(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:
|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%|
|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%|
|9||Jose L. Ortiz||58||7||5||10||$509,193||12%||22||38%|
|11||John R. Velazquez||38||9||4||4||$468,806||24%||17||45%|
|18||Colby J. Hernandez||36||4||8||1||$232,682||11%||13||36%|
|25||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||36||5||0||1||$127,030||14%||6||17%|
(Statistics compiled by Equibase)