From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Despite the rough winter weather, jockey Sheldon Russell and trainer Claudio Gonzalez will have nothing but fond memories of the just-completed Laurel Park winter meeting.
Russell was the meet’s leading rider with 43 winners, four more than Jevian Toledo. For his part, Gonzalez was the leading trainer with 20 victories, four more than Hugh McMahon.
Russell, who won the 1,000th race of his career earlier this year in the Cat Cay Stakes at Aqueduct, was the leading rider at all three Maryland meets in 2011 and was second in the rider standings at the major Maryland tracks in 2013.
“I’m very happy. Winter racing can be very tough, especially this winter, but keeping positive, keeping momentum and winning races makes it easier and makes it all worthwhile,” Russell said. “It feels very good to win the winter meet. Big thanks to all the trainers and owners who have supported me and also to my agent Marty Leonard, who made this all possible.
“The goal for Pimlico is to try to stay on top. The main thing is to stay healthy, and continue doing well. My goal is to be the all-year leading rider here in Maryland, so to win the first meet of the year is huge. I couldn’t be happier.”
Gonzalez shared the 2014 Laurel winter meet title with four other trainers. The 38-year-old native of Chile won his first training title at the Laurel fall meet. He was the fourth-leading trainer during the 2013 Monmouth Park meet.