Trainer Chad Brown notched his fifth consecutive New York Racing Association year-end training title, jockey Manny Franco won his second consecutive riding crown, and Klaravich Stables led all owners on the circuit as racing concluded for 2019 following Tuesday's card at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Brown, who has won three consecutive Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer from 2016-18, saddled 142 winners at NYRA tracks, which encompasses Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct, for earnings of more than $15.67 million.
The 41-year-old Brown has paced NYRA trainers on every NYRA year-end standings list since 2015. For 2019, he finished 36 wins better than the next closest competitor in Linda Rice, who was the only other training to finish with triple-digit wins .
Brown's horses finished with a 142-108-97 record in 552 starts for a winning percentage of 25.72. His horses finished top-three in an impressive 62.86 percent of starts. His earnings exceeded his 2018 total of $15.62 million for the most he's compiled in one year on the NYRA circuit.
Brown won four individual meet titles, capturing both the Aqueduct and Belmont fall meets, along with his second straight H. Allen Jerkens award [and third overall] for leading Saratoga trainer, as well as pacing the Belmont spring/summer meet.
Among Brown's many accolades was posting eight of his 20 Grade 1 wins at NYRA tracks, improving on the seven Grade 1 wins his horses recorded on the circuit in 2018. Sistercharlie had two of those wins in the Diana and Flower Bowl Invitational, while Guarana also picked up two with the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Acorn.
Leading Horse of the Year contender Bricks and Mortar, a perfect 6-for-6 this year with five Grade 1 triumphs, won the Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8, at Belmont Park, while Annals of Time was victorious in the Sword Dancer on Travers Day, August 24, at the Spa. Brown also saddled Rushing Fall, winner of the Longines Just a Game, and Dunbar Road, who gave him his first career win in the Alabama.
Franco, who earned the first two NYRA meet titles of his career during 2018, again came out on top in a pair of individual meets in 2019, winning the Aqueduct and Belmont fall slates. For the year, the Carolina, Puerto Rico native won 212 races from 1,274 mounts with earnings of more than $14.6 million. Franco was the 2018 year-end leading rider when he captured 244 races, giving him a two-year total of 456 at NYRA tracks.
Franco was one of just two riders to crack the 200-win plateau on the year, besting second-place finisher Lezcano [208 victories] by four for the top spot. Three of Franco's four Grade 1 wins come in the Big Apple, including Tiz the Law in the Champagne, and World of Trouble in the Carter Handicap and the Jaipur Invitational. His lone non-New York Grade 1 win was aboard Sharing in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Santa Anita.
“I'm very thankful. I have to thank all the trainers and owners for putting me on these good horses, as well as my agent [Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero, Jr.], who has also helped me a lot during my career and especially this year,” Franco said. “It's a big accomplishment I just want to continue to ride and do well.”
Klaravich Stables went 57-46-31 with 196 starters to lead all owners, finishing with earnings of more than $5.18 million. Headed by Seth Klarman, the stable won at least a share of five of the six NYRA individual meets in 2019. Klaravich won the Belmont fall and spring/summer outright, as well as Saratoga, while tying Repole and Drawing Away Stable for the Aqueduct Spring and sharing the Aqueduct fall with Drawing Away Stable.
Michael Dubb, who finished atop the year-end owner standings from 2014-18, was second with 50 wins.
Live racing resumes Wednesday, New Year's Day, at the Big A with an eight-race card highlighted by the $150,000 Jerome in Race 7 for newly turned 3-year-olds. The one-mile contest will offer 10-4-2-1 qualifying points to the top-four finishers towards the Kentucky Derby. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.
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