Despite missing 48 of the 195 racing days at Pimlico and Laurel Park this year, Ryan Fogelsonger won more races than any rider in the colony did with 144 victories, two ahead of Luis Garcia. The 24-year-old also nipped Garcia for the Laurel fall title, 63-62. The 2002 Eclipse Award-winning apprentice suffered two serious spills in 2005, including one where he injured his back and spent an afternoon at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit. Garcia had a chance to wrestle the titles but was shutout in seven mounts Saturday."To miss three months and still win the title is quite a feat," said Kevin Witte, Fogelsonger's agent. "It has been a trying year and this was the first time he has faced adversity, being injured and riding in pain on a daily basis. We had high expectations for the year and we got very lucky. Luis Garcia is a bright star and he deserved the title more than we did."Fogelsonger had the highest winning percentage for riders with more than 500 mounts, winning at a 20% clip for the year. Scott Lake dethroned Dale Capuano as the state's top conditioner, winning 70 races, five more than the perennial champion for the calendar year at Pimlico and Laurel Park. Capuano had been the top conditioner in the state for seven of the previous eight years. The 40-year-old Lake, who has horses stabled in Maryland, New York, Delaware, Florida and Pennsylvania, had finished second to Capuano in 2000, 2001 and 2003."It really means something to me," said Lake. "We were thinking about getting out of Maryland but revamped some things this year. It feels great to win the overall title."Lake and Capuano shared the Laurel Park fall meeting title. Each won 24 races during the stand.
Howard Wolfendale took the percentage title, saddling winners at a 24% rate for the year at Pimlico and Laurel, winning 40-of-166. For the fourth consecutive year the powerful stable of owner Michael Gill won the most races in Maryland. The familiar blue colors won 86 races at Pimlico and Laurel Park in 2005, including 16 during the fall stand. It was the 14th consecutive meeting won at the major Maryland tracks for the New Hampshire native. Team Gill has 508 victories in the state since moving a stable here in late 2001.Robert Cole Jr. was a distant second winning 22 races, including 10 during the fall meeting.