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Oaklawn Preview Part 2 of 6: Ten Jockey’s to Watch for in 2017

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Ricardo Santana Jr.

Here is your four time Oaklawn riding champion! The young and talented jockey had done well in previous years at Oaklawn, but EXPLODED in 2013 and 2014 winning the racing title by an eye-popping twenty-four races in each of the two seasons. Two years ago the race got a little bit tighter, as Ramon Vazquez had an outstanding meet but Santana was still able to win 53-51. Last year it was another BLOWOUT for Santana winning over Vazquez 80-42. Once again he should have the power of top trainer Steve Asmussen on his side which is always a key ingredient to success. This is an up and coming super star who is only going to get better with age, and has proved now that he can win anywhere.

Ramon Vazquez

Another jockey that is a rising star in the game! Vazquez is connected with powerful owner Danny Caldwell which helped him have a spectacular 2015 and 2016 meet. He finished a very close second at Oaklawn in the jockey standings losing by just two races in 2015, and finished second again last year but the race was not as close as Santana exploded to 80 wins compared to Vazquez’s 42. He’ll once again ride first call for Caldwell, but look for him to pick up other mounts just like he did last season. If he can pick up enough he could end up winning the Oaklawn title for the first time in his young career.

Alex Canchari

After finishing outside the top 10 in both 2013 and 2014 Canchari finally broke through in 2015 winning 21 races and finishing in a tie for seventh in the jockey standings. However, he didn’t stop there as last year he won 36 races and finished a strong third in the standings. If he can land a few more mounts he’ll be set to move up the standings even more this year, however passing the top two will be ultra tough.

Channing Hill

The Dudes’ FAVORITE jockey! Hill is coming to Oaklawn off a huge 2016 year as he did plenty of winning all over the country. At Oaklawn in 2016 Hill enjoyed a fourth place finish in the jockey standings winning 33 of 180 races during the meet. The 33 victories in 2016 were three more than what he won in 2015 and 2014 combined at Oaklawn Park. Looking at these stats it’s obvious that he was very inspired by meeting The Dudes’ in late 2015 and calling us out for calling HIM out on Twitter! Good luck this year Channing!! We’ll be pulling for you!

Alex Birzer

Birzer had another solid Oaklawn meet in 2016, finishing fifth in the standings with 30 wins. Birzer is a jockey at Oaklawn that sometimes gets overlooked, but last year he got nearly 300 mounts to that shows you what the local horseman think about his abilities. Look for Birzer to get back to the winners circle more often this year as he comes into the 2017 somewhat flying under the radar, however he’s closing in quickly on 3,000 career wins and should accomplish the feet during the Oaklawn meet.

Luis Quinonez

Luis finished twelfth in last year’s Oaklawn standings, and continues to be a model of consistency each and every year. Quinonez brings an incredible amount of experience to Oaklawn, and rides for some of the top barns on the grounds year in and year out. He’s won the riding title multiple times here, and should have another solid year. Perhaps the most exciting thing for Quinonez is the return of Suddenbreakingnews who is trained by Donnie K Von Hemel who he rides first call for throughout the year.

Chris Landeros

Last year Landeros followed up a solid 2015 by finishing a solid ninth in the jockey standing as Oaklawn Park as he won 23 of 150 races. The majority of his wins came for leading trainer Chris Hartman, and one would think he’ll try to team up with him once again this year. His 23 wins in 2016 actually exceeded his win total from the year prior by one win. Expect continued improvement from Landeros during this meet.

Jon Court

He’s a staple of Oaklawn Park, and a real fan favorite among the local fans. Last year Court enjoyed outstanding success finishing sixth in the rider standings winning 29 of 206 races. He also won the Smarty Jones Stakes with Discreetness for his father in law Jinks Fires. Once again this year you’ll see him riding for Jinks as well as Hall of Fame trainer D Wayne Lukas. He is coming off a little bit of an injury this season so hopefully he’s healthy and ready to roll.

Marlon St. Julien

He’s the new shooter in the Oaklawn jockey ranks this year. After riding at Turfway Park for years, St. Julien will head to Oaklawn Park this winter to ride for Randy Morse and Ron Moquett. How many mounts he’ll get from those two remains to be seen, but he rode for them regularly at Churchill Downs in 2016. St. Julien brings several years of experience with him to Oaklawn, and should have a successful meeting.

Joe Rocco Jr.

Rocco Jr. invaded from the east two years, and the talented rider was a welcomed addition to the already tough jockey colony. He normally spent his winters at Gulfstream, where three years ago he finished fifteenth in the rider standings. Last year at Oaklawn he rode for notable trainers like Brad Cox, and picked up 18 wins in 183 starts. We’ll see if he can have continued success this year, and move up the standings.

Others to Watch For: Walter De La Cruz, Jareth Lovevberry, Geovanni Franco, Shane Laviolette, Calvin Borel, Isreal Ocampo, Glenn Corbett, Declan Cannon and Terry Thompson

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