Sunday at Santa Anita Park saw Flavien Prat experience what few jockeys ever get to savor in their riding careers — the joy of six trips to the winner’s circle. Prat won six of Santa Anita’s first nine races on Sunday’s card, a rare feat that vaulted him into rarefied air among the celebrated racetrack’s most storied jockeys.
Only Laffit Pincay Jr., who won seven races on March 14, 1987, rode more winners in one day at Santa Anita than Prat did Sunday. After winning the ninth race aboard Harper’s Gallop, Prat had the chance to tie Pincay aboard 9/5 favorite Winning Element in the 10th. Unfortunately for Prat, Winning Element ran away from his name and finished a distant sixth.
Pincay Remains The Winner’s Circle Standard
Regardless, Prat and his 66% win percentage Sunday (6-for-9) joined some elite company. Since Santa Anita’s Christmas Day 1934 opening, only nine jockeys captured at least six races in one day before Sunday. Aside from Pincay’s seven-win day, he won six twice (1973 and 1981). So did Sandy Hawley (twice in 1976) and Darrell McHargue (1978 and 1979).
Six jockeys turned the trick once: the iconic Bill Shoemaker, who became the first when he did it in 1962, Steve Valdez (1973), Patrick Valenzuela (1978), Martin Pedroza (1992), Corey Nakatani (2000), and Rafael Bejarano (2006). Prat now makes 10.
“That’s quite an amazing group of riders,” Prat told Santa Anita’s Mike Willman. “It was one of those days when everything you do is right. It’s so good to be back racing here and I rode good horses all weekend.”
Prat’s Skill Meshed Perfectly With His Mounts’ Talents
Prat won his first race Sunday aboard Querelle ($10). At 4/1, Querelle was the longest-odds horse he rode all day. Prat followed that by winning the fourth on Noor Khan ($7.60), the fifth on Bud Knight ($4.80), the sixth on Collusion Illusion ($7.40), the eighth on 4/5 favorite Bellafina ($3.60) in the Grade 3 $100,000 Desert Stormer Stakes, and the ninth on Harper’s Gallop ($8).
Betting $2 on all six of Prat’s winners would have turned $16 into $41.40.
Started a new quarantine life tradition by putting @santaanitapark win stickers on the Jockey’s Star Waggons door. Prat is decorating quickly by racking up 10 wins already including 6 today. Fun week of racing and it just gets better over the next few weeks. pic.twitter.com/8qpZbay0Mu
— Nate Newby (@nnewby) May 18, 2020
Prat’s six-pack Sunday gave him a 13-win lead over Abel Cedillo in Santa Anita’s current jockey standings. He has 55 victories in 44 racing days heading into a busy Memorial Day weekend card.
Prat’s consistency over his career makes finding a breakout season hard, but 2020 is looking like it could be that season. The French rider is hitting the board nearly 60% of the time this season, winning 25% of his races (59-for-239).
2019 Featured Winning a Rare Daily Double
Prat’s best season in terms of earnings was last year when his mounts earned $19,693,267. That included his Kentucky Derby victory aboard Country House and his Queen’s Plate win aboard One Bad Boy. Prat became the first jockey in 21 years to win the Derby and the Queen’s Plate — the first legs of the US and Canadian Triple Crowns, respectively — in the same year.
His best season in terms of victories came in 2018 when he won 182 races. Over his career, Prat won 20% of his races (836-for-4,234), earning more than $66.5 million.