The Golden State’s Finest Jockey, Flavien Prat, Sets Sights on New Horizons

Flavien Prat, Leading California jockey, to Ride on the East Coast

Renowned jockey Flavien Prat, who has dominated the Southern California riding titles for several years, recently made a surprising announcement. Prat revealed his intention to leave California and venture to the East Coast, starting next month. This unexpected move is aimed at pursuing lucrative races in Kentucky and New York, with Prat eyeing the opportunity to claim the coveted Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey.

The Decision to Shift Focus to the East Coast

The news of Flavien Prat’s relocation was first reported by the Daily Racing Form. The accomplished rider plans to spend the upcoming Keeneland spring meet in Kentucky before heading to New York for the remainder of the year. By transitioning to the Eastern circuit, Prat hopes to increase his chances of securing the prestigious Eclipse Award, which he narrowly missed out on in 2021 to Joel Rosario.

Reflecting on his decision, Prat expressed, “It feels like if you want to give yourself a chance to get an Eclipse Award, you need to go to New York. That’s just the way it is. I never thought I’d leave here, to be honest.”

Prat’s Remarkable Success in Southern California

The departure of Flavien Prat might not be mourned by his fellow jockeys in Southern California, as he has been virtually unstoppable in recent seasons. Impressive performances, including triumphs in two of Santa Anita’s three Grade 1 races and a Grade 2 victory last Saturday, have solidified Prat’s position at the top.

The ongoing winter/spring meet has witnessed Prat amassing a commanding lead over his closest rival, Juan Hernandez, with a substantial difference of 60 wins to 35. Boasting a blazing win rate of 33%, which surpasses the commendable 20% threshold for riders, Prat has consistently outperformed the competition. In fact, he has exceeded a 20% win rate every year since 2017, achieving a remarkable 27% in the previous season.

A testament to Prat’s prowess is his exceptional ability to place his mounts, as they hit the board an astounding 69.1% of the time.

Superb Stakes Victories and International Success

Last Saturday, on one of Santa Anita’s most highly anticipated race days, Flavien Prat rode to victory in three prominent stakes races, including the Grade 1 Beholder Mile aboard As Time Goes By and the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile aboard Count Again. Notably, he also secured a Grade 2 win in the San Carlos Stakes aboard Cezanne. These triumphs mark Prat’s ninth graded stakes score of the season at Santa Anita.

With a string of impressive accomplishments, Prat has gained the privilege of selectively choosing high-profile races outside of California. Last year, he participated in the Saudi Cup held in Saudi Arabia, earning a noteworthy runner-up finish aboard Country Grammer. Additionally, Prat steered Rombauer to victory in the 2020 Preakness Stakes, while clinching runner-up positions in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes astride Hot Rod Charlie. A victory in the Belmont Stakes would complete Prat’s remarkable Triple Crown of riding career achievements, following his controversial win via disqualification aboard Country House in the 2019 Derby.

Transitioning to the Competitive East Coast Colony

As Flavien Prat takes on the challenge of riding on the East Coast, he will be entering the nation’s most competitive jockey colony. Facing formidable opponents such as Joel Rosario, current Eclipse Award winners Irad Ortiz Jr. and Jose Ortiz, as well as accomplished jockeys like Luis Saez and John Velazquez, Prat understands that maintaining his dominance won’t come easy in this highly competitive environment.

By relocating to New York, Prat will have the opportunity to collaborate with esteemed trainers like Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher. He will also continue to ride for renowned trainer Bob Baffert whenever the latter ships his horses to the East Coast. Prat’s partnership with the accomplished Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who tapped the jockey to ride Country House in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, further exemplifies his reputable connections.

Umberto Rispoli’s Departure from California

Flavien Prat’s decision to switch coasts follows Umberto Rispoli’s earlier announcement that he too would be leaving Southern California for New York in April. Rispoli, a highly regarded turf rider known as one of the best in the country, currently ranks seventh among Santa Anita riders. During Del Mar’s 2020 Summer Meet, Rispoli almost secured the riding title, falling just one victory short of Prat’s remarkable 50 wins.

Last year, Rispoli impressively won 94 out of his 130 races on grass, achieving an impressive win percentage of 21%. Overall, he maintained a strong 19% win rate throughout 2021.

Rispoli, who hails from Naples, Italy, began riding full time in the United States in 2019. With his move to the East Coast, he aims to further establish his reputation as one of the premier turf riders in the nation.


The departure of Flavien Prat, the dominant jockey of Southern California, has caught the racing world by surprise. As Prat sets his sights on the East Coast, he seeks to broaden his horizons and compete in lucrative races in Kentucky and New York. With a remarkable track record and undeniable skills, Prat’s relocation signifies his determination to claim the prestigious Eclipse Award. However, he will face fierce competition in the highly competitive jockey colony on the East Coast, where top riders consistently vie for supremacy.


1. Will Flavien Prat’s move to the East Coast affect his performance?

While Flavien Prat has enjoyed tremendous success in Southern California, transitioning to the East Coast presents a new set of challenges. Competing in a highly competitive jockey colony, Prat will need to adapt to the different tracks, riding styles, and formidable opponents. It remains to be seen how effectively he will navigate this transition.

2. How will Flavien Prat’s departure impact the Southern California racing scene?

Flavien Prat’s absence will undoubtedly leave a void in the Southern California racing circuit. As the reigning champion jockey, his departure not only means a loss of top-tier talent but also creates an opportunity for emerging jockeys to rise to prominence. It will be interesting to see who steps up to fill the void.

3. Can Flavien Prat achieve Triple Crown success in his riding career?

Flavien Prat’s illustrious career already boasts victories in high-profile races such as the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Derby. However, he still needs to conquer the Belmont Stakes to complete the coveted Triple Crown. With his exceptional riding skills and prestigious connections, Prat certainly has the potential to achieve this remarkable feat.

4. What impact did Flavien Prat have on California racing during his tenure?

During his time in Southern California, Flavien Prat asserted his dominance over the racing scene, consistently clinching leading rider titles and enjoying numerous stakes victories. He brought excitement and skill to each race, captivating spectators and elevating the overall quality of racing in California.

5. How does Umberto Rispoli’s departure impact the turf racing landscape?

Umberto Rispoli’s departure from Southern California marks the loss of one of the premier turf riders in the country. Known for his exceptional skills on grass, Rispoli’s absence will be felt in races that emphasize turf surfaces. His move to the East Coast presents new opportunities for him to showcase his talent and potentially establish himself as a force to be reckoned with in turf racing.

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Doug I. Jones

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