Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. won two graded stakes at Parx and a stakes race at Remington Park to earn Jockey of the Week for September 20 through September 26. 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 1050 active, retired and permanently disabled jockeys.
Santana travelled to Parx on Saturday for Pennsylvania Derby Day. It’s been quite a while since Santana had ridden a 108-1 shot in a graded stakes and while the win on Hollywood Talent in the Grade III Turf Monster shocked the betting public, it wasn’t a surprise to Santana. Before riding on a regular basis for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Santana rode on a regular basis at Delaware Park for trainer Juan Vazquez. “I was riding everything for him,” said Santana. “Everything I ride for him I have a shot.”
The 10-year-old Hollywood Talent and Santana were seventh early in the field of nine. They were three wide down the backstretch and moved into third around the turn passing Admiral Abe in deep stretch to a 1-1/4 length win in 59.51.
“He was traveling beautiful and I was really happy with him, when we turned for home and when I asked him the horse really responded well,” said Santana.
Trainer Steve Asmussen gave a leg up to Santana on the race favorite Clairiere in the Grade I Cotillion at Parx for three-year-old fillies at one mile and one-sixteenth on the main track. Santana settled Clairiere in sixth in the field of eight. He asked her on the turn and the duo swung out into the stretch. With five lined up across the track, Clairiere circled the field and cruised to a 2-1/2-length score in 1:44.31.
“I broke her maiden last year at Churchill Downs and she’s such a sweetheart and I was really comfortable with her and she kicked on really well,” said Santana. “I had too much horse and I was just waiting turning for home.”
Santana then travelled to Remington Park for Oklahoma Derby Day on Sunday. Riding for Steve Asmussen, Santana won the Kip Deville Stakes for two-year-olds at six furlongs on the dirt aboard Concept. Going straight to the lead out of the gate, Santana and Concept were never headed fending off a late run by Tejano Twist for a 1-1/2-length win in 1:10.12.
Santana’s weekly statistics were 17-3-5-3 for $1,184,535 in total purses to lead all jockeys.
The other nominees for Jockey of the Week were Abel Cedillo with a stakes win at Los Alamitos, Irad Ortiz, Jr. with two graded stakes, Joel Rosario with two graded stakes and Edgard Zayas with a stakes win at Gulfstream Park.