Luis Saez Profile
|Born||May 19, 1992|
|Birthplace||Panama City, Panama|
Breeders' Cup-winning jockey is brother to another of racing's star riders, Gabriel.
Luis Saez is one of the greatest jockeys of his generation and has often played a big part in the Road to the Kentucky Derby races. Most of his titles have come at Gulfstream Park, while he is also the brother of fellow American Thoroughbred jockey Gabriel Saez.
Luis Saez graduated from the Laffit Pincay Jr. Jockey School in Panama in 2009, five years after his brother. The academy is a prestigious racing school, with top Panamanian jockeys like Pincay Jr. and Jorge Velasquez graduating from there before moving to the United States. Both riders have since made it into the Hall of Fame.
Growing up on a farm, Saez was always close to horse racing and before moving to the United States, he won 37 races in Panama.
After arriving in the US, Saez settled at Calder Race Track, which acted as his home base. There, the jockey won four straight riding titles before going on to race at Gulfstream Park.
Grade 1 victories and Breeders' Cup success
Saez scored a mount aboard Freedom Child in the 2013 Belmont Stakes, one of the Triple Crown races, in which he finished 13th. That call followed an impressive victory aboard the son of Malibu Moon in the Peter Pan Stakes.
Towards the end of the year, Saez enjoyed several high-profile victories aboard Will Take Charge, including the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, the Grade 1 Clark Handicap and the $1million Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby. His other big performance during that time was a second-place run in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Saez hit another significant milestone in January 2014 when he registered his 1,000th career win after pairing with Lea to success in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
He continued his strong form into 2015, but the jockey's next notable performance came in 2016 aboard Brody's Cause. The pair finished seventh in the 2016 Kentucky Derby. Despite running in the race six times through 2018, that seventh-place run has been Saez's best to date.
In 2018, Saez enjoyed one of his best years in racing, securing an impressive $17million in purse earnings. His victories included the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and Grade 2 Rebel Stakes with Magnum Moon.
Saez also ran in the 2018 Preakness Stakes, nearly winning but eventually having to settle for second aboard Bravazo. That same year, he registered 245 wins, the ninth-best record of any jockey. He also achieved his 2,000th career victory on November 9 at Aqueduct when riding Y'allcomenow.
Saez nearly became the top jockey of the 2019 winter-spring meet at Gulfstream Park. With a total of 134 victories, Saez fell just one win short of Hall of Fame jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. Some of his most notable wins of that meet included the Grade 1 Xpressbet Florida Derby aboard Maximum Security.
2020 saw Saez win his first Breeders' Cup World Championships race in 26 starts. He joined Essential Quality as the runner pushed forward from the back to cross the line first in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Saez also had the call for seven other Grade 1-winning horses in 2020. In February, he was also aboard Maximum Security when winning the $20million Saudi Cup, the world's richest horse race.
As of May 4, 2021, Saez's career earnings sat at more than $137million and he has had more than 2,600 race victories.
Major racing victories
Luis Saez has had the call in many top races throughout his career at various tracks, with some of his most notable victories including the Tropical Turf Handicap (2010 and 2012), the Mr. Prospector Stakes (2011 and 2012), the W. L. McKnight Handicap (2011), the Swale Stakes (2013, 2015 and 2018), the Peter Pan Stakes (2013 and 2019), the Nashua Stakes (2013), the Pennsylvania Derby (2013), the Clark Handicap (2013), the Travers Stakes (2013), the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes (2014, 2018 and 2019), the Holy Bull Stakes (2014), the Indiana Derby (2014), the Oaklawn Handicap (2014), the Diana Stakes (2014), the Schuylerville Stakes (2015), the Fourstardave Handicap (2015 and 2020), the Appleton Stakes (2016), the Gulfstream Park Oaks (2016 and 2018), the Regret Stakes (2017), the Rebel Stakes (2018), the Arkansas Derby (2018), the Cigar Mile (2019), the Haskell Invitational Stakes (2019), the Florida Derby (2019), the Los Alamitos Derby (2020), the Woodford Stakes (2020), the Bourbon Stakes (2020) and the Forward Gal Stakes (2021).
Saez has won just one Breeders' Cup race, the Juvenile in 2020.
Luis Saez's horses
Saez's most notable racehorses of recent years include Essential Quality, Bravazo and Maximum Security.
Godolphin's Essential Quality is a Delightful Quality colt, trained by Brad H. Cox. He has more than $1.3million in purse earnings and went into 2021 with a perfect three-for-three career record. The horse's two biggest victories with Saez were the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile on November 6, 2020, and the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity on October 3, 2020, at Keeneland.
Calumet Farm's Bravazo is the son of Awesome Again and is trained by D. Wayne Lukas. He is a more experienced runner with more than 20 starts and purse earnings above $2million. Some of the runner's more recent performances with Saez include an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Clark Stakes at Churchill Downs on November 29, 2019, and fourth in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 26, 2019.
Another one of Saez's notable horses is Maximum Security, owned by Gary and Mary West, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith. The son of New Year's Day is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. The runner has more than $12million in purse earnings. Saez was aboard Maximum Security when he finished runner-up in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on September 26, 2020, and when victorious in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct on December 7, 2019.