With two extraordinary riding performances during the week of September 28 thru October 4, the Jockey of the Week panel of judges could not separate the riding achievements of veteran Robby Albarado and Luis Saez. The two riders tied for votes creating two Jockeys of the Week for the first time. The panel is comprised of racing industry experts. This award 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.
Robby Albarado’s riding skills were on full display in the Grade I Preakness Stakes aboard the filly Swiss Skydiver. The filly was the beneficiary of a quick decision by Albarado that helped propel her to the lead leaving the backstretch. From there she fought off a seemingly relentless challenge from Kentucky Derby winner Authentic. Commenting on his ride, Albarado said, “I had an opportunity, a split second to take advantage of the rail because Johnny (Velazquez on Authentic) was sitting off the fence there. I made a conscience decision on the backside. Do I make the move now or do I wait to see if they come to me?” Albarado made the move and into the history books. Swiss Skydiver became just the 6th filly to win the 1-3/16-mile classic race for 3-year-olds. “It was a genius move by Robby coming up the fence,” said Ken McPeek, the trainer of Swiss Skydiver.
Fall Stars Weekend at Keeneland featured 10 graded stakes and Luis Saez won five for four different trainers. His wins included the Grade I Darley Alcibiades aboard Simply Ravishing for Ken McPeek, and the Grade I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity with Essential Quality for Brad Cox. Saez became the 10th jockey to sweep the Darley Alcibiades (GI) and Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI) in the same year. His other stakes wins included the Grade I Juddmonte Spinster with Valiance for Todd Pletcher, the Grade II Woodford Stakes Presented by TVG on Leinster for Rusty Arnold and the Grade II Bourbon Stakes with Mutasaabeq for Todd Pletcher. Saez’s weekly stats were 22-9-3-3 for a win percentage of 41%, an in-the-money percentage of 68% and total purses of $1,182,436 for leading money-earner honors.
Albarado and Saez out-polled fellow riders Junior Alvarado who won four stakes at Belmont, three of which were graded, Daniel Centeno with two stakes wins at Pimlico and Jose L. Ortiz with three graded stakes wins at Belmont Park.
Statistics provided by Equibase
Photos: Coady Photo
About the Guild
Jockeys’ Guild, Inc. is the organization representing professional jockeys in Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing in the United States. It was founded in May 1940 and has approximately 1,250 members, including active, retired and disabled jockeys. The purpose is to protect jockeys, strive to achieve a safer racing environment, obtain improved insurance and other benefits for members and to monitor developments in local, state and federal laws affecting the racing industry, and in particular, the jockeys. For more information about the Guild, visit www.jockeysguild.com or www.facebook.com/jockeysguild