No Win for Leatherbury as Laurel Meet Ends

(from Laurel Park notes)
The 22-day Laurel Park summer meet ended Friday with Ryan Fogelsonger, Jerry Robb and Michael Gill winning individual titles, but trainer King Leatherbury failed to win his milestone 6,000th race.

Live racing shifts to Timonium Saturday for the eight-day state fair meet. The Pimlico summer-fall stand begins on September 3.

In the jockey standings, Fogelsonger edged veteran Rick Wilson, 25-23, for the top spot for his fifth consecutive title at the major Maryland tracks. Wilson won races at an impressive 27% clip. Abel Castellano, Jr. finished in third place with 20 wins, while Mario Pino and Horacio Karamanos tied for fourth with 19 victories.

"You always like to finish with a bang and it didn't look good until last Sunday when we were able to have a big day and win five," said Fogelsonger, the 2002 Eclipse Award winner for outstanding apprentice who is leaving Pimlico and Laurel for the Southern California circuit. After 17 months of riding, he has amassed 495 wins and $8.7 million in earnings.

"I will definitely miss Maryland," Fogelsonger said. "Not only did I learn how to ride here but I also grew up in the state. But it is time for a change and I am going to give this a shot."

Robb won his first Laurel Park training title, winning with 10 of 32 starters and turning back Carlos Garcia, who was an impressive eight-of-20 for the meet. Newcomer Nick Canani, Rodney Jenkins, Richard Small and Hamilton Smith tied for third with six trips to the winners' circle.

"It feels real good to break through after being so close for a long period of time," said Robb, who has finished in the top five in six of the last eight meets at Pimlico and Laurel. "I'm proud we did it with a high percentage because that was important to us."

Michael Gill dominated the owner standings for the third straight meet, winning 17 races, fourteen more than any other owner. Gill, who leads the nation in wins and earnings, has 83 victories in Maryland this year.

Leatherbury ended the Laurel summer meet without a winner in 26 starts and remains one win away from becoming the third trainer in history to saddle 6,000 victories.

"Who would have thought at the beginning of the meet that we wouldn't win a race?" said Leatherbury. "I wanted to win it here at Laurel and would have bet anyone $5,000 it would happen here, but we didn't get it done. I am very dissatisfied."

His Apache Thunder finished third in the second race Friday. Leatherbury began the stand needing just two wins to join Dale Baird (8,819 victories) and Jack Van Berg (6,334) in the 6,000 win club. He shipped to Charles Town on Aug. 7 and picked up win his 5,999th but wasn't able to secure the milestone victory in 13 further attempts.

Certantee and Karamanos carried the colors of Sondra Bender to a thrilling victory in Friday's $75,000 Find Handicap, the closing day feature of the summer meeting.

Certantee covered the grassy nine furlongs in 1:52.12 over an infield course rated soft. The Known Fact gelding raced in a stalking, mid-pack position until Karamanos turned him loose at the top of the lane. Certantee charged up the inside, angled out behind the leader and was up just in time, surging by Love To Tango to win by neck. Move Those Chains was third.

The winner, who is trained by Larry Murray, paid $5.20 as the betting favorite and topped a $64.60 exacta. The trifecta paid $219.80.

(Chart, Equibase)