With four wins on Friday's program, Edgar Prado passed John Velazquez at the midway point of a spirited fight for the 2005 Saratoga riding title.Velazquez, the two-time defending champion, led the standings with 19 wins going into Friday's card. Prado tied Velazquez briefly when taking the first race with the Richard Dutrow-trained filly, Red Handed Robin. Prado followed that win with three more, bringing home Sabine Stable's Win McCool in the second race, the Dale Romans-trained Fleet Honey in the fourth, and Bobby Frankel trainee Elisa's Energy in the ninth. Those victories put him at the top of the Saratoga jockey list with 22 victories. Prado entered the meet off a stellar 85-win season at Belmont where his closest competitor was 27 wins behind. His last Saratoga title came in 2002 with 54 wins.
Prado's in-the-money percentage at the Spa tops Velazquez's by more than 10% (54.08% to 43.33%). Both riders will miss racing at Saratoga on Saturday to ride at Arlington Park's International Festival of Racing. Prado is named to ride James Toner-trained Wonder Again in the Beverly D., 2004 Male Turf Horse of the Year Kitten's Joy in the Arlington Million, and Niall O'Callaghan-trained Embossed in the Secretariat (all gr. IT). Velazquez will pilot Bobby Frankel trainee Melhor Ainda in the Beverly D., 2004 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf winner Better Talk Now in the Arlington Million, and Todd Pletcher's English Channel in the Secretariat.