Heading into Friday’s closing day winter meet card, Jaime Rodriguez and Jamie Ness appear poised to top the jockey and trainer divisions for Laurel Park’s concluding Winter Meet.
Rodriguez, 32, holds an 11-win advantage over five-pound apprentice Jeiron Barbosa in the rider standings, 58-47, with eight races remaining. Rodriguez is named in four races Friday, while Barbosa is named in six. It will be the first riding title in Maryland for Rodriguez, who also leads with $1.9 million in purse earnings from 209 mounts. He led the Delaware Park standings in 2021 and 2022, averaging 124 wins.
Ness, 48, leads Brittany Russell in wins, 34-28, heading into closing day where Ness has horses entered in two races (Russell has three entered). With $1.219 million in purse earnings, Ness ranks second to Russell ($1.236 million). It will be the sixth Maryland training title for Ness and first since Pimlico Race Course’s 2019 spring meet. Others have come at Pimlico in spring of 2012 and 2015 and Laurel Park fall 2011 and 2012.
Ness is coming off a 2022 season where his horses earned a career-best $10.3 million in purses to go along with 326 wins, the fourth time he has topped the 300 mark including a personal best 395 in 2012. He ranked third in North America in wins in 2022 and 2021 (311) and fifth in 2020 (224). Ness earned his 3,900th career win with Time to Cruise March 22 at Parx, where he has dominated the trainer standings since 2020.
Laurel will open its 21-day spring meet Apr. 1 and race Thursday-Sunday through May 7 with the exception of Easter Sunday Apr. 9. Spring post time will be 12:40 p.m. with a special 12:10 p.m. post time on Kentucky Derby Day, May 6.
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