In addition to the presentations, both Russell and Kobiskie visited the winners’ circle twice this afternoon.
“It was a great year,” Russell said. “I’d definitely like to get more than 200 wins this year.”
Russell leads the jockey standings with nine winners after the first two weeks of the Laurel Park winter meeting, with first place finishes aboard Promesa Doce ($8.60-third and Proud Pearl ($10.60-sixth) today. However he begins serving a suspension Monday for a riding infraction that occurred January 7. Russell will miss the January 16, 19, 20 and 25 programs.
He will be allowed to ride Eighttofasttocatch next Saturday at Aqueduct in the Evening Attire Stakes. Trainer Tim Keefe is using that race as a prep for the $200,000 General George Handicap (G2) here on February 20.
“He was one of the first horses to put me on the map,” added Russell. “Tim has being very loyal to let me travel to wherever he wanted to run the horse and think that we get along very well.”
Kobiskie saddled 58 winners at the major Maryland tracks during the 2011 campaign, 21 more than Dale Capuano. The 32-year-old former rider won races at an impressive 28% rate and won the prestigious Laurel Futurity and Selima Stakes for 2-year-olds with Lemon Juice and Softly Lit respectively.
“It was a fun year. Everything went right. The babies, the claiming game, everything,” said Kobiskie, who ranked 32nd nationally with a career-high 105 victories. “I think when you have experience in another part of the game works as an advantage. When I came here as a rider in 2005, I knew I was going to train. After three full years of training I am continuing to learn from mistakes and trying to getting better every day.”
Kobiskie reached the winners’ circle on Saturday’s card with Lady June Bug ($11-fourth and The Caller ($2.10-fifth) to move into the top spot in the trainer standings. He has won five-of-14 to begin the winter stand.