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+13 Luis Saez
With a number of Breeders’ Cup preps high among them, Keeneland’s ‘Fall Stars Weekend’ was loaded to the gunwales with graded-stakes action.
One man who certainly claimed his share was jockey Luis Saez, who numbered three G1 victories – one each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, for three different trainers – among five graded successes at the Kentucky venue.
Having triumphed on runaway Alcibiades winner Simply Ravishing (trained by Kenny McPeek) on Friday, the Panamanian continued the good work on Godolphin’s Essential Quality (Brad Cox) in the Breeders’ Futurity and then capping the weekend on Valiance (Todd Pletcher) in Sunday’s Spinster Stakes.
With a 13pt boost, Saez moves into the upper reaches of the World Top 30 (#23 from #32). Best known for his association with the controversial Maximum Security, the 28-year-old is currently third to US leader Irad Ortiz in the national prize-money charts and second in races won (216).
Simply Ravishing’s trainer Kenny McPeek (+7pt, #62 from #76) had a spectacular weekend with his fillies as he also saddled Swiss Skydiver to beat her male counterparts in a memorable Preakness.
Higher up the trainers’ list, McPeek’s US colleague Brad Cox (+7pt, #5 from #6) makes the Top 5 while New Zealand’s finest Jamie Richards (+13pt, #9 from #12) re-enters the Top 10 after a Saturday G1 double straddling the Tasman Sea with Melody Belle and Probabeel.
France’s rising star Francis-Henri Graffard (+9pt, #35 From #48) also gets a nice bump after a fine Arc weekend with Group wins for Wooded and The Revenant offering compensation for In Swoop’s narrow defeat in the main event.
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