Every month we’ll recognize the top performing jockey, trainer and horse for the month according to a totally arbitrary formula devised to award points for finishing in the money in graded stakes races.
Graded Stakes Points
Trainer of the Month: Todd Pletcher
Honorable Mention: Larry Jones
On the strength of a win at Gulfstream and a place at Santa Anita on the last day of the month, Todd Pletcher overtook Bobby Frankel to grab the honors. Pletcher scored with two graded stakes wins, two seconds and three thirds in February. Frankel only finished in the money three times in graded stakes this month, but wins in a Grade 1 and a Grade 2 were enough for the runner-up spot. Larry Jones gets the nod for Honorable Mention over Frankel on the strength of three graded stakes wins, including two on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Jockey of the Month: Garrett Gomez
Honorable Mention: Rafael Bejarano
The race was quite a bit closer this month between Gomez and Bejarano, but they had very different months. Gomez scored with five graded wins, a second and third while Bejarano failed to win a graded stakes race this month but managed six runner-up finishes and a third, all in Grade 1 and Grade 2 races.
Horse of the Month: Kip Deville
Honorable Mention: Santa Teresita
Returning to action after his second place finish in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, Kip Deville produced a nice front-running win over a good field in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.
As for Honorable Mention, how can you not like Santa Teresita winning the Santa Maria at Santa Anita, especially since it was a Grade 1 win for a mare that had lost her last four races by a combined 45 lengths.
It bears noting that the third Grade 1 race of the month went to 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly champion Stardom Bound and the victory could very well lead her to face the boys in the Santa Anita Derby in April.
The pace is beginning to pick up on the road to the Kentucky Derby and the other Triple Crown races and Thoroughbred Report is here to help you keep up-to-date with everything that’s going on. Visit our Triple Crown Trail often for the latest news, race results, upcoming races, and lots of other resources that we’ll post as they become available.
Also, be sure to visit our Handicapping Contests page – the Road to the Roses contest and others are starting now!
Tonight was the premiere of a new series about jockeys on Animal Planet. Labeled a ‘docu-soap’, the series goes up-close and personal with seven jockeys riding in Southern California: Mike Smith, Aaron Gryder, Joe Talamo, Jon Court, Alex Solis, Chantal Sutherland, and Kayla Stra. Each episode takes us inside the jockeys’ room for a revealing look at these athlete’s lives and what drives them to succeed. We also get a rare look at the jockey’s personal lives and share the tension with family members as they watch their loved ones win, lose and, occasionally, get trampled. (We also find out Mike Smith and Chantal Sutherland are a couple! Who knew?)
Subtitled “Win or Die Trying”, the producers are not shy about highlighting the dangers involved. There are plenty of scenes showing horses falling and jockeys being thrown to the track. While it’s a part of the game I hate, it’s real and doesn’t seem overly gratuitous. The previews for the next episode indicate the problems of ‘making weight’ (camera pans to toilet stalls) will be given a similar focus.
Filmed (video’d?) during the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita last fall, the show looked great in Hi-Def. There were lots of good racing scenes shown, including Zenyatta winning the Ladies’ Secret Handicap, and some really great starting gate footage where we get to listen to the jockeys as a horse tries to do a backflip in the gate.
I enjoyed the first hour very much. They did a great job of presenting the beauty and excitement of thoroughbred racing while mixing in the personal drama that goes on behind the scenes. I really believe a show like this could intrigue a casual viewer and lead them to develop an interest in horse racing. If only the racing industry could market itself this well. (Are you listening NTRA?)