Jockeys Rosado, Lopez enjoy milestone weekends
Roberto Rosado (orange silks, holding sign) celebrates his 1,000th win, which came at Parx Racing on October 27, 2019. Barbara Weidl /EQUI-PHOTO
A pair of mid-Atlantic jockeys achieved milestones this past weekend.
At Parx Racing, veteran jockey Roberto Rosado earned the 1,000th win of his career on Sunday, while Paco Lopez won twice Sunday to secure the Monmouth Park riding title for the sixth time.
At Parx Racing, Rosado steered Tambora to a score in the fifth race to earn his 1,000th career victory. Rosado steered Tambora to a narrow early lead in the lifetime claiming event, the duo on top by a head after an opening quarter-mile in 22.48 seconds. The duo was confronted by Hesgotawaywithwrds in the lane, with the latter putting a head in front leaving the furlong grounds. But Tambora, trained by Carlos Mancilla, came back on the inside to prevail by a neck to give Rosado his milestone score.
Rosado came right back in the seventh to win again, piloting Lady Banba to an allowance win for trainer John Servis.
In his career, which began in 1996, Rosado has won 1,001 times from 7,645 starts, a 13% strike rate. His mounts have generated purse earnings of more than $18.7 million. He enjoyed his best season in 1997, when he won 212 races, with purse earnings of more than $1.9 million. His mounts have surpassed $1 million in earnings in each of the last seven years, and this season, Rosado has won 38 races with purse earnings of over $1.4 million.
Paco Lopez admitted he was as surprised as anyone at Monmouth on Sunday when he collected his sixth riding title during the closing day of Monmouth Park’s 2019 meet given how much ground he had to make up.
But the 34-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, does know a thing or two about closing.
With two winners on the final card of the 61-day meet, Lopez finished with 109 for the meet, two more than Nik Juarez in the closest rider’s race in track history.
Juarez topped the rider standings for most of the meet and even drew into a tie with Lopez at 107 victories after winning the second race on the 10-race card. But Lopez’s two victories followed, with Juarez shut out after his one winner on the day.
Jorge Navarro extended his record with his seventh straight training title with 68 winners, easily besting Jason Servis’ 40, while Joseph Besecker, with 23 winners from 72 starters, was the leading owner.
The highlight of the meet for Lopez was winning the Grade 1 United Nations aboard 14-1 shot Hunter O’Riley.
“I’m very surprised I won the title again because I started so late here,” said Lopez. “It was a long way to come back from where I started.
“Things had to work out almost perfectly for this to happen. I needed live horses, I needed to ride for good trainers and I needed to ride well. I really just focused on winning races, not trying to catch anyone in the standings and it worked out.”
Lopez didn’t ride his first race at Monmouth Park until June 15 – six weeks and 13 racing cards after the meet started.
He last won the riding title at Monmouth Park in 2016. This one was clinched in the eighth race on the Sunday card when he booted home Perspicacious ($9.40) in the featured $59,375 allowance optional claimer.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I think as you get older you appreciate it more. I wish I could be like Joe Bravo and win 13 titles here but I don’t think anyone is ever going to catch him. I’m happy with what I’ve done.”
Lopez and Bravo are the only riders in Monmouth Park history to win six or more titles.
Juarez did finish as the leading money-earning rider with $3,838,949 in earnings for the meet, more than $200,000 ahead of Lopez.
LATEST RACING NEWS
This weekend’s Met Mile winner Vekoma has won three straight and is on the rise in the latest NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for older horses.
Prendimi was up the track in a Grade 3 last out, but if all goes to plan, that sets him up for Sunday’s Reilly Handicap for NJ-breds at Monmouth Park.
Threes Over Deuces surged late along the rail to win Laurel Park’s Independence Day featured allowance and push his earnings past $350,000.
Heavily favored Gufo had to work for it but rallied to win the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park and set a track record in the process.
Project Whiskey, a Butch Reid trainee, pulled a 38-1 upset in Saturday’s Grade 3 Delaware Oaks, earning 50 points towards the Kentucky Oaks.
Returning from an eight-month layoff, Laki took advantage of a speed duel to rally to victory in Monmouth Park’s opening day feature.