Rick Strike – The jockey who rode last-minute entry Rich Strike to a Kentucky Derby win will take his skills at Gulfstream Park. Beginning on Sunday, Sonny Leon will ride full-time at the race course located at Hallandale Beach in Florida. On Saturday, he will ride on six horses at Gulfstream Park, including Easy Come Easy Go in the Aralem Stakes. The Venezuelan jockey also has bookings for other trainers such as Mark Casse, Mike Maker, and David Braddy. The move to Gulfstream will allow Leon to compete for higher purses as compared to races held in Belterra Park and other smaller Midwest tracks that he worked with, according to the best American horseracing betting site.
Leon was a regular in Belterra Park where he ranks third in the jockey standings with 29 wins from 155 starts. This year, he sets a career-high in annual purse earnings with USD3,990,868. He earns USD1.86 million via the Kentucky Derby. The jockey rode 80-1 longshot Rich Strike to win the first stakes race of the US Triple Crown. It was the second-biggest upset in the race’s history.
Just Cindy Wins Schuylerville
Just Cindy captured the Schuylerville Stakes as she outdueled Summer Promise down the stretch in the six-furlong race. The Clarkland Farm homebred won the seven-entry field with a time of one minute and 11.95 seconds. The Irad Ortiz Jr-ridden horse was 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Summer Promise, who made a move through the turn. Janis Joplin took third while Me and My Shadow came in fourth. Vedareo, pacesetter Musicmansandy, and Adora placed fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively. Sweet Harmony and Motown Mischief were not able to start the race.
O’Neill unveils plans for Happy Jack, Hot Rod Charlie in Saratoga
Trainer Brad O’Neill looks to extend his luck in Saratoga as he will deploy Hot Rod Charlie and Happy Jack in two stakes races in August. Hot Rod Charlie will take part in the USD1-million Whitney Stakes while Happy Jack will compete in the USD500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial on August 27. The Mike Smith-ridden Hot Rod Charlie placed second by a head to Mind Control in the Salvator Mile on June 18 in Monmouth Park. It was the colt’s first start since his second-place finish in the Dubai World Cup. The 1 1/8-mile Whitney is part of the “win and you’re in” event for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Hot Rod Charlie competed in the race last year and finished fourth. The horse will be reunited with top rider Flavian Prat and will be refitted with blinkers.
Meanwhile, Triple Crown veteran Happy Jack is coming off an allowance win at Churchill Downs on June 19. He previously placed third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. The seven-furlong Jerkens Memorial will give Happy Jack another exposure in short-distance races, but O’Neill is not sure if he will put the horse in long-distance races. Having Happy Jack and Hot Rod Charlie in Saratoga next month will give online derby betting sites a treat as they are considered top horses that can provide a win in races.
O’Neill has won three Grade 1 wins at the racetrack. The first was in 2007 with Mayfield at the Ballerina Stakes. Then, he followed it up six years later with Private Zone in the Vosburgh Stakes. Ralis handed O’Neill his third Grade 1 win in the 2015 Hopeful Stakes. Four years later, O’Neill trained Comical for the Grade 3 2019 Schuylerville Stakes.