Gaffalione clinches 11th Churchill title with one day to go

Churchill Downs press release (Jetta Vaughns/Coady Photography photo of Gaffalione winning the G2 Golden Rod aboard Intricate for trainer Brendan Walsh)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023) – Tyler Gaffalione entered Sunday’s closing day of racing at Churchill Downs’ Fall Meet having already clinched his 11th leading rider title, securing 26 wins with one day of racing remaining at the 21-day stand.

          Gaffalione had an insurmountable lead over second place Luis Saez, who had 19 wins. He was followed by Florent Geroux and Edgar Morales who were tied at 12 wins.

          “I love it here in Kentucky,” Gaffalione said. “It’s a blessing with how successful we’ve been and I’m so thankful for everyone who’s helped me get to the place we are today.”

          Represented by Matt Muzikar, Gaffalione’s mounts have earned $2,675,696 in purse money. Some of his notable victories at the meet were aboard Intricate in the $400,000 Golden Rod (GII), Youalmosthadme in the $225,000 Fern Creek and Wicked Halo in the $300,000 Dream Supreme.

          Gaffalione will head south to ride at Gulfstream Park this winter.

          In the leading trainer race, Steve Asmussen began Sunday with a narrow 17-16 win lead over Brad Cox, with Asmussen having 12 horses entered and Cox with six.

          Rigney Racing made a three-win surge over the last three days of racing to tie with Gary and Mary West at six overall victories. Rigney had two horses entered Sunday while Gary and Mary West had one. The only two owners who could tie Gary and Mary West and Rigney Racing on Sunday were Godolphin and Steve Asmussen, both with entries in three races. 

DOWN THE STRETCH – Sunday’s Closing Day card had a first post of 1 p.m. and featured mandatory payouts in all wagers including the 20-cent Derby City 6 that had a pool of $33,346. … Live racing will return to Churchill Downs on Saturday, April 27 for the start of Kentucky Derby Week. Racing in the Bluegrass will shift to Turfway Park beginning Wednesday. Thank you to all the media outlets for your coverage throughout the year. … For more information about racing from Churchill Downs,

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.