Claudio Gonzalez secures Laurel winter meet title
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Claudio Gonzalez won twice March 26 to secure the meet training title at Laurel Park.
Gonzalez continued a torrid March — he’s won 10 times this month at Laurel — to reach 24 training wins during the winter meet, which concludes Sunday, March 27. That’s one more win than Jerry Robb, who has 23.
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Gonzalez and Robb entered the weekend neck-and-neck for the title, Robb holding a slim, 22-21 edge. But it was Gonzalez who appeared the more likely winner, as he entered the weekend with 13 runners entered. Robb, by contrast, had just three.
Robb went 0-for-2 on Friday, while Gonzalez posted one win to draw even. On Saturday Robb took the first with 3-10 favorite Minnetonka, with Gonzalez answering in race five with Ridiculous (7-2).
Four races later, in a third-level allowance/optional claimer, Gonzalez sent out Plot the Dots and Money Ride to finish one-two, the former paying $7.80 as the 2.90-1 third choice under jockey Kevin Gomez.
Robb has no scheduled runners on Sunday. No other trainer is close enough to reel Gonzalez in.
The meet title continues a remarkable run of dominance for Gonzalez. The 45-year-old native of Chile has now won seven consecutive Laurel Park meets and 12 of the last 13 dating to 2018. He’s also taken the last two Pimlico meets by total wins. He’s now won 17 meet titles at Laurel, as well as two at Pimlico. He still has a ways to go to catch King Leatherbury, who won or shared more than 50 training titles at Laurel and Pimlico.
Gonzalez has won at a 23% clip during the meet. Among trainers were 20 or more starters, Robb’s 35% strike rate will be tops.
Among jockeys, Jevian Toledo will lead the meet. With one day left, Toledo has 38 wins and an insurmountable 10-win lead over apprentice Jean Alvelo. Toledo has won with 38 of 153 mounts, good for a 25% strike rate. Victor Carrasco has a slight lead among riders in purse earnings entering the meet’s final day. Carrasco’s mounts have earned $1,328,767, about $17,000 more than Toledo’s mounts.