By Jim Freer
Friday, Oct. 2 — Edgard Zayas continued his comeback from an injury by riding four winners and Ralph Nicks clinched the summer meet trainer’s title on Friday at Gulfstream Park.
The summer meet will conclude on Saturday, with six stakes races including the third and final legs in the four divisions of the Florida Sire Stakes Series.
There will be mandatory full payouts on the Rainbow 6, Pick 5 and the Super High 5 on the 12th and final race. The Rainbow 6 will have a carryover of $11,328. It is likely that $100,000 or more will be bet on the Rainbow 6 on Saturday. It is a 20-cents only per combination bet on the last six races
Zayas (above photo) missed six weeks of the three-month summer meet after he broke his left collarbone in a spill on July 17. Friday’s wins gave him 32.for the meet. He is in fifth place.
Tyler Gaffalione, who has clinched the jockeys’ title, rode two winners–giving him 80 for the meet.
Zayas led jockeys in wins at last year’s Gulfstream summer meet and at last year’s Gulfstream Park West meet at Calder.
The GP West meet will begin this coming Wednesday and will have 40 race days through Nov.29. It likely will have an exciting jockeys’ race between Gaffalione and Zayas.
Gaffalione has a five-pound apprentice allowance for all races except stakes. Our research indicates he will lose his “bug” status after Oct. 10–the first anniversary of his fifth victory.
Some jockeys lose numerous mounts after they no longer have their apprentice allowance. But we are among those who expect that most trainers who are using the 21-year old Gaffalione will stay with him, based on the solid skills he has shown. He is a South Florida native and the son of retired jockey Steven Gaffalione.
One safe bet is that Nicks will continue to use Gaffalione as a go-to rider.
Nicks saddled one winner on Friday. He has 34 summer meet wins, and Antonio Sano is second with 29. Sano has three horses running Saturday and thus cannot catch Nicks who has six entrants on Saturday.
Gaffalione is scheduled to ride four of the six Nicks-trained horses.