Jockey Abel Castellano and trainer Jamie Ness wrapped up year-end titles for the calendar year in the jockey and trainer divisions respectively at the major Maryland tracks after the Dec. 31 final card of the season at Laurel Park.
The duo ranked atop the standings during the Pimlico Race Course spring and Laurel Park fall meetings.
Castellano finished the year with 132 victories, 11 more than 2011 leader Sheldon Russell, including 59 in the fall. The 29-year-old also tied for the top spot in the colony with eight stakes wins in the state, including five aboard Bold Affair.
“To win my first year-round title means a lot,” said Castellano, who has been a regular rider in Maryland since 2003. “I have come a long way since arriving here. I now have a wife and we have been blessed with three kids. They are part of my success and why I work so hard, along with my agent Kevin Witte, in trying to win as many races as I can each and every day. There were many trainers who gave us an opportunity but I might not have won the championship without Jamie Ness, who trusted me the entire year.”
Castellano teamed up with Ness for 69 victories.
Castellano finished 2012 ranked 25th nationally in wins (192) and was 50th in earnings ($4.4 million). Statistically the only better year he had was 2004 when he established career-highs in wins (201) and earnings ($5 million).
Ness had 83 winners at the major Maryland tracks during the campaign, 16 ahead of Dane Kobiskie. The 38-year-old won races at an impressive 27% rate and had 17 multi-win afternoons. Overall, he was the nation’s winningest conditioner with 396 victories.