Graham Extends His Lead in the Race for the Fair Grounds’ Rider’s Title

12/8/2018. – Brittlyn Stable’s Magic Vow with James Graham aboard wins the 28th running of the Louisiana Champions Day Turf. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

On Monday, the Fair Grounds added a day of live racing to its’ schedule and promoted it as a “Fun Day Monday” special event card.

But for James Graham?

The leading rider so far this meet?

Well, his “Fun Day” came on Sunday.

The veteran rider guided home five winners on Sunday. Five separate trips to the winner’s circle. Five times to slap hands and wave to the crowd. Five victories to add to his impressive statistics.

Now, going into this week’s action — which will resume on Thursday — Graham has inched ahead to a 7-win lead over second-place rider Adam Beschizza. So far this meet, Graham has cracked home 46 winners in 259 mounts. He has added another 49 seconds and 29 thirds. And, his horses have now earned over $1.313 million in purses.

That gives him some breathing room over his nearest competition and good friend, Beschizza. “The Biscuit” has 39 wins, 24 seconds and 44 thirds in 255 rides so far this meet, and his horses have won over $1.043 million.

Tied for third in the rankings are Colby J. Hernandez and Shaun Bridgmohan, who both have tallied 34 wins this meet.

Here’s a look at the Top 25 riders:

1James Graham259464929$1,313,13018%12448%
2Adam Beschizza255392444$1,043,45015%10742%
3Colby J. Hernandez253343942$1,013,71013%11545%
4Shaun Bridgmohan140341712$973,37524%6345%
5Corey J. Lanerie154262317$952,04117%6643%
6Mitchell Murrill267323442$940,66812%10840%
7Florent Geroux116232413$843,92720%6052%
8Marcelino Pedroza220222822$657,05010%7233%
9Gabriel Saez160161922$626,75810%5736%
10Ricardo Santana, Jr.85161610$535,66019%4249%
11Joe Bravo7314149$496,74019%3751%
12Miguel Mena168161916$465,22010%5130%
13Jack Gilligan189142223$459,2057%5931%
14Ty Kennedy152161912$458,35011%4731%
15Chantal Sutherland13615816$285,00111%3929%
16Sophie Doyle8111813$238,70014%3240%
17Edgar Morales76975$218,46012%2128%
18Aubrie Green1418914$214,8306%3122%
19Joseph Rocco, Jr.57537$211,7809%1526%
20Declan Carroll11251311$201,5504%2926%
21Jose Valdivia, Jr.795514$194,3706%2430%
22Tyler Gaffalione4211$177,10050%4100%
23Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.8301$174,86038%450%
24Ezequiel Lara1093910$129,9303%2220%
25Channing Hill10211$93,17020%440%

(Stats Courtesy of Equibase)

I was absolutely dancing into the Winner’s Circle. It was so exciting and Joel has been like one of my kids ever since he came from Bay Meadows. We tease each other a lot. We greet each other by grunting and everybody looks at us like, ‘what’s that all about’ but we’ve been doing it for years. So it’s wonderful to win with him. The owners are great people that really deserve something like this.

“This horse seems like he’s more adept at seven furlongs to a mile so I’m not sure he wants a mile and a quarter …

“I could tell my horse had won, but I was so excited in the stretch I thought I was gonna pass out.

“We are very happy with the way our horse had trained for this race, but it’s always scary when you get a look at those Baffert ‘Maseratis’, it pretty much unfolded the way we had hoped.

“The people that own this horse, they’ve got this colt a seven furlong-miler type maybe time will tell differently, but the other colt they are focusing on him going the two turns.”

  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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