Tuesday, January 20, 2009


LAUREL, MD. 01-19-09---The Maryland Jockey Club honored local stars that shined during 2008 with ceremonies in-between races at Laurel Park Monday afternoon.

Owner Robert Cole, whose trainers include Scott Lake, Howard Wolfendale and John Rigattieri, was the state’s top owner for the third straight year. Cole runners won 39 times from 118 starts at the major Maryland tracks last year, an impressive 33% rate, including four winners with four different trainers at Pimlico Race Course on May 9.

“We’ve had good luck with trainers, riders and we’ve worked hard,” said Cole after the third race. “It’s been a lot of fun. We try to claim healthy ones that can run frequently, hopefully twice a month and put them in the right spots and hope we win a high percentage. That day at Pimlico we had horses we liked, we liked two or three of them and we were lucky enough to win all four. Everything seemed to fall into place.”

The Baltimore County native led the nation with 234 wins and finished in the top 15 in earnings with nearly $3.3 million but was not one of the three Eclipse Award finalists for the nation’s top owner.

Hugh McMahon, Lake’s Maryland assistant, accepted the top trainer hardware after the second race. The Lake barn saddled 113 winners at the major Maryland tracks during the 2008 campaign to win its fourth consecutive state title.

“It’s an awesome privilege working for him,” McMahon said. “He hasn’t forgotten where he is from and has proven himself to be a class trainer as well.”

Lake runners won two races on Monday’s nine-race card and he tops the Laurel trainer standings with 10 victories after the first 11 live racing days of 2009.

Rosie Napravnik, 2008’s top jockey with 101 winners, is currently riding at Aqueduct.

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