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
Jockey of the Month: Julien Leparoux
Honorable mention: Garrett Gomez
Julien Leparoux is a graded stakes money machine. Leparoux finished in the money 10 times in graded stakes competition this month, picking up 3 wins, 3 seconds and 4 thirds. What is so impressive to me is not that he wins as many graded stakes as anyone, but that when he doesn’t win he is still right there at the end to finish in the money.
Garrett Gomez won this award the first three months of the year, but it’s been Julien Leparoux’s world ever since. Gomez did have a good month himself with 2 wins, 2 seconds and 3 thirds, but it took a win in the last graded stakes of the month for him to nip John Velazquez and Javier Castellano at the wire for the Honorable Mention.
Horse of the Month: Summer Bird
Honorable Mention: Zenyatta
With there being no multiple graded stakes winners this month, or even multiple in-the-money finishers, we’re left to select our award winners from among the nine grade one races this month.
The top honor this month goes to Summer Bird who followed up his sixth place finish in the Kentucky Derby with a strong stretch run at Belmont Park to win the 141st Belmont Stakes.
We’ll give the Honorable Mention to Zenyatta for extending her career record to 11 wins in 11 starts while spotting her rivals from 13-16 pounds in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Trainer of the Month: Todd Pletcher
Honorable mention: John Sadler
Todd Pletcher had a very nice month with 2 wins, 5 seconds and a third to earn his second Trainer of the Month award of the year.
John Sadler makes his first appearance in the Trainer of the Month awards in what has been a very consistent 2009 campaign. Sadler led all trainers with 3 graded stakes wins this month and added a second and 3 thirds to earn enough points for this month’s Honorable Mention.