Timonium: That’s a wrap for 2022

Jockey Angel Cruz threw his arms up in victory after Ain’t Da Beer Cold won the feature race on closing day at Timonium September 5.

He hobbled slightly when he jumped off the horse. He collapsed in a chair, then roused himself to weigh out. He splashed a cup of water on his head, drank two more, breathing heavily.

But he couldn’t stop smiling, either.

“Why are you so happy, Angel?” his agent, Tom Stift, asked jokingly.

Why wouldn’t he be? Ain’t Da Beer Cold’s victory, in a third-level allowance, not only provided a nice pay day for trainer Kenny Cox, owners Bonuccelli Racing, Matt Spencer, and Cox’s wife Kelly, and Cruz himself, but it also put the exclamation point on a meet riding title.

“I just want to appreciate all the horsemen, the owners, the trainers, my agent Tom, we did an unbelievable job at this meet,” Cruz said. “It’s an unbelievable meet for me.”

Cruz finished with a flourish to secure the riding title with 12 wins, four more than runner-up Jeiron Barbosa. Cruz won twice on each of the last four days of the meet, while Barbosa’s chances were compromised because he had to serve a two-day suspension for a riding infraction opening weekend.

Cruz, joined in the winner’s circle by his three-year-old son – “He’s my number one fan,” the rider said – wasn’t the only person happy with the Timonium meet.

Trainer Anthony Farrior arrived on a mission to secure a meet title and accomplished that. While he tied with Brian Brooks with a meet-topping four wins, Farrior earned the “large barn” points title. The system, developed by racing secretary Georganne Hale, gives points for starts, wins, and other high placings.

Farrior’s four wins and 32 starts gave him a total of 80 points – well clear of Jerry Robb’s 49 points (three wins and nine in-the-money finishes from 17 starts) – and earned him a bonus of $5,000.

Among smaller operations, Clovis Crane took home the title and the $5,000 bonus. His win and third from three starts gave him 10 points and left him just clear of Andrew Murtaugh (9 points with a second-place finish from two starters).

Three horses won twice during the seven-day stand, with Highland Dream, Checotah, and Emma and I all doing so. They were among 21 to make two starts during the meet, a roster that also included Breviary. She won the Timonium Distaff on the first Saturday of the meet, then ran second the following Sunday in a starter allowance.

On the business side of the ledger, handle – not necessarily the best metric to measure Timonium’s meet – rose nearly 10 percent from 2021, according to the o_crunk Twitter account, which tracks handle and other data. That rise occurred though field size declined slightly, from 6.08 horses per race to 5.83.