Joel Rosario was on the road over the holiday weekend winning two graded stakes at Prairie Meadows and a listed stakes at Belmont Park earning Jockey of the Week for June 28 through July 5. 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.
On Friday night, Rosario invaded Prairie Meadows for engagements on two mounts in the Iowa Festival of Racing. Off as the favorite for trainer Mike Maker in the Grade III Iowa Oaks, Army Wife and Joel Rosario sat third while saving ground early after breaking from post 1. Rosario angled out four wide at the top of the stretch and collared the leader Shesa Mystery near the eighth pole drawing off to win the one and one-sixteenth contest by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:43.10. “She performed really well like she did the last time,” Rosario said. “It looks like she is getting better.”
Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Pegasus World Cup winner Knicks Go headlined the Grade III Cornhusker Handicap and did not disappoint. Given a leg up by trainer Brad Cox, Rosario sat motionless most of the 1-1/8th miles race aboard Knicks Go having gained the early lead in the field of seven. He extended his advantage on the far turn and cruised to a 10-1/4 length win in 1:47.33.
On Monday, back at Belmont Park riding for trainer Christophe Clement, Rosario was aboard Gufo in the first running of the Grand Couturier Stakes, a 1-1/2 mile turf test. Breaking from post 6, Rosario saved ground in last with Tide of the Sea on the lead. On the far turn, Rosario urged Gufo out and picked off his rivals one by one. Tide of the Sea re-rallied in the stretch but Gufo prevailed by a length in 2:28.73, surviving an objection by the fourth place finisher Sadler’s Joy. “He always likes to look around a little bit, and that was it. He was fine after that,” said Rosario about his stretch run.
Rosario’s weekly stats were 22-5-3-6 for a 22.7% win percentage and total purses of $608,270.
For Jockey of the Week, Rosario out-polled Samy Camacho who tied for number of wins with Luis Saez who also won two stakes races, Mike Smith who won two Grade III stakes and John Velazquez who won two Grade II stakes races.