Umberto Rispoli Hires Matt Nakatani As Agent, Effective March 9 – Horse Racing News


Umberto Rispoli is all smiles after guiding Going Global to victory in the 2022 Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Del Mar

Southern California-based jockey Umberto Rispoli has hired Matt Nakatani as agent, effective March 9, Nakatani said via text message on Friday.

“I’m extremely excited to represent a world-class jockey in Umberto Rispoli. He is a true professional on and off the racetrack,” said Nakatani, son of jockey Corey Nakatani, who won 3,909 races, including 119 Grade 1 stakes over a career that spanned three decades in Southern California.

“His competitive fire reminds me a lot of my Dad and personally I see so many similarities between the two of them,” Nakatani said. “Not only is this a great opportunity for me, it is a great opportunity for both Umberto and I to compete for leading rider titles and continue to compete at the highest of levels nationwide. We happily welcome the challenge ahead of us and look forward to making the most of our opportunities.”

Nakatani, who will continue to represent Mario Gutierrez, had served as agent for Joe Bravo since the latter relocated to Southern California in 2021. Rispoli recently announced that he was parting ways with agent Tony Matos but did not say at that time who would be replacing him.

A 34-year-old native of Naples, Italy, who won his first race in 2005 and broke fellow Italian rider Lanfranco Dettori’s single-season win record there in 2009, Rispoli spent 10 years riding in France and internationally before coming to the U.S. at the start of the 2019-20 season at Santa Anita. He made an immediate impact, finishing third behind leading Southern California rider Flavien Prat in the jockey standings for the meet, then gave Prat a run for his money at Del Mar, finishing one win behind the perennial leader, 50-to-49, at the conclusion of that meet. Nationally, he finished in the top 20 in money won in 2020 and 2021. Rispoli’s production declined in 2022 when he relocated to Kentucky briefly before returning to Southern California. He’s won 353 races and nearly $26 million in purse earnings since arriving in the U.S. in December 2019.

Rispoli is currently 10th behind Juan Hernandez in the standings at Santa Anita, whose jockey colony has been enriched this winter through the addition of Dettori, Hall of Famer John Velazquez, leading Woodbine rider Kazushi Kimura, and a resurgent Hall of Famer in Kent Desormeaux.

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