Magee, Concepcion Capture Laurel Titles

Veteran trainer Kieron Magee and five-pound apprentice jockey Axel Concepcion claimed their respective meet titles as Laurel Park closed its spring meet Sunday.

Magee, 62, entered the eight-race, closing-day program without a starter, but an 11-8 lead over Jamie Ness in the trainer standings. Hugh McMahon won twice Sunday to pass Ness for second, while Brittany Russell wound up fourth with seven wins.

“It feels great because I’m down to 25 horses. To pull off a training title with 25 horses, that takes some doing,” Magee said. “I lost a bunch of them, but they won on the way out. Everybody that got claimed, won. I was thrilled to win it with such few starts. To have a high percentage is fantastic.”

A native of Ireland who worked as an exercise rider for recently retired trainer Dale Capuano after coming to the U.S., Magee led all Maryland trainers in wins from 2014-2016 and now owns or shares a total of 10 meet titles at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course. It was his first meet title since Pimlico’s 2018 spring stand.

Concepcion, who turned 18 Mar. 16, entered Sunday with 12 wins, one behind co-leaders Jevian Toledo and Jeiron Barbosa. Concepcion won the opener on I Have Courage to make it a three-way tie before riding Fancee Grace C  to victory in the fifth race to earn his first riding title.

A native of Puerto Rico, where he won 21 races after attending the Escuela Vocacional Hipica jockey school and turning pro Jan. 1, Concepcion registered wins on nine of 16 racing days with doubles Apr. 1, 13, 14 and 29 prior to Sunday.

Represented by agent Tom Stift, Concepcion made his Maryland debut Feb. 24 and picked up his first winner, Shinelikeadiamond, the next day at Laurel in his fifth U.S. mount.

“I’m very confident for my work and the job Tom does for me. I don’t have pressure. The wins are coming and thank God for two wins today,” Concepcion said. “I ride all my horses with confidence. Thanks to all the owners and trainers that help me. In the morning I work very hard for this, my first meet that I win. I’m very grateful. Thanks to everyone for giving me the opportunity. I’m ready for Pimlico.”

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