A closer look at the jockeys’ championship – the what ifs

Dane Nelson (left) and Anthony Thomas - champion jockeys 2020
Dane Nelson (left) and Anthony Thomas - champion jockeys 2020

KINGSTON, Jamaica – There were heightened expectations ahead of the last two race days of 2020 — Boxing Day (December 26) and Sunday (December 27) — with many racing fans locked into the battle involving jockeys Anthony Thomas and Dane Nelson.

The least expected result happened – a tie – but not like in 1970 when Richard DePass lifted the rafters off at Caymanas Park when he rode Wally Gold to victory for trainer Owen Silvera in the last race of the year to tie on 53 wins with Panamanian Jose Bravo.

In 2020, Thomas and Nelson started the weekend on 84 wins each with both having several live mounts over the two days.

Then the unthinkable happened! It was announced just before the start of the Saturday race day that Thomas and Nelson were down for the day. Thomas this website found out was suffering from an acute case of food poisoning, while Nelson had problems with an injured groin. Nelson had fallen from his mount Leo in the fifth race on Wednesday, December 23.

It was the same on Sunday, both jockeys were down again.

Therefore, there are two champion jockeys for 2020, Anthony Thomas and Dane Nelson.

So, what would have happened if both gentlemen were in fact in the saddle?

This publication looks at the possible scenario based on the rides both jockeys had and their final placings.

After the replacement riders were put in and the races were run, Thomas had one winner Uncle Bally and Nelson none. Thomas would, therefore, be one win ahead of Nelson going into Sunday.

Based on the final Sunday placings, Thomas had four winners; Anngelos, Top Shelf, Isinbayeva and Denbigh Life, while Nelson had two winners, Pakman and Further and Beyond.

With one winner more on Saturday and two on Sunday, Thomas, according to the final results of races run over the two race days, would be the champion jockey of 2020, having overall three more wins than Nelson. Then again it’s all speculation.

Interesting to note that 2019 champion jockey Christopher Mamdeen finished 10th in the standings with 17 wins.

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