Welcome to “The Weekend Accolades,” a weekly series in which we’ll look back on the previous week of racing and hand out a few informal awards to horses, trainers, jockeys, etc. that achieved notable feats in racing. Enjoy!
Jockey of the Week: Perry Wayne Ouzts
Perry Wayne Ouzts only won a single race over the weekend, but that race marked his 6,471st career victory, giving him sole possession of the 11th spot on the list of all-time winningest jockeys in U.S. and Canadian racing history. What an accomplishment!
The 60-year-old rider reached the milestone in exciting fashion. Riding a horse named Cobra’s Crown in a five-furlong claiming race at Belterra Park, Ouzts positioned his mount in fourth place as stablemates Causegood and Catalonia set strong fractions of :22.36 and :46.28. With an eighth of a mile to go, Cobra’s Crown still trailed the leaders by four lengths, but then unleashed a strong rally that carried to a thrilling 1 1/2 length triumph in the time of :59.77 seconds. Congratulations to Perry Wayne Ouzts!
Comeback of the Week: Beholder in the Adoration Stakes
Injuries and illness have limited Beholder to just three starts during the last year, but despite her interrupted campaigns, Beholder just keeps on winning. After missing last month’s Vanity Handicap (gr. I) due to illness, Beholder came back on Saturday with an impressive victory in the 8.5 furlong Adoration Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita. After tracking modest fractions of :23.51 and :47.04 set by My Monet, Beholder moved up to take command of the lead and responded gamely when challenged by the talented Warren’s Veneda, safely holding off her rival by 1 1/4 lengths while under a hand ride from jockey Gary Stevens. With this race under her belt, Beholder should be ready for an even better effort in her next start, which is expected to come in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) on August 1st at Del Mar. As long as she stays healthy, she looks poised to have a great season this year!
Upset of the Week: Academic in the Woodbine Oaks
Very few people expected Academic to be involved for the exotics, let only victory, in the Woodbine Oaks. After all, the daughter of Henny Hughes was sent off at odds of 66-1, the highest price in the ten-horse field. But with jockey Justin Stein in the saddle for trainer Reade Baker, Academic was able to secure a clear early lead while setting modest fractions of :23.63, :48.01, and 1:12.33. Taking advantage of the slow pace, Stein asked his filly for run entering the final three furlongs, and Academic unleashed a burst of acceleration that carried her to a 4 1/2-length lead passing the eighth pole. Odds-on favorite London Tower did her best to try and catch up, but Academic had too much left in the tank, and crossed the wire in front by 1 3/4 lengths while winning track-record time of 1:48.86. What a performance!
Veteran of the Week: Lady Jila
Talk about a remarkable mare! Lady Jila started her career in early 2010 as a claimer, but has slowly risen through the ranks to become a multiple stakes winner. Now eight years old, Lady Jila proved on Sunday that she’s still as good as ever by winning the six-furlong Molly Brown Stakes at Arapahoe Park by a head after a long stretch battle. Her final time of 1:10.25 was good enough for a Beyer of 82, and brought her career record to 20 wins from 48 starts, with earnings of $234,118. Now that’s a veteran!