(Jockey Tyler Gaffalione / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

When he moved his tack to Kentucky to ride the circuit on a more regular basis, jockey Tyler Gaffalione had already established himself as one of the best in Florida. He was the BMOC (Big Man on Campus). He was the GATT (Greatest at the Time). He was the BRIT (Best Rider in Town). He was “The Man.”

So one might wonder why make the switch. Why change the venue? Why take the risk?

Wonder no more.

The man packed more than his tack when he moved here.

He packed his “A-Game,” too.

Already, Gaffalione has already become one of the best on the new circuit.

After Sunday’s races were done, Gaffalione had mounted 130 Thoroughbreds for a race in this abbreviated Spring/Summer Meet at Churchill Downs. He had returned with 27 winners, 30 seconds and 15 thirds.

That gives Gaffalione a winning percentage of .21% — which is by far the highest rate of any rider that here that has a minimum of 40 rides so far.

That also gives Gaffalione a lofty .55% return with his horses “hitting the board,” by finishing either first, second or third. Of the top 25 riders here this meet, only Joel Rosario has a higher percentage than that, and he has ridden only 48 times.

And, now Gaffalione holds a commanding 7-win margin over long-time Churchill Downs’ favorite, Corey Lanerie, in the race to be the meet’s leading rider.

We think it is safe to say that Gaffalione has made the transition pretty smoothly, and pretty successfully.

Here’s a look at the Top 25 riders this meet:

1 Tyler Gaffalione 130 27 30 15 $1,496,879 21% 72 55%
2 Corey J. Lanerie 140 21 16 22 $1,025,537 15% 59 42%
3 Ricardo Santana, Jr. 105 16 10 15 $844,003 15% 41 39%
4 Florent Geroux 103 15 10 8 $750,899 15% 33 32%
5 Julien R. Leparoux 86 8 10 8 $619,093 9% 26 30%
6 Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. 102 10 10 16 $594,095 10% 36 35%
7 James Graham 97 13 7 13 $541,563 13% 33 34%
8 Joseph Talamo 115 9 15 15 $518,860 8% 39 34%
9 Jose L. Ortiz 58 7 5 10 $509,193 12% 22 38%
10 Joel Rosario 48 9 11 8 $503,703 19% 28 58%
11 John R. Velazquez 38 9 4 4 $468,806 24% 17 45%
12 Rafael Bejarano 86 11 6 9 $439,934 13% 26 30%
13 Martin Garcia 77 6 8 9 $435,527 8% 23 30%
14 Miguel Mena 69 9 5 5 $280,776 13% 19 28%
15 Shaun Bridgmohan 28 5 2 2 $270,667 18% 9 32%
16 Mitchell Murrill 58 5 5 3 $247,079 9% 13 22%
17 Adam Beschizza 53 2 6 7 $235,183 4% 15 28%
18 Colby J. Hernandez 36 4 8 1 $232,682 11% 13 36%
19 Gerardo Corrales 29 7 6 2 $221,071 24% 15 52%
20 Chris Landeros 41 3 3 3 $219,379 7% 9 22%
21 Javier Castellano 29 2 7 2 $209,312 7% 11 38%
22 David Cohen 50 6 6 1 $196,494 12% 13 26%
23 Tyler Baze 50 2 3 6 $147,580 4% 11 22%
24 Declan Cannon 46 1 2 5 $142,525 2% 8 17%
25 Joseph Rocco, Jr. 36 5 0 1 $127,030 14% 6 17%

(Statistics compiled by Equibase)