By Jarrod Horak
The horses are clearly the main attraction, but Breeders’ Cup jockeys are a big part of the equation. In this report, I will take a look at three jockeys to keep an eye on for both Breeders’ Cup days at Santa Anita Park on November 3-4, 2023.
Breeders’ Cup Jockeys to Watch
Frankie Dettori is the first of three Breeders’ Cup jockeys to watch. He recently called off his retirement and is going to stay in California to ride after the 2023 Breeders’ Cup. He was third in the rider standings with 26 wins at the 2022-23 Santa Anita Park Winter Meet. The Italian rider captured 14 Breeders’ Cup races from 1994-2018 and his mounts earned over $25 million. The BC Turf has been his most successful race. He won that race five times including a victory aboard Enable (GB) in 2018. He booted home three winners in the BC Juvenile Turf and two in the BC Mile and BC Filly & Mare Turf. He guided home Wilko in the 2004 BC Juvenile, and took home the big prize in the 2008 BC Classic aboard Raven’s Pass.
Flavien Prat is 4-for-71 overall in the Breeders’ Cup. He booted home Obviously (IRE) in the 2016 BC Turf Sprint, and got home Battle of Midway in the 2017 BC Dirt Mile. Storm the Court pulled off the upset in the 2019 BC Juvenile under Prat, and he was just a passenger aboard thoroughbred superstar Flightline in the 2022 BC Classic. Two of Prat’s Breeders’ Cup wins occurred at Santa Anita, and he was the top rider at the Great Race Place on ten occasions from 2016-21. Prat’s 2023 BC mounts include Arabian Knight (BC Classic), Prince of Monaco (BC Juvenile), and Wet Paint (BC Distaff).
Mike Smith is the final rider to watch, and there is a reason why they call him ‘Big Money’ Mike. He is 27-for-150 in the Breeders’ Cup jockeys chase with more than $38 million in earnings, and that makes his the all-time leader in BC wins and money won. His first Breeders’ Cup win was aboard Lure in the 1992 BC Mile, and he last achieved BC success in the 2021 BC Juvenile aboard Corniche. In 2023, he has a trio of live mounts for trainer Richard Mandella. Smith will ride Eddie D (G2) hero Lane Way in the BC Turf Sprint, and he will pilot likely BC Juvenile Fillies favorite Tamara. He also rides Grade 1 Haskell winner Geaux Rocket Ride in the BC Classic.
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