The Saratoga meet is in full swing. The first nine days have provided plenty of great racing action, featuring some of the top horses, jockeys, and trainers in the country.
With almost a quarter of the meet already in the books, it’s time to take a look at who is trending hot and cold among the trainers and jockeys thus far.
The trainer race is extremely wide-open at this point. Chad Brown has a slight advantage so far, with six Wins from 40 starters. However, Brown has plenty of competition right in behind him.
There’s a six-way tie for 2nd place, involving Todd Pletcher (defending champion), Steve Asmussen, Bill Mott, Mike Maker, Christophe Clement, and Brad Cox each saddling five Winners thus far.
Among the leading trainers, Cox has the highest Win percentage. He’s had five Winners from 11 starters, good for a 45% clip. The average odds of his winners are a chalky 1.45-1, so while his horses are tough they have not offered much Value so far.
Unsurprisingly, Brown and Clement are the top trainers on grass. They’ve each Won four races on that surface. Clement has also been sharp with 2-year-olds with three juvenile Winners.
As far as the jockeys are concerned, it’s the same old story, same old song and dance.
The brothers Ortiz, Jose and Irad are off to great starts. Jose has Won 16 races from 72 mounts, including a recent 7-for-22 hot streak. Irad has 14 Victories from 81 mounts, with three Graded Stakes Wins to date.
Luis Saez has consistently been one of the top jockeys on the New York circuit but he’s been especially sharp so far at Saratoga. He’s tied with Jose atop the jockey standings, Winning 16 races from 78 starts.
By contrast, Saez finished in 4th place in 2020 and 5th place in 2019. He has had multi-Win days each of the last three race days.
Joel Rosario is in 4th place with eight Wins from 51 starts. The majority of Rosario’s success has come in grass races. On dirt, he’s a mere 2-for-31.
He Won an off-the-grass race on July 18th, then Won the Shuvee Stakes last Sunday aboard ROYAL FLAG. Rosario has not yet Won a dirt sprint.
One of the more interesting jockey storylines in the first two weeks concerns John Velazquez.
The Hall of Fame rider started the meet in an 0-for-27 slump, before prevailing last Sunday, guiding LIME to Victory in a prolonged stretch duel.
Johnny V enters the 3rd week of the meet with a 1-for-29 record, for a meager 3% Win rate.
He’ll almost certainly snap out of the slump at some point, but until that happens, proceed with wagering caution on his rides.
Jockeys and/or trainers is always a meaningful angle at The Spa.
Racing continues Thursday, Post Time 1:05.