Joel Rosario Profile

Name Joel Rosario
Born Jan 14, 1985
Age 36 years
Birthplace Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Height 5ft 2ins

A multiple Breeders' Cup winner, two-time Belmont Stakes victor and one-time Kentucky Derby champion, Joel Rosario is one of the top jockeys in the US. Here, Planet Sport profiles the Dominican rider.

Joel Rosario is considered one of the greatest jockeys in American Thoroughbred horse racing. With an impressive 3,000+ career wins, he regularly gets the call to ride some of the world's best racehorses. He has broken many records and competed in top events like the Dubai World Cup and the Kentucky Derby.

In 2021, Rosario won the prestigious Breeders' Cup Classic on Knicks Go for Brad Cox at Del Mar.


Rosario arrived in California from the Dominican Republic in 2006 and quickly became one of the top riders in the state. Back in his home country, Rosario grew up on a farm around the area of Santo Domingo and decided to become a jockey. The legendary rider spent six months in jockey school at the age of 13, and by the time he had reached his next birthday, Rosario was already a pro.

Before traveling to the United States, Rosario took the title of leading rider four times in the Dominican Republic. In 2007, he spent most of his time in northern California before moving to the southern part of the state towards the end of the year.

In 2008, he was already the jockey for many stakes horses and some of the top trainers too. He reached $13million in earnings in 2009, putting him in fifth spot. By 2010, he was third in the top earners' list.

Rosario took his third consecutive Del Mar and Hollywood Park titles in 2011, as well as his first Santa Anita title. By 2012, his time in California was over as he looked to become one of the leading jockeys on the East Coast.

Career highlights

His 2013 season started strongly, with Rosario winning the $10million Dubai World Cup while riding Team Valor's Animal Kingdom. He then went on to ride Shug McGaughey's trainee Orb in the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Rosario and the Malibu Moon colt put in an impressive performance to win the first leg of the Triple Crown, which was the rider's first-ever Derby victory.

In the Preakness Stakes, he rode Orb to a fourth-place finish and he stuck with the horse to finish third in the Belmont Stakes.

Rosario got to showcase his skills once again in 2014. He took the Belmont Stakes with Tonalist, while he was also the regular rider of 2014 champion older mare Close Hatches. Rosario scored three Grade 1 races with her, and he closed out the season with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint aboard Bobby's Kitten. His connections for that outing were owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, along with trainer Chad Brown. The jockey's 2014 campaign resulted in 11 Grade 1 victories.

Moving on to 2015, he finished first in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint aboard Wavell Avenue.

In 2016, he took his fifth career Breeders' Cup victory after scoring the Breeders' Cup Mile with Tourist. His other big performances that year included finishing second in the Filly and Mare Sprint with Wavell Avenue.

Rosario registered his sixth career Breeders' Cup win during the 2017 Breeders' Cup World Championships. He guided the 30/1 longshot Stormy Liberal to the Turf Sprint.

In 2018, Rosario took his seventh and eighth Breeders' Cup victories. He rode Jaywalk in the Juvenile Fillies and Game Winner in the Juvenile. He then received a lot of attention during the close of the Breeders' Cup weekend in Louisville with his win aboard Accelerate in the $6million Breeders' Cup Classic, which gave the rider his ninth World Championships victory.

He continued to impress in 2019, winning his second Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets when riding Sir Winston on June 8. He took the Filly and Mare Sprint on Covfefe and the TVG Breeders' Cup mile aboard Union on November 2, registering wins 10 and 11 in the Breeders' Cup.

His most recent campaign, the 2020 season, witnessed Rosario grab a pair of Breeders' Cup wins after riding Vequist to victory in the Juvenile Fillies and Knicks Go in the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile.

Major racing victories

Joel Rosario has also tasted success in the following major races:

The Yerba Buena Stakes (2007), The California Cup Matron (2008), The Clasico del Caribe (2008), The A Gleam Handicap (2009), The Ack Ack Handicap (2009), The Cinema Handicap (2009), The Del Mar Derby (2009 and 2010), The Del Mar Mile Handicap (2009), The First Lady Stakes (2019), The Honeymoon Handicap (2008 and 2009), The La Jolla Handicap (2008 and 2010), The Miesque Stakes (2009), The San Antonio Handicap (2009), The San Simeon Handicap (2009), The Santa Ana Handicap (2009), The Sunshine Millions Oaks (2009), The La Brea Stakes (2009 and 2010), The Santa Ysabel Stakes (2010), The Santa Maria Handicap (2010), The Malibu Stakes (2010), The Las Virgenes Stakes (2011), The Strub Stakes (2011), The Edgewood Stakes (2013) and The Shoemaker Mile Stakes (2020).

Rosario has also taken three international events: the Norfolk Stakes in 2013 and 2018, and the Dubai World Cup in 2013.

Rosario's US Triple Crown victories include the Kentucky Derby (2013) and the Belmont Stakes (2014 and 2019).

The jockey's Breeders' Cup wins are: The Breeders' Cup Sprint (2009), The Dirt Mile (2010), The Turf Sprint (2014), The Filly and Mare Sprint (2015), The Mile (2016), The Turf Sprint (2017), The Classic (2018 & 2021), The Juvenile (2018), The Juvenile Fillies (2018), The Mile (2019), The Filly and Mare Sprint (2019), The Juvenile Fillies (2020 & 2021) and The Dirt Mile (2020).

Rosario's horses

As is the case with all jockeys, Joel Rosario is the regular rider for many horses. Two of his most significant are Tom's d'Etat and Jackie's Warrior. Tom's d'Etat has a career record of 11-2-2 from 20 starts, and he went six-of-seven during a two-year period.

Going into the 2021 campaign, Jackie's Warrior received a lot of attention as one of Rosario's top horses. In the end though, he didn't qualify for the Kentucky Derby and Rosario rode 5/1 second favourite Rock Your World to 17th place.

Some of Rosario's other top horses include Accelerate, Animal Kingdom, Blind Luck, Sicotico, Bobby's Kitten, Close Hatches, Dancing in Silks, Game Winner, Jaywalk, Orb, Frosted and Tonalist.

2021 Breeders' Cup Classic win on Knicks Go

Rosario has struck up a fantastic relationship with the Brad Cox trained Knicks Go.

The Dominican was in charge as Knicks Go surged to a four length Breeders' Cup warmup win in the Lukas Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Rosario was aboard Knicks Go as the five-year-old took to the track at Del Mar as a 16/5 shot.

The jockey eased Knicks Go into an early lead and his super horse never looked like being headed, making all for a two and three quarter length win from Medina Spirit.

"He was very quick, he broke very sharp and Brad told me to let him do his thing - he was very comfortable and enjoying it.

"I felt confident and when they went for me, I know how fast he is. Round the turn he just took off again." said Rosario about his well-earned Breeders' Cup win.

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