With 10 wins including a Grade III stakes, Tyler Gaffalione was voted Jockey of the Week for May 17 through May 23. 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 at Churchill Downs, Gaffalione began the race week on Thursday with two victories, then two three-win days Friday and Saturday including the Grade III Winning Colors culminating with two wins on Sunday. His 10 wins were for eight different trainers.
Trainer Greg Foley tapped Gaffalione to ride Sconsin for the first time in the Grade III Winning Colors for fillies and mares four-years-old and up going six furlongs on the main track. Sconsin broke from the rail in the field of five and comfortably tracked the leading trio of Rising Seas, Frank’s Rockette and Tipsy Gal after a quarter mile. Gaffalione guided Sconsin to the outside on the turn and blew past those foes to draw off and win by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:08.80. “Everything set up like we thought it would,” Gaffalione said. “The speed went on and set quick fractions. We were able to sit back and bide our time. When I put her out at the top of the lane she finished the job.” The Winning Colors was Gaffalione’s seventh graded stakes victory of the year.
Gaffalione, the 2015 Eclipse Award winner as Outstanding Apprentice Jockey, currently sits atop the jockey standings at Churchill Downs with 23 wins through May 23. His weekly statistics were 26-10-3-5 for a win percentage of 38.4% and an in-the-money percentage of 69.2%. He led all jockeys in purse earnings with $577,310.
Gaffalione out-polled Alex Birzer who recorded nine wins, Jose L. Ortiz with $306,378 in purse earnings, Jose Andres Guerrero with eight wins for the week and Mike Smith who won the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes.