Ricardo Santana, Jr. not only won the Gr. I Arkansas Derby but set three milestones at Oaklawn Park, earning Jockey of the Week honors for April 5 through April 11. 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 his main client, trainer Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana, Jr. was aboard Super Stock in the Gr. I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park April 10. Off at odds of 12-1 in the field of six, Santana, Jr. and Super Stock took advantage of a speed duel set by favorite Concert Tour and Caddo River to win by 2-1/2 lengths in the 1-1/8th mile race in 1:50.92 to earn 100 points and a spot in the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 1.
“We got a beautiful trip. I was talking to Mr. Steve (Asmussen) for about two weeks before the race,” said Santana, Jr. The post was perfect. We both liked breaking from #1. We knew there was some speed and everything came out perfect. It was a really important win for Steve and his family. I’m really blessed to be the one they chose to ride this race.”
Santana, Jr., a seven-time Oaklawn riding champion, reached three more milestones Saturday. He became the ninth rider in Oaklawn history to reach 600 career victories after winning the tenth race aboard Mighty Mischief for Asmussen and recorded 601 with his victory in the Gr. I Arkansas Derby.
He broke his single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings with $4,404,778 after the Arkansas Derby victory. He set the previous record in 2019. While he became the first rider in Oaklawn history to reach $30 million in career purse earnings on April 3, he surpassed that record with Super Stock’s victory.
Santana, Jr.’s stats for the week were 36-8-3-5 with a 22.2% win percentage and 44.4% in-the-money percentage. Total purse earnings for the week were $1,071,963 to lead all jockeys. He currently sits at the top of Oaklawn’s jockey standings with 57 victories, 18 more than David Cabrera.
Santana, Jr. out-polled Hector Rafael Diaz, Jr. with an in-the-money percentage of 76.4%, Tyler Gaffalione who won the Gr. I Jenny Wiley, Florent Geroux who captured the Gr. III Count Fleet, and Jose L. Ortiz who won a stakes race at Aqueduct and recorded five winners on a single card.