Sheldon Russell and Dane Kobiskie wrapped up year-end titles in the jockey and trainer divisions, respectively at the major Maryland tracks after the Dec. 17 final card of the season at Laurel Park.
Russell captured the riding title at all three meets at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course this year, finishing with 126 victories, 24 more than Julian Pimentel, including 55 during the Laurel fall meeting. The 24-year-old also led the colony with 10 stakes wins in the state, with three victories aboard Eighttofasttocatch and two with Red's Round Table and Concealed Identity.
“I am very happy with the way things have gone, it is the first year that I have avoided injury that caused me to miss time,” Russell said in a release. “This has been my best year to date in terms of wins and earnings. It has been nice to win all three meets. It is something to be proud of. The Maryland Million Classic win with Eighttofasttocatch was one win that sticks out. I flew my two sisters over from England and my dad came to visit to watch the big day. ”
Russell, who has been a regular rider in Maryland since the fall of 2007, rode Concealed Identity to a tenth place finish in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico in May. The experience was one that will stick with the rider for many years.
“You always dream of getting the chance to ride in a Triple Crown race,” added Russell. “It was an enjoyable time because it was a horse that I was very comfortable riding and there was no pressure.”
Kobiskie saddled 58 winners at the major Maryland tracks during the campaign, 21 more than Dale Capuano. The 32-year-old former rider won races at an impressive 28% rate and won the Laurel Futurity and Selima Stakes for 2-year-olds with Lemon Juice and Softly Lit respectively.
“I am really pleased with the year,” said Kobiskie, who ranks in the top 30 nationally with a career-best 105 victories so far this year. “We really had success with 2-year-olds. We went to the Keeneland sale and actually made it a point to buy yearlings and got to showcase them this year. Winning the Futurity and Selima was special because my owners, PTK, were there which made it extra special.”
Kobiskie finished runner-up in the fall standings with 29 wins, five fewer than Jamie Ness.