DEL MAR — After finishing fourth aboard Wild Manor in Monday's $50,000-added Coronado Stakes here, the last thing jockey Patrick Valenzuela expected was a group of media members hanging around his locker.
But, instead of seeking out Willie Shoemaker, the winner aboard heavily favored Evil Elaine, the media waited, first, for Valenzuela. "Way to go, Pat," one writer said.
"What did I do?," Valenzuela asked.
"You lead by 11 with 10 races to go," Valenzuela was told.
With just one day remaining in this summer's meeting, Valenzuela has ridden 11 more winners (54 to 43) than second-place Corey Black. So, in his eighth year of riding, Valenzuela has won his first riding title.
Just as Shoemaker--a seven-time riding leader here--had Monday's feature race in the bag early. Evil Elaine, a speedy 2-year-old filly, broke quickly and had the pace her own way for the entire six furlongs. She pulled away down the stretch, beating Perchance To Dream by 4 1/2 lengths.