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!
Veteran of the Week: Delaunay
The third time was the job for the veteran sprinter Delaunay, who finally won the Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows after finishing second in his two previous attempts. Now eight years old, Delaunay showed no signs of his age, seizing command of the early lead through fractions of :22.39 and :45.36 before pulling away in the homestretch to win by 5 1/4 lengths in the sharp time of 1:09.33. Not bad for an old racehorse!
Comeback of the Week: Salutos Amigos
He wasn’t gone for all that long–his last start came in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-II) at Meydan on March 28th–but Salutos Amigos returned to the races in spectacular fashion on Sunday in the $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth Park. Under a hand ride from jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Salutos Amigos unleashed a powerful rally to swallow up front-running Uptown Boy in the final furlong and win by 3 1/4 lengths, stopping the clock for six furlongs in a blazing 1:08.58. That time translated to an impressive Beyer speed figure of 107–what a comeback!
Upset of the Week: Crucero in the San Juan Capistrano
He had run just one week earlier, finishing second in an allowance race at Santa Anita. Two starts back, he had finished fifth in the Charles Whittingham Stakes (gr. II). But 23-1 shot Crucero proved perfectly suited to the marathon 1 3/4-mile distance of Sunday’s San Juan Capistrano Handicap, rallying to win by a determined neck over heavily-favored Going Somewhere in a thrilling performance. It seems the son of Admiral’s Cruise has found his niche as a stayer on turf!
Jockey of the Week: Javier Castellano
The two-time Eclipse award-winning jockey had another great weekend starting on Saturday, when he won both the Iowa Derby (gr. III) and Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III) in his two rides of the night at Prairie Meadows. Earlier in the day, he had won a claiming race at Belmont Park, and on Sunday, he added an allowance victory at Belmont aboard Matterhorn to his total, giving him four victories for the weekend, including a graded stakes double. Very impressive!