Joel Rosario captured all three graded stakes events at Santa Anita leading to Jockey of the Week honors for December 28 through January 3. 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 started the new year on Friday aboard Hembree in the Grade II Joe Hernandez Stakes for trainer Peter Miller. Racing last about 6-1/2 lengths off the lead in the turf contest, Rosario hugged the rail and slipped through a narrow opening three sixteenths of mile out and unleashed a powerful stretch run repelling a late challenge from True Valour to cover the 6-1/2 furlongs in 1:13.80. “He broke well and I thought we were in a good spot, not too far off the lead,” said Rosario. “He made a nice move around the turn and when that other horse came to him, he tried very hard.” “Brilliant, it really was just a fantastic ride by Joel, that’s why he is one of the best,” said Miller.
Peter Miller again gave Rosario a leg up Saturday on Anothertwistafate in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes at 1-1/8 miles on the turf. Anothertwistafate took command in mid-stretch en route to a 2-1/4 length victory stopping the clock in 1:46.63. “It was the first time with blinkers today and he broke really quick out of there,” said Rosario. “Having the blinkers helped, he was more focused today.”
Riding for trainer Bob Baffert in the Grade II Santa Ynez aboard Kalypso on Sunday, Rosario and the newly turned three-year-old filly were in total command turning for home asserting her dominance over the field of six by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:23.42. “She broke good and put me right into the race, a good position,” said Rosario who won his third stakes race through five days of racing. “I’m just happy to be on her.”
A native of the Dominican Republic, Rosario currently sits in second place in the Santa Anita standings through the first five days of their Winter-Spring meet.
Rosario posted a 30% win percentage and was leading jockey by purse earnings with $554,900.
Rosario out-polled fellow jockeys Florent Geroux who won nine races from 20 starts, Mitchell Murrill who led all jockeys by wins with 10, Irad Ortiz, Jr. who won three stakes at Gulfstream Park and Juan J. Hernandez who won eight races during the week.