Newcomer Karamanos Edges Pino for Laurel Riding Title

(From track report)
With a victory in Friday's sixth race, Horatio Karamanos captured the riding title at Laurel Park as the 22-day summer meet came to a conclusion.

Live racing shifts to Timonium tomorrow for the eight-day state fair before returning to the major tracks at Pimlico on September 4.

Karamanos, who won the Colonial Downs riding title earlier this summer, defeated Mario Pino 31-30 for the championship.

"I'm feeling very happy because Pino is a tough rider," said Karamanos, who has won 100 races in Maryland this year. "This title is for my agent Bennie Feliciano, who brought me here over the winter. We worked hard for this and he deserves much of the credit for putting me on live horses."

Pino, who is nine wins shy from becoming the 18th jockey in history to ride 5,000 winners, appeared to tie Karamanos with a victory in the 7th race, but was disqualified and placed second for a bumping incident at the start of the race.

"I'll get pumped up when we get back to Pimlico," said Pino, who will not ride at Timonium. "It will be fun to reach the milestone at such a historic track."

Apprentice Ryan Fogelsonger was third with 26 wins. The 21-year old Silver Spring native rode winners for 15 different trainers during the meet.

In just his fourth full season as a conditioner Rodney Jenkins adds a training title to his already imposing resume. The show jumping Hall of Famer won an impressive eight races in just 20 starts.

Jenkins dominated the American show ring for three decades and retired as the sports winningest rider. He began training in the summer of 1998 and currently trains a 45-horse stable at Laurel.

The Capuano brothers, Dale and Gary, tied for second, each saddling seven winners. Dale Capuano had captured six consecutive training title in the state and leads all local conditioners with 76 wins in Maryland this year.

There was a four-way tie for 3rd place with Scott Lake, Tony Dutrow, Ben Feliciano, Jr. and Jimmy Murphy each taking six trips to the winners' circle.

Laurel Park concluded its summer meet by posting moderate wagering increases. All-sources handle totaled $63,665,495 for the 2002, compared to $54,449,264 during the same period in 2001, an increase of 17 percent.

The 2002 meet featured 22 live days and nine simulcast, while the 2001 meet had 13 live racing days and 18 simulcast.

Fifty-five of the 193 races during the meet were held on the turf, helping the field sizes grow to an average of 7.9 runners, up from 7.3 a year ago.

"We are very pleased with the meet, being able to run essentially eight horses per race," said Lou Raffetto, chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. "We promised a summer meet filled with turf racing and though we are unfortunate to be in the middle of a drought, we were lucky to be able to run so many grass races."