Calder Casino & Race Course concluded its 47-day Tropical Meet on Jan. 2 with Kathleen O’Connell highlighting the session by becoming the first woman to win a training title in the 39-year history of the Florida racetrack.
O’Connell, who was the leading trainer at Tampa Bay Downs during the 1998-99 season, won 17 races at the Tropical Meet, including Fly by Phil, winner of the Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) on New Year’s Day, which clinched the title for her.
“Being the leading trainer at Calder is definitely something I had hoped to accomplish and it was exciting because it came right down to the wire,” said O’Connell. “It’s a team effort getting this done, because so many things have to fall into place and so many people are involved that contribute to that effort. It’s great to get the support from fellow horsemen like Steve Dwoskin and Stanley Gold who came by the barn and called to congratulate me.”
Dwoskin sent out 15 winners to finish second in the trainer standings, while Bill White and Marty Wolfson tied for third place with 14 winners each.
The Tropical Meet leading owner’s trophy went to Dwoskin, whose own horses won 11 races. Dwoskin was also the leading owner of the 2009 Calder Meet with 21 winners. Rose Family Stable took second place in the owner standings with nine winners, while Farnworth Stables and Andrea’s Farm tied for third with six.
Jockey Eibar Coa was the leading rider at the meet. He rode 61 winners at the session, with Manoel Cruz in second place with 57 winners. Apprentice rider Luis Saezz was third in the standings with 52 winners. Coa had previously won the leading jockey title at the Tropical meet for three consecutive years in 1996-98.
Groundbreaking on Calder’s new 104,000-square foot slots casino took place on June 3, 2009 and is scheduled to open later this month.