World record holder Jorge Ricardo tests positive for Covid-19

Jorge Ricardo at La Gavea in February 2020. Photo: Sylvio Rondinelli/Jockey Club Brasileiro

By Nicholas Godfrey

Brazil: Jorge Ricardo, the all-time world record holder in career victories, is among a large group of jockeys in Rio de Janeiro to have tested positive for Covid-19.

The extraordinary rider known affectionately as Ricardinho, whose career total now stands at an amazing 13,078 winners, has been stood down for a mandatory 14-day period.

Ricardo, 59, revealed the news on his Twitter feed before speaking to the Turf Diario website. “I’m good,” he said. “Luckily I don’t have any serious symptoms at the moment.

“I lost my sense of smell but overall I feel fine,” he added. “The analyses carried out by my doctor indicated that I barely had contact with the virus and that my body was fighting it well. I’m looking forward to taking a new test next week.”

All-time top ten (as at April 22, 2021)

1 Jorge Ricardo* 13,078
2 Russell Baze 12,844
Pablo Falero 9,580
Laffit Pincay 9,530
Bill Shoemaker 8,833
Pat Day 8,803
Edgar Prado 7,397
8 David Gall 7,396
9 Fumio Matoba* 7,337
10 Perry Ouzts* 7,155
*still active

After more than 14 years in Buenos Aires, Ricardo is now back riding permanently at his hometown racetrack, the Hipodromo da Gavea in Rio, where in September 2020 he became the first rider to reach the 13,000-winner mark.

Ricardo won his first jockeys’ championship in Brazil in 1982 – and retained the title every season afterwards until he moved permanently to Argentina in June 2006.

Ricardo’s best season was 1992/93 when posted an incredible 477 winners; he reached the 400-mark on five occasions altogether. He won the title 26 years in a row, often riding more than 400 winners in a season, a multitude of G1s among them. He has won the continental championship, the Gran Premio Latinoamericano, five times.

Horse Racing Jorge Ricardo
Jorge Ricardo after 13,000th winner on Glorioso Negra at Gavea. Photo: Sylvio Rondinelli/Jockey Club Brasileiro

He has 75 winners to his name this season, when he is fourth in the jockeys’ title race behind Bruno Queiroz on 118.

The other Gavea-based riders reported to have tested positive are Marcelo Goncalves, Marcelo Soares, Leandro Henrique, Leandro Chimenes, Matheus Aguiar, Alexander Duarte, Henderson Fernandes, Alex Mota, Claudinei Farias and Francisco Chaves.

All jockeys due to ride at Saturday’s meeting at the famous track in the shadow of the Corcovado statue of Christ the Redeemer will have to provide evidence of a negative Covid test.

• Visit the Turf Diario website and the Jockey Club Brasileiro website

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