Through June 29th of the Woodbine meet, some 39 jockeys have made double digit starts. It must make for a crowded jocks room on the weekend when there are full fields for all ten races. Granted, there is a top ten of sorts as 10 of the 39 jockeys are making the vast majority of the starts ranging from 164 to 321 starts each. With such a deluge of talent at handicapper's disposal, it begs the question - What do we know about our local jockey colony?
Woodbine's Leading Jockey Patrick Husbands
One thing we know for certain is that Patrick Husbands is a stats monster. Through 321 starts, Husbands is 19 wins ahead of his closest rival, Chantal Sutherland, and maintains the top In The Money Percentage (ITM%), 53.3, of those riding regularly at Woodbine. Young Tyler Pizarro is making a name for himself with 37 wins placing him one win ahead of Queen's Plate winner Eurico Rosa Da Silva. Best of all, Pizarro is accomplishing all this with fewer mounts than his veteran counterparts. Jim McAleney is making the most of his 208 starts with 40 wins thus far in 2009.
TOP JOCKS BY STARTS
1. Patrick Husbands (321 Starts, 68 Wins)
2. Chantal Sutherland (310 Starts, 47 Wins)
3. Emma-Jayne Wilson (282 Starts, 32 Wins)
4. Emile Ramsammy (270 Starts, 41 Wins)
5. Eurico Rosa Da Silva (249 Starts, 36 Wins)
6. Justin Stein (237 Starts, 18 Wins)
7. Tyler Pizarro (226 Starts, 37 Wins)
8. Jim McAleney (208 Starts, 40 Wins)
9. Gerry Olguin (186 Starts, 11 Wins)
10. Jono Jones (164 Starts, 13 Wins)
While the above listed riders take the majority of the starts, there is a secondary group of jockeys performing regularly and WINNING. I wonder how many Woodbine regulars would correctly guess that Luis Contreras is maintaining a 52.9 ITM% while riding almost exclusively for the Steve Asmussen stable. With 16 wins in 87 starts, Contreras is one of the best kept secrets at Woodbine. Wiley veteran Richard Dos Ramos has carved out twelve wins in 109 starts hitting the board 31.2% of the time and should you manage to find Dos Ramos on the turf his stats elevate to a 53.8 ITM% success rate.
Double Digit Wins in Minimal Starts
Luis Contreras (87 Starts, 16 Wins)
Richard Dos Ramos (109 Starts, 12 Wins)
Constant Montpelier (128 Starts, 11 Wins)
Rob Landry (123 Starts, 10 Wins)
Steve Bahen (156 Starts, 10 Wins)
David Garcia (119 Starts, 10 Wins)
Chantal Sutherland continues to chase for the jockey's title
A third tier group could be comprised of situational riders such as leading Fort Erie jockeys Rui Pimentel and Melanie Pinto who ship in to Woodbine with varying degrees of success along with local vets who pick their spots. Journeyman Rocket Ray Sabourin has five wins in just 48 starts but is collecting at a 31.2% clip. Kentucky Derby winning jockey Stewart Elliott has six starts at Woodbine winning twice and most impressively in the money at a 66% clip thanks to Oaks winning filly Milwaukee Appeal. Of this group, the Fort Erie based Pimentel and Roderick Da Costa are ones to watch as they find the tote board 40% of the time and do not garner the wagering attention of a Patrick Husbands. It's something to think about the next time you draw a line through Pimentel or Da Costa on your program.
Selective Vets and Ship-In Specialists
Todd Kabel (48 Starts 7 Wins, 27.1 ITM%)
Ray Sabourin (48 Starts, 5 Wins, 31.2 ITM%)
Jerry Baird (43 Starts, 2 Wins, 27.9 ITM%)
Melanie Pinto (37 Starts, 3 Wins, 13.5 ITM%)
Rui Pimentel (10 Starts, 1 Win, 40 ITM%)
Roderick Da Costa (12 Starts, 2 Wins, 41.7 ITM%)
Stewart Elliott (6 Starts, 2 Wins, 66.7 ITM%)
This myriad of choices got me to thinking about stereotypes. What do we assume we know about Woodbine jockeys? Here's a few stereotypes I've heard around the track:
* Patrick Husbands is not a turf jockey
WRONG - Husbands is the LEADING turf jockey with six wins from 37 mounts and a consistent 56.8 ITM%. On the MAIN TRACK, Husbands has a 52.8 ITM% which means you have a better chance with Husbands when he's on the grass. Granted, he does have some 250 additional starts on the poly which skews the stats.
* Jono Jones is the best Woodbine turf jockey
Jones has 3 wins in 29 starts on the turf collecting 41.4% of the time. Statistically speaking, it is safe to say that Jones is a better rider on the turf when you compare his turf numbers to his 27.4 ITM% figures on the poly, but Husbands (6), Sutherland (5) Da Silva (4) and Ramsammy (4) all have more turf wins. Regardless, I hear enough horsemen rate Jones' skills that I cannot help but ignore the stats. Plus it's hard to discount the opinion of veteran trainer Roger Attfield who uses Jones almost exclusively.
* Emile Ramsammy is at his best in sprints
WRONG - While Ramsammy is certainly an effective jockey, the stats say that the journeyman has a 51.7ITM% in distance races compared to a 37.6ITM% in sprints. Husbands is the leading sprint jockey with a 21.8 Win%, and I was surprised to find that Tyler Pizarro is next best with a 19.6 Win%. You might be interested to know that Jim McAleney is an efficient 10 for 43 in distance races to lead all the Woodbine jocks with a 23.3 Win%.
Benjamin Disraeli, the 19th Cetury British Prime Minister, is famously quoted as saying, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Wise words and ones I think we can all agree apply when it comes to handicapping. Patrick Husbands is a great jockey but he also gets a lot of live mounts. If a rider was in the money more than 70% of the time after 60 starts, it would make me think twice about how I wager. Until that trend appears, I will continue to use jockey statistics as just one more of the many reference tools at my disposal.
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