When Enrique Gonzalez won his first-ever Leading Jockey title at Hastings Racecourse in 2013 it came down to the final day of the season when he was deadlocked with Amadeo Perez at 57 wins each. Gonzalez won two races; Perez was skunked.
Gonzalez was no doubt thinking of repeating those same theatrics Sunday when he entered closing day trailing Antonio Reyes by just one victory: 55-54.
Reyes began the afternoon with back-to-back wins in the opening two races. Game, set, match … right? Not quite. Gonzalez won the 3rd, 6th and 7th – his second hat-trick in as many days.
Nobody had to reach for a calculator to realize there was a dead heat for the jockey title when the two hooked up again in the 9th and final race of the afternoon, which just happened to be the final race on the 2019 schedule.
Then along came Jose Asencio to spoil all the fun. One of the hottest riders on the grounds these past couple of weeks, Asencio scored his 32nd win of the year aboard Trupon Online for owner/trainer Robert Maybin.
Reyes ran third on Jack's Reign; Gonzalez finished fourth on My Grand Valentine and for the first time in Hastings modern history there was a tie for first place in the final Leading Jockey standings.
Let the records show that Reyes finished with 57 wins in 348 starts; Gonzalez finished with 57 wins in 252 starts.
Season-ending ties have happened in final Leading Trainer standings on three occasions over the last 40 years: Barbara Heads and Terry Clyde in 2006; George Cummins and Cy Anderson in 1984; Harold Barroby and Dennis Terry in 1981.
But as track historians noted Sunday, the year 2019 will go down in the record book as the first time there has been a tie for the Leading Jockey honours.
This season's Leading Trainer title was decided back in the early stages of the season when Phil Hall was making as many trips to the winner's circle as the leading jockeys were enjoying. Hall and his assistants Sara (his daughter) and Brad Cuthbertson finished with 53 wins while the Leading Owner award goes to Glen Todd's North American Thoroughbred Horse Company with 25 first-place finishes.
The annual Thoroughbred Awards Dinner and Hall of Fame inductions is set for Thursday, December 5 at Newlands Golf and Country Club in Langley.
It was announced on the weekend the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees will be owners and breeders Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. spearheaded by childhood friends and business partners Mark Mache and Horatio Kemeny, as well as Dancing Allstar, the 2007 Sovereign Award winner as the best two-year-old filly in Canada.
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