Joel Rosario is 27 years old, one of the top jockeys in Southern California and across the country. So why the move to New York? Am I missing something?
So far in his career, which consistently started in 2006, Rosario has won over 1,300 races with earnings over $62,000,000. He’s been in the top 5 money earnings list each of the last 3 years:
2011: 4th with $15,600,000 in purse earnings
2010: 3rd with $15,800,000
2009: 5th with $13,000,000
2008: 20th with $8,000,000
2007: Out of top 50 with $3,300,000
2006: Out of top 200 with $413,000
Quite the jump from 2008 to 2009. Since then, he’s been an annual fixture atop the National jockey standings. In 2012, he currently sits in 6th with just over $6,000,000 in earnings. The Dominican Republic born jockey already has 90 career graded stakes races to his credit including eight this season (three Grade 1). His career highlights have been winning two Breeders’ Cup races; Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Dancing in Silks in 2009 and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) on Dakota Phone in 2010.
In my opinion, his arrival in New York will be a rocky one. Instead of being one of the top two jockeys in Southern California along with Rafael Bejarano, he goes to a place where the competition is fierce. He will have to contend with reigning Eclipse Award winner Ramon Dominguez, current U.S. leading rider Javier Castellano, two-time Eclipse Award winner (2004-2005) John Velasquez and New York newcomer Julien Leparoux.
So will the move to New York benefit him or will it affect his overall performance? To me, I don’t think this is a good move. He is leaving a place where he is already successful, rides for several of the top trainers and has won several of the top races the past few seasons. His only main threat in the big races has been Rafael Bejarano, which we can debate is the one comparable jockey on the circuit. In New York, he now has to compete with 4 extremely talented jockeys as well as a deep pool of veteran and new jockeys. Do he and his agent Ronnie Ebanks truly feel they can make an immediate impact?! They say Joel will get mounts with top trainers such as Todd Pletcher, Richard Dutrow, Wesley Ward and Michael Matz, but only time will tell. Those barns already use the services of the top jockeys mentioned above. Leading Southern California trainer Bob Baffert will bring some horses to Saratoga this summer, but that is only for a few weeks.
In Southern California, the jockeys must be celebrating this decision. One of the leading jockeys is departing from their circuit. This is music to the ears of fellow riders such as Joe Talamo, Martin Garcia, veteran rider Garrett Gomez and of course newcomer Mario Gutierrez. It will be a mad scramble for those Rosario mounts.
Joel Rosario is a great kid and I hope the best for him and his new endeavor. I just don’t think it’s a wise decision and he will eventually realize that he left a great situation in Southern California.