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Jockey Dylan Davis continues to build off a stellar start to his 2019 campaign, entering Friday tied for second with 25 wins during the Belmont Park spring/summer meet.
Davis, who has amassed a 25-14-25 record in 157 mounts, is tied with Kendrick Carmouche, who are both eight wins behind leading rider Jose Lezcano. The success for the native of Manhasset, New York native comes off a winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack in which his 55 wins was third behind Junior Alvarado and Manny Franco.
From December 7 through April 4 at the Big A, Davis went 55-67-48 in 348 mounts, which were the second-most starts of any jockey, trailing only Franco's 369. He also made news when he rode Maven to a win on April 19, marking the first North American-winner sired by Triple Crown-winner American Pharoah.
Since the weather warmed and the action shifted to Long Island on April 26, Davis has enjoyed frequent trips to the winner's circle, including a pair of stakes wins with Pat On the Back in the Affirmed Success on Opening Day April 26, followed by a victory by a nose over Giant Expectations in the one-mile Commentator on May 27.
“I never expected to be up here in second, but we're working hard, so I appreciate all the owners and trainers for riding me and my agent, Mike Migliore, for helping me,” Davis said. “I'm excited to see what's to come. This year, the horses are running for me and putting me in a good position. We're looking to see where we can finish at the end of the meet. Some of the guys have settled in now every day, so we'll see what happens in the next month. But I'm doing better than last year, and I'm hoping my momentum carries me through Saratoga.”
The 24-year-old, who notched his 600th career victory as part of a four-win day on May 31, is coming off a 2018 in which he set personal bests in wins (142), starts (1,119) and earnings, totaling almost $9 million ($8,903,805). He also registered his first three graded stakes wins during the year, with Nootka Sound winning the Grade 3 Soaring Softly, Great Stuff capturing the Grade 3 Toboggan and Tale of Silence in the Grade 3 Westchester.
“I settled down in New York a few years back. I had been here and left, but I came back strong and put my hard work in; I think working in the mornings has been the key to where I am today,” Davis said. “Starting last year, I got more opportunities and more chances to ride the bigger races and I was able to get the job done. Last year was the biggest year for my career and it looks like it's going on a good path this year, so hopefully we go on strong and keep pushing.”
Early in 2018, Davis made history when he won six races on a single day – including five straight victories to start the card – at Aqueduct on February 18, 2018, tying a NYRA record. His effort, which made him the first NYRA rider to register six wins on a single card since Hall of Famer Javier Castellano in 2013, came just 14 days after he had won five races on a single day at Aqueduct.
Davis is part of a family who has made race-riding an integral part of their lives, with his father, Robbie, having recorded more than 3,300 wins in a career that started in 1981, and Dylan's sisters Jacqueline and Katie also frequent riders at tracks such as Penn National, Delaware Park, Suffolk Downs and Laurel Park, among others.
“For the winter time, the weather doesn't really bother me,” Davis said. “I was born and raised in New York and did a bit of traveling with my father. But being in New York during the winter time set a good base for me. These guys know I'm here and they know my riding abilities. Just knowing that I can get the job done, they put a lot of trust in me. Most of the trainers who ride me in the winter will give me more shots during the spring and summer because they know I'll be staying. This year at Aqueduct, I felt like I was winning more quality races. It's just winning in general that keeps you moving.”
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