Jockey Profile: Jersey Joe Bravo

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

December 27th, 2018

Horseplayers on the west coast might not know the name of one of the top jockeys in the United States, Joe Bravo. Bravo owns Monmouth Park, winning 13 riding titles. He's known as having great success on front runners, but riding early types isn't Joe's only skill.

Since 1988, Bravo's won aboard low-level claimers and Grade 1 runners. He's won races on the dirt and turf. The New Jersey legend doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon. His mounts made over $8 million in 2018. With a few racing days left, Bravo has ridden 111 winners from 560 starters. That's 20%, which is amazing for a jockey.

Check out 5 graded races that Joe Bravo's won during his career.

Put Jersey Joe on Your Horse and Win Races

2004 Haskell Invitational - Lion Heart

Sure, Joe Bravo aboard a front runner like Lion Heart made for the perfect setup. But before saying that Bravo got an easy lead, remember that he had to hustle Lion Heart out of the gate. Not only that, but jockey Corey Nakatani aboard 4/5 shot Rock Hard Ten put his mount in second place.

Bravo got Lion Heart to relax just enough before the top of the stretch to leave something in the tank. That's great race riding.

2013 United Nations Stakes - Big Blue Kitten

Favored front runner Little Mike got the lead, but he had to work hard to get it. After the 8/5 chalk ran the half-mile in 47.4, Bravo knew the second choice Big Blue Kitten had a major shot at winning the race. Joe took Big Blue Kitten right to the rail to save ground.

The key moment in the race happened after the final turn. Bravo could have forced his way between Little Mike and Teaks North. In fact, that was his first inclination, but like what great jockeys do, he called an audible and took Big Blue Kitten inside. That decision is why Big Blue Kitten won the 2013 United Nations Stakes.

2016 Stephen Foster Handicap - Bradester

Effinex went off the 60 cents on the dollar favorite to win the 2016 Stephen Foster Handicap. Bradester, Joe Bravo's mount, went off at 9/1. Bravo went back to front-running tactics to steal the race, nursing Bradester along through a 47.58 half-mile. In the stretch, it looked like Eagle might catch the front runner. Bravo muscled Bradester home. The win was all Joe Bravo who wouldn't let up on his mount until they hit the wire in front.

2018 Carter Handicap - Army Mule

Army Mule had no business winning the 2018 Carter Handicap. The front runners, Red Dragon Tattoo and Green Gratto, ran the half-mile in the 7 furlong race in an incredible 44.93. Army Mule was right there. He should have folded just like the front runners did.

He didn't because, incredibly, Joe Bravo had gotten him to relax comfortably as soon as the gates opened. It was only Army Mule's third lifetime race and even though he was much the best, without Bravo's steady hand, things might have turned out differently.

2018 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes - Blue Prize

This is one of my favorite Joe Bravo rides. He made a conscious decision to keep Blue Prize in the clear, which means going wide throughout the entire race. Then, he made the key decision to make an early move so that by the time they hit the top of the stretch, Blue Prize would be in the lead. Even though she went wonky in the stretch, Bravo didn't lose his cool. He straightened her out and got her home first. How amazing is that?

If you run into a handicapping conundrum, look for the name Joe Bravo. Jersey Joe's steady hand will ensure the horse gives it all it has.