By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: It wasn’t that long ago when Amadeo Perez and Enrique Gonzalez were doing their own version of Mexico’s national dance – the Jarabe Tapito – as a racing season was nearing its conclusion at Hastings Racecourse.
The year was 2013 and it appeared Perez was well on his way to winning a second consecutive Leading Jockey title with 54 trips to the winner’s circle and just seven race dates left on the calendar.
Then suddenly Gonzalez got hot. Really hot.
Over the final four days of the meet he won 12 times to finish with 59 wins, two more than Perez. They were actually tied for the lead with 57 heading into the final day on October 14 when Perez was skunked while Gonzalez won a pair, including the 35th running of the Fantasy for two-year-old fillies. It would be Enrique’s sixth stakes victory of the year.
Perez bounced back to be Hastings’ leading rider again in 2014 and now he and Gonzalez are engaged in another Mexican Hat Dance as this 2018 campaign heads into its stretch run with just 10 racing dates remaining on the schedule.
With three wins on BC Derby Day including the S.W. Randall Plate, Gonzalez is tied with Perez for the lead, deadlocked with 42 on the season.
Unless there is a theatrical finish like Enrique staged in 2013, it would seem a safe assumption that Gonzalez and Perez will be engaged in another run to the wire for this year’s leading jockey honors.
Aaron Gryder (32), Antonio Reyes (28), Denis Araujo (26) and Richard Hamel (24) have all chalked up respectable numbers, but the stage is set for another Gonzalez/Perez standoff.