Upon winning his first Keeneland riding title at the close of the fall meet on Saturday, voters unanimously selected Ricardo Santana, Jr. as Jockey of the Week for the week ending October 29, 2017. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by Animal Element’s Foundation Detox and Product X Performance Enhancer.
Ricardo Santana, Jr. has been a regular during the fall meet at Keeneland in recent years, but this October was the first time he finished at the top of the rider standings. Santana ended the meet with 20 wins, four more than Robby Albarado in second place and five more than Julien Leparoux in third place.
Originally from Panama, Santana won his first riding title at Delaware Park in 2012 and has since earned five consecutive riding titles at Oaklawn Park. He finished fourth by wins during Keeneland’s 2015 fall meet and seventh during the track’s same meet last year.
Santana kicked off the Churchill fall meet opening day on Sunday with a win in the $200,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes aboard Fight On ($12.20), for trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Spendthrift Farms. The winning duo sat just behind pacesetter and post-time favorite Ezmosh and Florent Geroux; when the frontrunner faded, Fight Onmoved up to take the lead and the race by a head.
After winning the first stakes event of the Churchill meet, Santana returned to run second in the $200,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Filly Stallion Stakes with heavy favorite Mia Mischief.
In his 32 starts at Keeneland and Churchill Downs last week, Santana won ten races, at 31% for the week. He was in the money on 59% of his starts, including six second-place finishes and three third-place finishes. His 2017 stats include 127 wins in 810 starts, with 915 career wins in 5,832 races.
Santana is ranked 15th among all North America jockeys by earnings and added $441,744 to his 2017 total of over $7.6 million. He now has career earnings of $38,052,014. He was the second leading rider among North American jockeys by total earnings last week.
Santana was also the second leading rider by number of wins last week with ten victories.
The multiple graded stakes winning jockey earned his first career Grade 1 victory in the 2016 Arkansas Derby aboard Creator. Other notable mounts include Paid Up Subscriber, Tapiture and Terra Promessa. Santana was recently honored as Jockey of the Week in September following an impressive night at Remington Park, in which he won four stakes, including the Oklahoma Derby (G3) with Untrapped.