Jockey Tyler Gaffalione celebrated the Fourth of July with his own brand of fireworks, riding seven winners Tuesday at Gulfstream Park.
Thoroughbred racing’s burgeoning star equaled the Gulfstream record held by Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey.
Bailey rode seven winners on the March 11, 1995 Florida Derby Day program, missing an eighth visit to the winner’s circle when he and Suave Prospect fell a nose short of beating Thunder Gulch in the Florida Derby (G1).
Born six months after Bailey’s record-setting performance, Gaffalione won the first three races, visiting the winner’s circle with Break Away ($6.40) and Poopsie Doopsie ($12) before scoring in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes aboard Adorable Miss ($3). The 22-year-old native of Davie, FL added victories aboard Perfect Tay ($6.60) in the fifth, Sambrook Edge ($4.80) in the seventh, Isum Money ($9.80) in the eighth, and Stormin Charlotte ($6.40) in the ninth.
On his other four mounts on the card, Gaffalione registered two second-place finishes and two third-place finishes.
“It is amazing. I grew up idolizing Jerry Bailey. I copied basically everything he did. Between him and my father, they’re my two biggest influences,” said Gaffalione, whose father Steve Gaffalione rode nearly 900 winners during a career that spanned 1978-1998. “This is such an honor. I can’t thank everyone enough, my agent (Matt Muzikar), all the trainers, the owners, the horses and everyone in the jock’s room for all their support.”
Gaffalione rode his first winner on his third career mount, scoring aboard Holdin Bullets at Gulfstream Sept. 7, 2014. He went on to ride 217 winners in 2015 to earn the Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding apprentice jockey. He rode five winners on the Sept. 20, 2015 card at Gulfstream. Three weeks later, he rode four winners on his first day as a journeyman at Gulfstream Oct. 11, 2015, signaling that he wasn’t about to let his business slip while riding without the benefit of the five-pound apprentice allowance.
Gaffalione went on to win 208 winners in his first year as a journeyman in 2016 and has built on that success this year both at Gulfstream and in out-of-town stakes. He currently tops the 2017 national win standings with 156 victories.