Joel Rosario became the first jockey to win three consecutive Del Mar riding titles in 57 years with a 49-42 win margin over Joe Talamo for the 2011 crown. Leading by only two with three days remaining, Rosario won four races on Sunday and three more Monday of Labor Day weekend to pull away.

Rosario, a 26-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, won the 2010 title over Rafael Bejarano with a victory in the final race of the meeting after a dominating performance in 2009 when he recorded 56 wins to 32 for runner-up Tyler Baze.

Not since 1954, when legendary Bill Shoemaker won his sixth straight championship (1949-54) had a rider notched as many as three straight titles. Laffit Pincay Jr. (1976-77), Chris McCarron (1980-81, 1983-84), Patrick Valenzuela (1990-91, 2002-03), Kent Desormeaux (1992-93) and Victor Espinoza (2005-06) had all doubled post-Shoemaker but failed to triple.

The training title for Mike Mitchell, achieved 25-24 over John Sadler, was Mitchell’s seventh at Del Mar, and his first since 1996. It gave Mitchell, 63, titles in three different decades, those of the 1980s (1981-84), 1990s (1995-96) and 2010s. Like Rosario, Mitchell produced a spurt over the Labor Day weekend, expanding a one-win lead to three entering the final day and held on when Sadler won two on closing day but saw his bid to tie come up short his final starter of the meeting, Courtside in the ninth race, tired in the stretch and was passed by Chiloquin in the closing strides.

In the fourth week of the meeting, in the fifth race on Friday, August 12, Mitchell saddled Backwoods Belle to a victory that was the 437th of his career at Del Mar and pushed him past Ron McAnally atop the track’s all-time list for trainers. Mitchell ended the season with 454 career wins, McAnally has 437.

Winning Favorites Report
(Current Through Wednesday, September 7, 2011 Inclusive)

Winning favorites -- 99 out of 324 -- 30.56%
Winning favorites on Polytrack -- 70 out of 231 -- 30.30%
Winning favorites on turf -- 29 out of 93 -- 31.18%
Winning odds-on favorites -- 15 out of 39 -- 38.46%
In-the-Money favorites -- 226 out of 324 -- 69.75%
In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 27 out of 39 -- 69.23%