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Old 05-11-2022, 06:26 PM   #16
porchy44
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Sonny Leon

Other than the 1 race Derby sample at Churchill . I bet Turfway Park (owned by Churchill Downs), regularly last winter. Over a much larger sample of races, I think Sonny Leon was 6% Jockey there. Sonny Leon and Joe Talamo was underperforming so much I had to toss them before the race. Then two days later at Mahoning I would bet him. He didn't do well at Turfway. He is an outstanding Jockey in Ohio. But I can name 15 Jockeys who had a better meet at Turfway in Kentucky.

If he can beat the Ortiz brothers and Rosario in another leg of the Triple Crown, I'll start giving him extra "props".

Last edited by porchy44; 05-11-2022 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 05-11-2022, 06:37 PM   #17
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Other than the 1 race Derby sample at Churchill . I bet Turfway Park (owned by Churchill Downs), regularly last winter. Over a much larger sample of races, I think Sonny Leon was 6% Jockey there. Sonny Leon and Joe Talamo was underperforming so much I had to toss them before the race. Then two days later at Mahoning I would bet him. He didn't do well at Turfway. He is an outstanding Jockey in Ohio. But I can name 15 Jockeys who had a better meet at Turfway in Kentucky.

If he can beat the Ortiz brothers and Rosario in another leg of the Triple Crown, I'll start giving him extra "props".
I believe this. He's also apparently a careless rider- he's gotten suspended (and indeed, was on suspension on Derby day and only got to ride because the Derby was a "designated race").

But even a C-list rider can deliver a great ride in a particular situation. (Inded, that's kind of a theme of the "Terrific Rides" thread on this website.) Leon may make a lot of mistakes, but in the biggest moment of his life, he was perfect.
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Old 05-11-2022, 11:05 PM   #18
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IMO it's a matter of opportunity, timing and good fortune.

I think there are guys riding on smaller circuits that could shine in the big leagues. David Cabrera, Francisco Arrietta, Daniel Centeno, DeShawn Parker, Carol Cedeno, Rafael Hernandez and about a hundred more.

A good example is the exodus of riders from Northern Ca a few years back.

Abel Cedillo, Juan Hernandez, Ricky Gonzalez, Kyle Frey. All rode for many years at Golden Gate.

Came to the South and were suddenly Grade 1 riders.

IMO they were always good enough.

Announcers are like that too IMO.

People say who the greats are. And they are right.

However, if Trevor, Travis, Larry, Pete, Michael, Frank et al. all left. The guys at the smaller tracks would move in and suddenly everyone would say how great they are.

It's the races the top guys call that make for GREAT race calls.

Put Bill Downes, Jimmy McNerney, Matt Dinerman, Chris Griffin, Jim Beyers et al.

And now they are elite.

Opportunity, timing, good fortune.
Nice post Vic!
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Old 05-12-2022, 09:41 AM   #19
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I think one underrated thing that Leon did, that comes from experience, is the ground saving and patience in a 20 horse field.

The tendency, not only because you don't want to get blocked, but also because of just pure concern for one's own safety, is to want to stay outside. Wide trips can work in the Derby on favorites- I call it "the Cigar ride"- this was the ride we saw so many times from Jerry Bailey on Cigar where he would just keep the horse on the outside, traveling more ground but always in the clear, and because Cigar was much the best he would just make his move and win the race.

But when you are on a longshot, you need every advantage you can get, and that means saving ground, taking the risk of traffic, and steering your horse through trouble. We saw these rides from Shoemaker on Ferdinand, from Calvin Borel on Street Sense and Mine That Bird, and from Leon on Saturday. The worst thing you can do is park your longshot out in the 7 path where you lose all sorts of ground on the turns and finish up the track. You have to give him as best a shot you can to win the race.

Your comments are spot on!!!
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Old 05-12-2022, 10:15 AM   #20
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I think he just found his ticket out of Ohio. People need to realize that a lot of his mounts have been on low class, inconsistent horses.
His lack of success outside of Ohio notwithstanding, Leon, 32, has really come into his own at an age when lots of athletes from other sports would experience diminished skills.

Was it likely that a jock relegated to the Ohio circuit would blossom to the degree that Leon has? Of course not. But racing is a strange duck, and riding thoroughbreds a singularly unique profession.

On another note..I have to chuckle when Sonny is characterized as a "careless" rider. Trust me, when Leon pushes the envelope or even crosses a line, there is nothing thoughtless about it. He rides on the edge.

Btw, the bigs are INDEED blowing up his phone. Certain factions from Gulfstream park, in particular, have put on a full court press.

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Old 05-12-2022, 10:30 AM   #21
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On another note..I have to chuckle when Sonny is characterized as a "careless" rider. Trust me, when Leon pushes the envelope or even crosses a line, there is nothing thoughtless about it. He rides on the edge.
I think you misinterpret my use of the word "careless". I'm using it in the sense that it is used in a jockey's suspension notice, which usually cites the rider for "careless riding". I'm not making a value judgment about the way he rides- having not seen the rides that drew him suspensions, there would be no way for me to do that.
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Old 05-12-2022, 10:38 AM   #22
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The Yahoo news portal today is detailing his suspensions since this past fall:

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/kentuck...230142722.html
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Old 05-12-2022, 12:05 PM   #23
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Your comments are spot on!!!
Except he didn't save ground, so there's that. Only five horses covered more ground than Rich Strike, and it was only 4 to 17 feet according to Trakus. Epicenter covered 58 less feet and Zandon 71 less.

The horse ran and he didn't make a wrong decision and get stopped. I guess that's good but the deifying of this rider, not that he didn't ride fairly well given the post, is out of hand.

I remember when Stewart Elliot rode at Aqueduct the winter after Smarty Jones won the Derby. He got great mounts. He was awful. He won races because he rode the best horse frequently, but he was ( not surprisingly ) a subpar rider. The notion that OK riders at lesser tracks could be successful at the biggest circuits is nonsense. Part of it, fairly, is they wouldn't get the mounts, but much of it is talent, or lack thereof.
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Old 05-12-2022, 12:37 PM   #24
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Except he didn't save ground, so there's that. Only five horses covered more ground than Rich Strike, and it was only 4 to 17 feet according to Trakus. Epicenter covered 58 less feet and Zandon 71 less.

The horse ran and he didn't make a wrong decision and get stopped. I guess that's good but the deifying of this rider, not that he didn't ride fairly well given the post, is out of hand.

I remember when Stewart Elliot rode at Aqueduct the winter after Smarty Jones won the Derby. He got great mounts. He was awful. He won races because he rode the best horse frequently, but he was ( not surprisingly ) a subpar rider. The notion that OK riders at lesser tracks could be successful at the biggest circuits is nonsense. Part of it, fairly, is they wouldn't get the mounts, but much of it is talent, or lack thereof.
There has been some discussion in some other places I frequent about that Trakus number being grossly inaccurate. He was 2 wide on the entire first turn and moved between 4, 3, and 2 paths on the second turn. Obviously not the rail, but he never got parked out the way several other horses did.

Out in Southern California, we have a lot of experience with Trakus screwing things up- their timing system is a joke. The folks in Florida I know say the same thing. Watching replays >>> looking at Trakus numbers, if ground loss is a thing you care about.
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Old 05-12-2022, 02:40 PM   #25
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I imagine Leon will be given a number of better mounts at mid level tracks to see if he can graduate to that level. Turfway on better mounts can be a starting point since he has experience there. Connections are desperate to find underused talent. He won't be cheated.
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Old 05-12-2022, 04:45 PM   #26
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The notion that OK riders at lesser tracks could be successful at the biggest circuits is nonsense. Part of it, fairly, is they wouldn't get the mounts, but much of it is talent, or lack thereof.
Yeah, the cream rises to the top - there are many of us who've watched Kendrick Carmouche rise to the New York jockey colony, e.g.

He can hustle horses out of the gate at an elite level. We've seen it at lesser tracks.
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Old 05-12-2022, 07:30 PM   #27
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Except he didn't save ground, so there's that..
I've read this several times now, and I cannot figure out why a guy in Andy's position would think this post is a worthwhile contribution. I'm not an anti-tlg person, I think most of his input is sound, and I think he's good on TV. I just don't get this one; it seems small.
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Old 05-12-2022, 07:39 PM   #28
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I think you misinterpret my use of the word "careless". I'm using it in the sense that it is used in a jockey's suspension notice, which usually cites the rider for "careless riding". I'm not making a value judgment about the way he rides- having not seen the rides that drew him suspensions, there would be no way for me to do that.
Of course.
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Old 05-12-2022, 09:48 PM   #29
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I've read this several times now, and I cannot figure out why a guy in Andy's position would think this post is a worthwhile contribution. I'm not an anti-tlg person, I think most of his input is sound, and I think he's good on TV. I just don't get this one; it seems small.
Interjecting truth is bad now?

The only reason he wasn't caught extremely wide was that the wicked pace spread the field out. He rode the horse well, but circumstance made that much easier.

The snark, or pettiness, in this thread is the headline. Insulting Javy to try to be clever might be more worthy of your derision.
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Old 05-12-2022, 11:01 PM   #30
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OK. I'll buy that part of it. A lot of riders from wherever don't win a Derby. But I don't think there's much to be gained from speaking power to truth. I'm pretty sure Javier doesn't need you to stand up for him. It was a moment a lot of people are still enjoying. Don't piss on it.
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