Saez Notches 100th Victory Of Gulfstream's Championship Meet - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Saez Notches 100th Victory Of Gulfstream’s Championship Meet

Luis Saez

Leading jockey Luis Saez made his 100th trip to the Gulfstream Park winner's circle during the 2016-2017 Championship Meet after guiding Sistine Sista to a front-running victory in Thursday's 11th race.

Only defending five-time Championship Meet titlist Javier Castellano and two-time champion Paco Lopez have ridden 100 winners during the winter session. Castellano, who is a Hall of Fame finalist this year, achieved the feat the past four years, including a record 132-win season in 2013-2014. Lopez rode 103 winners to finish second that season.

“We came here hoping to do good but we didn't know we were going to do that good. We keep trying and working very hard and, thank God, we're here,” Saez said. “I appreciate all the trainers and owners for giving me the opportunity. We try to win races and, thank God, we did good here.”

Saez, whose 86 winners last season were second only to Castellano's 113, is currently atop the jockey standings for the meet that concludes Sunday, 12 wins ahead of Lopez, who has made 88 visits to the winner's circle.

“I have a lot of confidence. Every year we learn something different, something new,” he said. “Everything is getting better and we keep riding a little better. We're doing good, thank God.”

The 24-year-old jockey has notched victories in four graded stakes during the Championship Meet, winning the Hurricane Bertie (G3) and Royal Delta (G2) with Curlin's Approval, the Forward Gal (G2) aboard Tequilita, and the Hal's Hope (G3) on Tommy Macho. He has the mount aboard Three Rules in Saturday's $1 million Florida Derby (G1).

The victory aboard the Angel Rodriguez-trained Sistine Sista, which followed a triumph aboard Todd Pletcher-trained Songeur in the eighth race, was the 1,637th in just nine years of riding.

Saez began his riding career in Panama after graduating from the Laffit Pincay Jr. Jockey School in December 2008. After winning 37 races in Panama, he ventured to South Florida in 2009 and won 105 races to become a finalist for the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice.

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Ask Ray?

Have a question for Ray that you'd like answered? Have a news tip? Ray will go to his network of sources in pursuit of an answer.

Ask Ray