The Disappointers: Breeders’ Cup Jockeys to Avoid at the Windows
Second in a series of stories on jockeys and their performances in the Breeders’ Cup, set for Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.
By Noel Michaels
Jockey Robby Albarado has just three career BC wins (photo via getmoresports.com).
Handicapping the Breeders’ Cup is a complex puzzle with so many variables. We must weigh factors such as speed, pace, trainers, current form, and much more, in order to come up with selections in every Breeders’ Cup race.
However, no matter how well a horse is prepared and how well the horse has been spotted, once the bell rings and the gates open, it’s just the horses and their jockeys who are ultimately responsible for the outcome — and whether or not you will cash your bets or tear up your tickets.
Some jockeys do better than others on the big stage. Is the jockey of the horse you are considering betting on experienced and a proven winner of Breeders’ Cup races? If not, perhaps it’s a reason to start looking elsewhere.
Here’s a look at some jockeys with disappointing Breeders’ Cup records:
For starters, check out Joe Talamo. He has been a Breeders’ Cup fail with a record of 1-for-38, with one second place. That’s 2-for-38 in the exacta. Not good.
Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza has had some high-profile mounts in recent years, including American Pharoah, but in the Breeders’ Cup he is 3-for-63.
Veteran jockey Robby Albarado just earned a high-profile win in the Preakness (G1) aboard filly Swiss Skydiver, who will be one of the more popular bets in either the Distaff or Classic. Albarado’s record says he can’t be counted on to deliver in the Breeders’ Cup based on his 3-for-42 record, win zero wins since 2011.
Among other riders not getting the job done at the Breeders’ Cup are Rafael Bejarano (5-for-86); and Julien Leparoux (7-for-82) but winless since 2016.
There will be a lot of attention on Luis Saez, who is 0-for-22 in Breeders’ Cup races but will have quite a few good chances this time. In addition to being aboard Maximum Security in the $6 million Classic, Saez also has the mounts on top contenders Leinster in the Turf Sprint, Essential Quality in the Juvenile, Simply Ravishing in the Juvenile Fillies, Mutasaabeq in the Juvenile Turf, and Valiance in the Distaff.
Finally, most handicappers put Jose Ortiz and Irad Ortiz Jr. on nearly equal footing in many aspects, as the brothers annually battle for Belmont and Saratoga riding titles and the Eclipse Award. However, the pair has been anything but equal in terms of the Breeders’ Cup.
Irad has already had big Breeders’ Cup success in his career, while Jose has been a BC disappointment with three wins from 50 starters, all in juvenile races (Oscar Performance in 2016 Juvenile Turf, Good Magic in 2017 Juvenile, and Structor in 2019 Juvenile Turf).
The Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland is Nov. 6-7.
Breeders’ Cup list of top purse-earning jockeys, and their records in BC races