Through the first 19 days of the 56-day Belmont spring/summer meet, Curatolo has 14 winners from 76 mounts. By comparison sake, he rode 14 winners from 167 mounts during the entire Gulfstream Park meeting. His success at Belmont has included a four-win day on May 21 and multiple-win days on May 5, 6, and 25.
“I’m very surprised,’’ Curatolo said when asked his success in New York.
Curatolo, who stands 5-foot, 5-inches tall and tacks 110 pounds, is under contract to ride first-call for Carl Lizza’s Flying Zee Stables. Flying Zee was the third-leading owner on the NYRA circuit in 2010 with 35 wins. Already this year, Flying Zee has 24 wins, which leads all owners on this circuit.
“This kid’s got a lot of talent,’’ Lizza said Thursday morning. “I watched him down in Florida. [Patrick] Biancone trains for me and he had [Julien] Leparoux and he told me this kid will be as good as Leparoux and it looks like he’s tearing the place up here.’’
Like Leparoux, Curatolo is from France. Curatolo said his family was not involved in horse racing aside from the fact that his father liked to bet on horses. Curatolo said he and his family would visit south Florida for vacations when he was younger and that’s one reason he picked Calder to begin his career, something he did last fall after attending a jockey school in Paris for four years.
Curatolo started riding at Calder last October and gained his first win on Nov. 6. Through Thursday, he is up to 35 career victories. When he reaches 40 victories, he will drop two pounds off his apprentice and ride with a five fewer pounds than his journeyman rivals. He will ride as a five-pound apprentice for one year from the time of his 40th win.
“He sits very well on a horse, he’s got good hands, and you can talk to him, which is nice,’’ [Paris-born trainer Christophe Clement said.] “Let’s hope he gets the guidance to make this a career.’’