Laurel Park lowered the curtain on its 46-day winter stand Sunday, with jockey Trevor McCarthy and trainer Claudio Gonzalez formally claiming individual meet titles.
McCarthy, 24, captured Race 7 on Timeless Treasure ($7.20) to finish with 53 victories, 26 more than runner-up Victor Carrasco. Maryland's leading rider in 2014 and 2016, McCarthy was also tops with more than $1.5 million in purse earnings in securing his second straight meet title and seventh overall.
“I'm really fortunate to become the leading rider again this meet. It means a lot to me and to my family,” McCarthy said. “I want to thank my agent, Scotty Silver, and all the trainers and owners for riding me. Without the horses, we don't have racing and we don't have fun and we can't get in positions that we are. I'm very fortunate and blessed.”
McCarthy's biggest victory came with Robert LaPenta and Harry Rosenblum's Uncontested in the $250,000 General George (G3) Feb. 16 for trainer Jennifer Patterson. He also rode Uncontested to a runaway five-length score in an optional claiming allowance Dec. 23 at Laurel.
“I was so lucky to have Jenn give me the confidence to ride the horse, especially the first time when I rode him and then have the confidence again to put me on him in such a big, prestigious race,” McCarthy said. “To win that race, it's always been such a huge bucket list for me ever since I came to Maryland. I'm just so fortunate and really appreciate the opportunity. I'm really excited to see a bright future in front of him.”
McCarthy returned to Maryland full-time last fall after beginning 2018 on the New York circuit. Laurel's 19-day spring meet kicks off Friday, April 5 and runs through Sunday, May 5.
“Definitely going to stay here for the spring,” McCarthy said. “Very excited for the grass racing. I love the grass and they always write some nice races here on the turf. It's always a big card on the turf. We'll be excited and fighting for the spring meet title, as well.”
Claudio Gonzalez, 42, led all trainers with 40 wins including a stretch of seven consecutive victories over two racing days, March 17 and 22, and more than $1 million in purse earnings. Hugh McMahon finished second with 15 wins.
Maryland's leading trainer the past two years, Gonzalez has captured four straight meet titles at Laurel and six of the last seven dating back to the 2017 winter-spring stand. Overall, he owns nine meet championships.
“All the time, I say you have to put the horses in the right spot. My owners know when you put the horses in the right spot, you have a big chance to win races,” Gonzalez said. “Everybody is happy. My team, they do all the hard work. Everybody sees my name and they see me, but behind the scenes everybody is working really hard.”
Joseph Besecker finished as the winter meet leading owner with 20 wins and nearly $500,000 in purses earned.
Live racing returns to Laurel for the start of its 19-day spring meet Friday, April 5 with a nine-race program beginning at 1:10 p.m.
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