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: Summer Bird
Honorable Mention: Justenuffhumor
Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird staked his claim this month as the top three-year-old male with a victory in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga following a second place finish in the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park behind likely Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.
The points say King’s Bishop winner Capt. Candyman Can, but we’ll give the Honorable Mention to Justenuffhumor for picking up two Grade 2 wins on the Saratoga turf.
Jockey of the Month: John Velazquez
Honorable mention: Julien Leparoux
Only two graded stakes wins for John Velazquez this month, but on the strength of 5 runner-up finishes and 6 shows he easily picks up the title this month. The highlight for Velazquez had to be guiding Quality Road to victory in the Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and establishing a new track record for 6 1/2 furlongs in the process.
While we do have to give a hat tip to Edgar Prado for picking up 5 graded stakes wins this month, the points say Julien Leparoux gets the Honorable Mention by a nose over Alan Garcia. Leparoux’s 2 wins, 2 places and 2 shows in Grade 1 races this month provided the bulk of his points.
Trainer of the Month: Todd Pletcher
Honorable mention: Saeed bin Suroor
The Summer of Todd continues as Pletcher picks up his third Trainer of the Month title in a row and he did it this month with sheer numbers, saddling 14 in-the-money finishers in graded stakes this month (4 wins, 3 places, 7 shows). His only grade 1 score was with Quality Road in the Amsterdam, but his runners did finish 3rd in 5 Grade 1’s.
Bettors overlooked Godolphin runners at their peril this month at Saratoga as everything they put in the starting gate was sharp and dangerous, as evidenced by Suroor’s 4 graded stakes victories this month (3 in Grade 1’s). Actually 4 of his runners crossed the finish line first in Grade 1’s, but Vineyard Haven bore out badly nearing the wire in the King’s Bishop Stakes and was disqualified and placed second. Suroor’s wins came in the Go For Wand Handicap (G1), Test Stakes (G1), Ballerina Stakes (G1), and the Victory Ride Stakes (G3). (A second Honorable Mention should probably go to Suroor’s assistant trainer Rick Mettee who oversees Godolphin’s New York division.)