There was at least one person on Sunday who didn’t really want to see jockey Flavien Prat win the 10th race in Santa Anita.
It was his agent, Derek Lawson.
Prat had already won six races and another win would set the record for Laffit Pincay Jr. from seven to 14 March 1987.
Lawson may have breathed a sigh of relief when Prats Mountain, Winning Element, the 9-5 favorite, finished sixth in the nightcap.
“I am very happy that we got shy,” Lawson said during a telephone interview on Thursday. “First of all, it gives me a record to check, and he doesn’t have to be associated with Laffit Pincay at the age of 27. He needs to get a little older.
“I don’t have to have the pressure. There are certain records you want to set, and they weren’t there, not at this age right now.”
Lawson said he and Prat worked together a number of times to win four races on one card, and “I think we’ve had at least one or two fives.”
“We had never had six in a day, so that was the best thing we have ever done in one day,” said Lawson.
‘It was a great day. It was very fun. Once we won the first race (Querelle), I knew the Leonard Powell horse (Bud Knight in the fifth) was going to be big. I didn’t know Collusion Illusion would win (the sixth), but I knew he would run well.
“I was pretty sure with Bellafina (4-5 favorite in the Desert Stormer Stakes) she would win. Four out of six wins, I was confident. I had a feeling that we would win four races that day. Six is always a surprise, believe me. ‘
And Prat will race maybe four days this weekend in Santa Anita, including the $ 200,000 Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes on Saturday and a few $ 300,000 Grade I bets on Monday, the Shoemaker Mile and the Gamely.
“He’s having a good weekend,” said Lawson. “He could win more than ten races this weekend, but then again, let’s just take it one day at a time and see what happens. Things have to fall in the right way. There are days when we think we’re going to do some races and ultimately win nothing. ”
Of course, Prat took the biggest win of his career in last year’s Kentucky Derby and won by disqualification aboard the 65-1 longshot Country House. It was the second highest ranking of any Derby winner after Donerail (91-1) in 1913.
Lawson said he is still looking for a top 3-year-old for his client this year after the majority of their best 2-year-olds didn’t develop. It’s a crazy and wild Triple Crown series this year, however, with the Belmont Stakes going on June 20 and shortened to 1 1/8 miles, followed by the Kentucky Derby on September 5 and Preakness on October 3.
“It is so different now that the (Triple Crown) races are not being performed while they should be driven,” said Lawson. “It’s the Triple Crown, but they’re just racing right now. It’s not okay, one race (Belmont) is shortened, so it’s going to be three different races with bets. That’s how I’m going to look at it. I’m not going too I’m very concerned about the Triple Crown aspect of it. I’m just going to try to find a horse that can win a race and see what happens. ”
These are unprecedented times in Santa Anita due to the coronavirus pandemic, no spectators, no owners, jockeys who live on site all weekend, trainers saddling their horses in the receiving shed, and no winner’s circular ceremony.
As Lawson said, “You have to do what you have to do. It’s their race track, their rules and we just follow it. I really think it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but they are doing what they can to keep their racing company open and we just agree. ”
Prat will be on board United on Saturday for trainer Richard Mandella at the Whittingham Stakes and will also ride the Peter Miller-trained Texas Wedge in that day’s support role, the $ 100,000 Grade III Daytona Stakes.
On Monday, Prat will ride last year’s Preakness winner, War of Will, in the Shoemaker Mile.
“He was one of the best three-year-olds in America last year and he has proven that he loves grass,” Prat said of his shoemaker. “I think the distance will be very good for him.”
Born in Melun, France, Prat goes to Friday’s nine race card with a comfortable 55-42 lead over number two Abel Cedillo in the Santa Anita jockey standings.
Follow Art Wilson on Twitter at @ Sham73