Filed under: Breeders' Cup, Horse Racing
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
Horse of the Month: Backtalk
Honorable Mention: Gio Ponti
It certainly seems odd to be giving the Horse of the Month award to a two-year-old so early in the year, but you really can’t argue with two graded stakes wins in less than four weeks. This son of 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Smarty Jones showed a lot of composure overcoming a poor start in the Sanford Stakes and has now shown the ability to rate and close in all three of his career starts (and wins). Bodes well for the Hopeful Stakes on September 7th and, perhaps, beyond.
From the group of nine July Grade 1 winners, we’ll give the Honorable Mention to Man O’ War Stakes winner Gio Ponti, who has emerged as the top older turf horse in the country.
Jockey of the Month: Edgar Prado
Honorable mention: Joel Rosario
Nice to see some new names atop the graded stakes jockey leaderboard. Edgar Prado had a very nice month, picking up his three Graded Stakes victories aboard Dry Martini in the Suburban, Kensei in the Dwyer and Game Face in the Princess Rooney. Prado also picked up three runner-up finishes and two shows.
Other jockeys won more graded stakes races or finished in the money more often, but through the magic of the Arbitrary Graded Stakes Points Formula, Joel Rosario is awarded the Honorable Mention for July. Rosario won two graded stakes this month, the highlight being his guiding of the filly Necessary Evil to a victory over colts in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship.
Trainer of the Month: Todd Pletcher
Honorable mention: Bob Baffert
Another good month for Todd Pletcher earns him his third Trainer of the Month award of the year and second in a row. Pletcher’s runners picked up 2 wins, 2 seconds and 3 thirds in graded stakes competition this month, highlighted by victories by Munnings in the Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont Park and Game Face in the Princess Rooney at Calder.
Bob Baffert wins the ThoroughbredReport.com Trainer of the Month Honorable Mention for July and, in August, gets inducted into the National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. Life doesn’t get much better than that. Baffert only had two wins, a second and a third in graded stakes action this month, but his wins in the Grade 1 Triple Bend with Zensational and the Grade 2 Swaps with Misremembered were enough to earn him the number 2 spot this month.