Apprentice Wins First 4 at Laurel
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 2/8/2008 7:29:20 PM
Last Updated: 2/10/2008 12:08:22 PM

Apprentice jockey Craig Gibbs rode the first four winners on Laurel Park's nine-race card Feb. 8, helping the 20-year-old rider move into a first place tie with Rosie Napravnik atop the winter meet standings.

After the biggest day of his career, Gibbs has 26 victories at the winter stand, which began January 1.

The day started with Gibbs driving Bedlam to a popular $3 score for trainer Rodney Jenkins. He completed a $6.40 daily double in the second race aboard Immunity Challenge ($3.40) for trainer Dale Capuano. He edged away from post time favorite Edger with Pick Up The Tempo ($6.40), again for Capuano, in race three, and completely dominated the fourth race field when he brought home Lord Barrister ($3.60) for trainer Scott Lake. In his fifth and final mount on the card, 59-1 shot Key Avenger got up in the final jumps to defeat Hello Prospector to deny the Harford County native a perfect day.

“Great day,” said Gibbs, who will ride with the weight allowance until August. “Your confidence gets a big boost when you are on live horses.” 

Last year Gibbs ranked 13th at the major Maryland tracks with 46 wins, including 44 during the Laurel fall meet where he finished third in the standings. Gibbs credits agent Kevin Witte for increasing business.

“Kevin does a great job getting me on live mounts,” added Gibbs, who moved  into the top 20 nationally in victories with the four bagger.

Gibbs worked at the famed Boniface farm during his days at Edgewood High School, then graduated to exercise rider for perennial leading trainer Dale Capuano. After spending last winter working for Capuano’s south Florida stable, Gibbs made his debut during the 2007 Pimlico spring stand. He had 16 multiple win days heading into Friday, including three first places finishes on Dec. 20, 2007 and Jan. 5, 2008.

“The dream is to win the Eclipse Award,” Gibbs said. “But I am trying to just stay focused on learning and getting better every day.”


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