind and mindful that these horses do have speed that carries.”
Court added that winning the Martha Washington had added significance because it was for Horton. “These silks mean a lot to me,” Court said. Six years ago I won this race for the Hortons and here we are back again. The odds weren’t quite as favoring, but it was a pretty awesome experience to win. I’m known for pulling off long shots. It’s just what I do.”
With no plans to retire, Court added, “I’m just very, very fortunate and thankful to the higher powers.”
Lifetime statistics for Court through Sunday, January 31 include 34,427 mounts with 4,194 wins and total purses of $108,191,731.
Court out-polled fellow jockeys Jesus Castanon a stakes winner at Sam Houston, Manny Franco who was second leading jockey by purse earnings, Julien Leparoux also a stakes winner at Sam Houston and Irad Ortiz, Jr. who was the leading jockey by wins with 13.