Graham Extends Lead Atop the Fair Grounds’ Jockey Standings

(James Graham continues to hold the lead in the current Jockey Standings at the Fair Grounds / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

James Graham is a tough rider. Ask anyone, anywhere. He can ride on the lead. He can encourage one from off the pace. He can excel on the grass course. He wins more than his share on the dirt. All the while, he never gives an inch to another, and asks a mile of his mounts.

And, this year’s meet at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans is a prime example of the man’s ability and tenacity. Although he may not be the most recognizable and familiar name in the rider colony at the Fair Grounds or across the country, Graham has been making a bigger name for himself and his clients this winter in the “Big Easy.”

From Day 1 of this meet, Graham has been on a lot of horses. And, he has been on a roll, too. After Sunday’s races were concluded, he had 230 mounts and had 39 trips to the winner’s circle to extend his ride just a bit farther and longer. In addition, Graham has been about to tally 45 seconds and 27 thirds, as well.

For this efforts, Graham’s horses have now won over $1.2 million in purses this meet. That puts him about $300,000 more than any other rider at the meet.

Holding down the second spot is Adam Beschizza, who has a record of 36-20-39 in 231 rides so far. His horses have earned $957,350 in purse money.

Six wins farther back, in third, is Shaun Bridgmohan, who has posted 30 wins, 17 seconds and 11 thirds in just 132 mounts. His horses have posted $905,164 in purse money earned.

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

1James Graham230394527$1,209,58017%11148%
2Adam Beschizza231362039$957,35016%9541%
3Shaun Bridgmohan132301711$905,16523%5844%
4Corey J. Lanerie143242115$898,03117%6042%
5Mitchell Murrill235293134$857,95812%9440%
6Colby J. Hernandez220273336$845,05012%9644%
7Florent Geroux106232213$827,82722%5855%
8Marcelino Pedroza189202418$600,55011%6233%
9Gabriel Saez142131622$542,2889%5136%
10Ricardo Santana, Jr.85161610$535,66019%4249%
11Joe Bravo7314149$496,74019%3751%
12Miguel Mena145141612$425,14010%4229%
13Jack Gilligan165102119$386,6956%5030%
14Ty Kennedy130131712$385,91010%4232%
15Chantal Sutherland11612714$227,07110%3328%
16Sophie Doyle7111611$218,88015%2839%
17Edgar Morales76975$218,46012%2128%
18Aubrie Green1297814$201,1605%2922%
19Joseph Rocco, Jr.40525$197,57013%1230%
20Jose Valdivia, Jr.795514$194,3706%2430%
21Declan Carroll9551011$182,3805%2627%
22Tyler Gaffalione4211$177,10050%4100%
23Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.8301$174,86038%450%
24Ezequiel Lara1093910$129,9303%2220%
25Channing Hill10211$93,17020%440%

(Data Courtesy of Equibase)

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • 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 ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean