Gaffalione Leads Gulfstream Jockey Race; Zayas Out With Broken Collarbone

Jockey Edgard Zayas

Jockey Edgard Zayas

By Jim Freer

Tuesday, July 21 — Through Sunday’s races the familiar names Tyler Gaffalione, Eddie Castro and Edgard Zayas are in a tight battle in the  jockey standings at Gulfstream Park’s  summer meet.

After 12 race days the win  count is Gaffalione (photo above) 13,  Castro 12 and  Zayas 11.  Jose Caraballo and Harry Hernandez are tied for fourth with nine wins each.

All but Zayas will resume that  rivalry Thursday,  Gulfstream’s  first day with its new later post time of 1:15 p.m.   Gaffalione has eight  mounts and Castro has  six  mounts on the nine-race card

Zayas will be sidelined for the next four to six weeks with a broken  collarbone he suffered when tossed from his mount Lloyd Harbor in Friday’s ninth race  at Gulfstream. That will undoubtedly take him out of the competition for most wins in the meet that began July 1 and  will  run through  Oct. 3.  He was the leading rider at last year’s Gulfstream summer meet.

Zayas’s absence this summer could make it hard for Castro or any of the others to catch Gaffalione, the 20-year-old apprentice jockey who is this year’s rising star at Gulfstream.

Gaffalione won the riders’ title for this year’s Gulfstream  spring meet. He had 69 wins, followed by Castro  with  47 and Zayas with 37. Zayas  missed five weeks of that three-month meet with  a broken right hand.

Our research indicates that  Gaffalione will retain his five-pound apprentice allowance in non-stakes races through Oct. 10–the first anniversary of his fifth career win, That  will  be the fourth day of  the 40-day Gulfstream Park West meet that Gulfstream is holding at Calder Casino & Race Course. Zayas led jockeys in wins at last  year’s Gulfstream Park West meet.

Based on Gaffalione’s steady success and his already-established work ethic, it is likely that many of  South Florida’s top year-round trainers and owners will   continue to  use  him after he loses his five-pound bug.

Ralph Nicks, Peter Walder, Jose Garoffalo and Joe Orseno are among the trainers for whom Gaffalione will ride on Thursday. Gaffalione is  a native of Broward  County and is the son of  retired jockey Steve Gaffalione.

Nicks leads summer meet trainers with six wins through Sunday.  Stan Gold, Gustavo Delgado and Wesley Ward have  five wins each  and are tied for second place,  Gold leads in earnings with $272,105 and Nicks is second with $238,200.

Jacks or Better Farm leads owners with five wins and $272,105.  Jacks or  Better’s  numbers are  the same as those for Gold because it uses him as its only trainer in  South Florida  and Gold has trained exclusively for Jacks  or Better since 2006.  Jacks or Better  is in Ocala and is owned  and operated  by  Fred and  Jane Biei.

Luis Duco and Moshe Mark are tied for second  among  owners  with three wins each.   Frank Carl Calabrese has two wins.  He led Gulfstream owners  in wins at last year’s summer meet and at this year’s spring meet.

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