Trainer Chad Brown led all conditioners with 28 wins, and jockey Manny Franco (44 victories) picked up his first-ever riding title at Belmont Park as the curtain closed on the 38-day fall meet Sunday.
Klaravich Stables registered 10 wins to pace all owners, outlasting Peter Brant (nine victories) and Repole Stable (eight) for the top spot.
Brown was the top trainer for a third consecutive New York Racing Association meet, building on his efforts in the Belmont spring/summer and his third overall H. Allen Jerkens title as the Saratoga summer meet's leading trainer.
The Mechanicsville, New York native has won the last three Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer and has been NYRA's year-ending leading trainer for the last four years. Brown has won at least a share of the last eight Belmont fall meets dating back to 2012, the year he tied David Jacobson with 21 wins.
Brown continued his dominance at Belmont, with his runners finishing with a 28-25-18 record with 110 starters, resulting in a 25.45 winning percentage and earnings of more than $2.7 million. His win total was 11 more than the next-closest trainer in Jason Servis, who ended with 17 wins.
Half of Brown's 10 total stakes wins in the meet came in graded stakes, highlighted by Sistercharlie capturing the Grade 1 Flower Bowl. Other graded stakes wins include New and Improved winning the Grade 2 Sands Point and Selflessly earning a trip to the winner's circle in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo. Structor [Grade 3 Pilgrim] and Significant Form [Grade 3 Noble Damsel] also made Brown a winner.
Franco won his first title since pacing all jockeys for the 12-day Aqueduct Racetrack spring meet in April, which completed a sweep of all three meets at the Big A. NYRA's 2018 year-end leading rider extended his success to Belmont for the fall, finishing with a 44-31-39 ledger in 248 mounts for a 17.74 winning percentage. His starters finished in the money 45.97 percent of the time, with total earnings of more than $2.89 million.
“I couldn't ask for more and I just want to thank all the trainers and owners for trusting me and giving me the opportunities,” Franco said. “I'm pretty happy with what I'm doing right now, but I just want to keep going and keep working hard and keep grinding. I want to stay here for my entire career if I can.
“I'm just trying to do the same things going forward and keep my mind on business,” he added. “I'm blessed to ride her and [compete] with the other jocks here. I'm pleased with the chances I've been getting and I'm trying to do my best to make them happy.”
The 24-year-old Carolina Puerto Rico native's best effort during the meet was piloting Tiz the Law to victory in the Grade 1 Champagne, a “Win and You're In” qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
“The Champagne was [special],” Franco said. “I'm pretty confident right now. We're looking forward to the Breeders' Cup next week and having a few chances. We're just hoping for the best and maybe we'll get lucky. We have to do the best we can and see what happens. I'm also excited for Aqueduct; I've done great there the last three years and I'm looking forward to doing the same and keep it going.”
Klaravich Stables enjoyed another successful meet, building on a repeat effort as the leading owner at Saratoga by registering 10 wins, 11 runner-up efforts and seven third-place finishes in 40 starts for earnings of $903,765.
Headed by Seth Klarman, the stable's meet highlights include two Grade 2 wins, both with Brown-trained horses, with New and Improved and Selflessly. Klaravich Stables finished with at least a share of the top mark for the fourth consecutive meet, adding to a tie for the Aqueduct spring and outright wins in the Belmont spring/summer and Saratoga engagements.
Thoroughbred action moves to Aqueduct starting Friday with an opening week that feature three stakes, starting the $150,000 Tempted for juvenile fillies on Opening Day. The first Saturday will showcase the Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm, a handicap for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, and Sunday will offer the Grade 3, $150,000 Nashua for 2-year-olds going one mile on the main track.
Opening weekend will coincide with the Breeders' Cup on November 1-2, allowing horseplayers to follow the exciting action from Santa Anita Racetrack. Fans can watch and wager at Aqueduct.
The Aqueduct fall meet will offer 27 stakes worth $5 million in purses, including the inaugural four-day NYRA Thanksgiving Racing Festival from November 28-December 1. The Cigar Mile Racing Festival, highlighted by four graded stakes worth $1.5 million in purse money, will anchor the final weekend of the fall meet that concludes Sunday, December 8.
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