Ryan Fogelsonger, the 2002 Eclipse Award winner as the nation's outstanding apprentice jockey, will return to Maryland to continue his riding career following his riding obligations at Santa Anita Sunday.
Fogelsonger won 419 races as a "bug" rider in 2002 but the 22-year-old native of Portsmouth, Virginia, had only two wins from 35 mounts through Saturday. He was named on four horses at Santa Anita on Sunday. The meet got off to a slow start for Fogelsonger because he was sidelined for more than a month with a torn shoulder muscle following a spill at Hollywood Park on Dec. 12.
"It's hard to say in a few words but what it boils down to is being happy and I'm just not happy right now," Fogelsonger said. "If work isn't happy for you, you need a change. I miss my friends and family. People say because I'm young it should be easier (being away from home) but being 22 and so far away from my family is actually pretty difficult.
"A lot of things are going on in my life right now and I think it's the right move to go back."
Fogelsonger finished sixth in the Oak Tree standings with 18 wins last season, including two on California Cup day with Lennyfromalibu ($52.20) in the Mile and Moscow Burning ($14) in the Distance Handicap.