• Most notable mover on Thoroughbred Racing Commentary’s exclusive global rankings
+16 Umberto Rispoli
There are those who consider former Italian champion Umberto Rispoli to be the foremost exponent of riding on turf currently in action in the Stateside ranks.
With eight winners over three days at Del Mar last weekend, the Italian expatriate leads Flavien Prat on the track’s leaderboard for the current meet.
Three of those successes came in graded company via Sneaking Out, highlight of a Rispoli four-timer on Friday’s card, and then Chaos Theory and Red King, who brought lustre to a treble on Saturday.
Unhappy with the pace, Rispoli moved Red King up to challenge four wide before claiming the G2 Del Mar Handicap – a ‘Win and You’re In’ race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Rispoli, who turns 32 on August 31, has now left his mark in several major racing jurisdictions. He won the title twice in Italy (2009 and 2010) as a young rider, setting a new national record of 245 victories on the first occasion, before five years in France and then Hong Kong, where he soon became a popular figure in a red-hot riding community.
A plethora of minor stakes have come his way since he moved to southern California, where recent exploits mean a huge 16pt bump that moves him into the top 100 (#85 from #134) on the global rankings. Surely he will rank higher in the coming weeks with further opportunities on the west coast, where he is rightly much in demand.
Interestingly, his three graded winners last week came from three different trainers, namely Jerry Hollendorfer, John Sadler and Phil d’Amato, suggesting Rispoli’s worth is being appreciated by the locals.
A G1 success is all that is lacking now since his move to the US. Though he has ridden G1 winners in France, Japan and Hong Kong, Rispoli hasn’t struck at the top level since 2015 at home in Italy.
With Rispoli and Prat going great guns, there is no shortage of European-based excellence in California at present. Monsieur Prat, for his part, rode seven winners over the three-day weekend, including the G2 Del Mar Mile on the redoubtable Mo Forza.
Prat, whose surname is a touch inappropriate, is #8 on the world list, behind only Joel Rosario and Irad Ortiz among US-based riders.
Even higher up the rankings scale, William Buick’s continued excellence mean he has moved into second place on the overall list (+3pt, #2 from #3) ahead of Japanese leader Christophe Lemaire. Both remain well adrift of top dog Frankie Dettori.
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