New York Based Jockeys Well Represented in Belmont Stakes

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D.S. Williamson

June 2nd, 2016

New York's signature summer horse race is going to have a New York jockey flair as no less than 5 Belmont Park based jockeys have mounts in the Belmont Stakes. At least 2 of the 5 jockeys who ride at Big Sandy sit on contenders while it probably wouldn't surprise anyone if one of the other 3 jockeys took their mount to the finish line first. The Belmont Stakes figures to be a highly contested affair with heavily favored Exaggerator making his sixth start of the year and third in the last 5 weeks.

Who knows?  If Exagerrator is over the top, maybe one of these Big Apple jockeys will be the one singing the after race rendition of New York, New York in the winner's circle.

Brody's Cause - Luis Saez - Luis Saez has never won a Breeders' Cup race. He also hasn't won a Triple Crown race. But for my money, he's as good as any jockey in New York. With 9 mounts on June 2 at Belmont Park, Saez won a race, finished second 3 times, finished third once and finished fourth once. That's impressive. Saez is a patient rider who is going to give Brody's Cause, a big longshot on June 11, the best possible ride. If Brody's Cause has improved at all since the Kentucky Derby flub, he could be one to reckon with since Saez will be on his back come June 11.
Creator - Irad Ortiz Jr - Irad takes over for Ricardo Santana Jr. aboard Creator in the Belmont Stakes. Creator's trainer, Steve Asmussen, decided that he wanted a jockey that's familiar with Big Sandy's layout for Creator's Belmont run. I have to agree with Asmussen when he stated that he couldn't do any better for somebody that knows the racetrack better than Irad Ortiz Jr.

Irad Ortiz Jr. is quickly becoming one of the best jockeys in the world. From 554 mounts in 2016, Irad has 121 wins, 115 seconds and 80 thirds. His mounts have earned $7,346,836 as of June 2. Asmussen's right. Creator's best chance of winning the Test of Champions is to have Irad Ortiz Jr. on his back. Above, check out Irad's ride aboard Stephanie's Kitten in the 2015 Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Destin - Javier Castellano - Castellano has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in the past 3 years. Castellano is an aggressive rider who understands pace as well as any jockey in the world. His victory aboard Ghostzapper in the 2004 Breeders Cup Classic was sensational. If Castellano handicaps the race and decides that only he and Stradivari will be close on the lead, it might be hard to go against Destin to win the Belmont Stakes. Castellano owns Belmont Park. He's just an awesome rider. He often rides for Todd Pletcher, Destin's trainer, like when he did winning the Breeders Cup Distaff in 2015 aboard Stopchargingmaria.
Governor Malibu - Joel Rosario - Joel Rosario was an up and coming jockey in SoCal before tacking his tack to New York. I've had the pleasure of watching Rosario race in person at Santa Anita where he routinely out worked other jockeys for wins, just like he did in the stretch of the 2014 Belmont Stakes aboard Tonalist. Not only does Joel know Belmont Park but he also knows the Belmont Stakes. Joel finished second in the Belmont aboard Frosted in 2015. In 2013, he finished third in the Belmont aboard Orb. Governor Malibu has some talent meaning that Joel and he could pull off a shocker on June 11.
Stradivari - John Velazquez - Johnny V gave one of the most electrifying performances in the history of the Belmont Stakes in 2012. Once Paynter took off and seemingly shut the door on Union Rags and Johnny V in the stretch, it appeared that the Bob Baffert three-year-old would end up wiring the Belmont. It was not to be for Team Baffert. Somehow, someway, Johnny V got Union Rags through along the rail for an amazing win. Johnny V rides like this on a day to day basis at Big Sandy. He'll be on Stradivari, one of the favorites to upset Exaggerator, in the Belmont Stakes on June 11.