(Auburn, WA) The 1st edition of the the Eli Sports Network’s Jockey Power Rankings are out and a familiar name is at the top getting off to a fast start trying to win an unprecedented 5th straight riding title.

A reminder the Power Rankings are just for fun and to highlight the riders weeks in a fun competition. There will be those who disagree and that’s ok, this is more about giving as many riders their due for the performances they give us fans week in and week out.

Here’s our 1st list for 2024!

#1 Alex Cruz

Alex Cruz






Alex Cruz has won the last 4 riding Championships, the only rider in state history to accomplish this at any track. He is off to a fast start in 2024 taking 2 of the 7 races on opening day, including the feature race. He was 2-0-2-2 from 7 rides on opening day or 86% in the superfecta. Cruz will likely have big competition, especially from the invaders from Turf Paradise beginning this week but we think Cruz will be very tough to topple. They’re coming to play on his track now.

#2 Carlos Montalvo

Carlos Montalvo





Carlos Montalvo was the leading Stakes rider last season at Emerald Downs so he knows how to win the big races. He’s also exceptionally consistant and has been pointing toward this year by coming early and has been working horses since the track opened in March. That work paid off as he won the 1st race of the season and bookended it by taking the final race of opening day. He finished 2-1-3-0 from 7 mounts last Saturday, however, Montalvo will have to wait to keep his great start rolling as he is going to have to serve a 3 day suspension from an old ruling from Monmouth a few years ago and will not be riding this weekend. We can’t wait for him to be back!

#3 Kevin Orozco

Kevin Orozco






Kevin Orozco is a very familiar and solid rider who has been part of Emeralds Downs for several years and led in Stakes wins a few years back. Orozco came in looking like he is ready to make a big run this year scoring on his 1st ride of the season with Nation’s Belle winning by just a nose. He had 3 rides got the win and added a solid 2nd with J C’s a Legend for a 1-1-0-0 record for the day. Look for Orozco to be in the mix each week.

#4 Jose Zunino

Jose Zunino






“The Carpenter” Jose Zunino is also one of those familiar names here in Auburn as he has been riding here for more than 20 years and it seems like he just keeps getting better with age like a fine wine. Zunino can bring a 40-1 shot in 3rd or 4th to up your tri’s and super’s to winning the prestigious Longacres Mile. Zunino was one of just 5 to get wins on opening day as he went 1-0-0-1 from his 3 rides. Zunino will be a constant presence in the Power Rankings.

#5 Neptali Ortiz

Neptali Ortiz





Only 1 rider on opening was perfect on opening day and it was Neptali Ortiz who had 1 win from 1 mount as he took the 4th race on My Sunshine. Ortiz had a stretch last summer where he won like 6 of his 9 total wins over a 3 weeks period of time so Ortiz can heat up in a hurry. He is one to keep an eye on whenever he gets a shot.

#6 Silvio Amador

Silvio Amador






Silvio Amador made his presence known last year in his 1st season at Emerald and especially turned it on in the 2nd half of the season. Amador got off to a solid but frustrating start as he rode the card but did not find the winners circle as he stacked up 4 2nd place finishes. It won’t take long for those 2nd’s to turn into wins, Silvio is going to be a threat this season.

#7 Karlo Lopez

Karlo Lopez





We get to the southern invaders now who none have yet to ride at Emerald Downs but all have mounts. We start with the Turf Paradise Champion rider Karlos Lopez. Lopez comes in with more than 11-million in career earnings and has been riding since 2008. Lopez has had his best 4 years the last 4 in a row with earnings over 2-million the last 2 seasons and already at 1.2-million for 2024. His career record is 813-907-910 from 6,963 mounts. Lopez will be looking to make an early impact.

#8 Brayan Pena

Brayan Pena






Brayan Pena was in the top 5 at T-P and rolls in with more than 9-million in career earnings. Pena has been riding fulltime from 2013 to now and racked up a 386-488-500 record from 3,565 career starts and has 5 seasons with more than a million dollars in earnings. Pena makes this jockey room even more solid.

#9 Luis Reyes

Luis Reyes






Luis Reyes began riding in 2017 and took full advantage of his bug status as he roared out of the gate in his career with season earnings of 1.5, 1.4 and 1.8 million dollars. Since then he has not topped 622k. However, his jockey agent at Emerald is the wife of last year’s leading trainer Justin Evans. This should give Luis a solid foundation to find that groove he’s been looking for and we expect to see him in the circle plenty of times. 

#10 Manuel Americano

Manuel Americano






Manuel Americano came in from Golden Gate as an apprentice and just getting his career going. He had 3 rides on opening day and hit the board 2 of the 3 rides with a 3rd and a 4th. Manuel looks like he is going to take advantage of that weight break and the NW, once a stronghold for apprentice riders may be ready to re-visit that history with Americano.


By paulb

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