• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures
6 Luis Saez
USA: The 22nd edition of the annual Claiming Crown series was dominated by jockey Luis Saez on Saturday [Dec 5], who rode six winners on the 11-race card at Gulfstream Park.
Featuring a series of stakes restricted to horses who have run for various claiming tags, the annual event acts as a sort of blue-collar Breeders’ Cup for the horses who provide the backbone of the sport.
Among Saez’s victories was the $150,000 feature, the Claiming Crown Jewel, on Jesus’ Team, who is headed for the Pegasus World Cup over course and distance on January 23.
Saez, 28, is no stranger to multiple win days at Gulfstream, where he won seven races on two cards during the 2017-18 Championship Meet.
700 Ben Curtis
GB: Ben Curtis, the winningmost jockey in Britain in 2020, partnered his 700th winner in Britain aboard 25-1 shot Elakazaam at Wolverhampton’s evening meeting on Tuesday [Dec 1].
Curtis, 31, moved to Britain in 2014 from Ireland, where he is a former champion apprentice. He also rode a double at Southwell on Saturday to take his score to 170 for the year (and 702 in Britain overall).
Champion all-weather over the winter, Curtis finished fifth behind Oisin Murphy in the official jockeys’ title, which ran from June 1 until November 7.
20,377 Kendrick Carmouche
USA: After 20 years and 20,377 rides, jockey Kendrick Carmouche recorded his first G1 victory aboard True Timber in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Saturday [Dec 5].
“It’s my first Grade 1 – I owe it all to my fans, my wife and kids and how much they stuck with me and kept me pushing and fighting in this game,” said an emotional Carmouche, a 36-year-old native of Vinton, Louisiana.
“This means so much to me. This is the biggest win of my career and I hope I have many more blessed ones.”
A five-time leading rider at Parx, Carmouche achieved another first on Sunday [Dec 6] when he ended Aqueduct’s short winter meet as leading rider to secure his first New York riding title with 23 winners.
4,000 Shuji Akoaka
Japan: Shuji Akoaka, 43, became the 13th jockey to ride 4,000 winners on the NAR (National Association of Racing) circuit at Kochi racecourse on Nov 23. Akoaka holds the distinction of having partnered at least 200 winners for the 14 consecutive seasons (including 2020).
4,500 Turf Diario
Argentina: After 16 years, our friends at Turf Diario, the Argentina and South American racing digest, celebrated their 4,500th edition on Saturday [Dec 5].
• Visit the Turf Diario website