OZONE PARK, N.Y. — Chad Brown registered his fourth consecutive New York Racing Association year-end training title, jockey Manny Franco picked up his first crown and Michael Dubb earned his fifth straight title on the circuit as the curtain came down on racing for the year on Dec. 31 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Brown, who has won back-to-back Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer for 2016-17 also topped the standings for 2018 according to Equibase. He saddled 154 winners at NYRA tracks, which encompasses Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct, for earnings of $15.62 million.
Brown, 40, has been atop the year-end leaders every year since 2015 and finished the 2018 campaign 39 wins ahead of the next closest competitor in Rudy Rodriguez, who was the only other trainer to register a triple-digit wins with 115.
Brown's 2018 win total, in which his horses finished 154-128-76 in 580 total starts, is the most the Mechanicville, N.Y. native has compiled in a year on the NYRA circuit, exceeding the 148 wins he tallied in 2017. His horses posted a 26.55 percent winning percentage.
"It's been a great year. My staff did an unbelievable job and I'm thankful for my loyal clients and all the good horses I've had the opportunity to train," Brown said. "NYRA has done a fantastic job of providing us excellent surfaces to both train and race on and offered a wide variety of races that suited most of our horses well. It's our home circuit and we're happy to be running the bulk of our operation at NYRA."
In 2018, Brown won individual meet titles for Aqueduct spring, Belmont spring/summer and Saratoga, where he set a meet record with 46 wins, shattering the previous record of 40 he set in 2016 and was later tied by Todd Pletcher in 2017. He also won the Belmont fall meet crown
Among Brown's many standout performers was posting seven of his 20 Grade 1 wins at NYRA tracks, highlighted by Patternrecognition's win in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, Separationofpowers in the Longines Test and Sistercharlie in the Diana at Saratoga, and Wow Cat [Beldame], Complexity [Champagne], A Raving Beauty [Longines Just a Game], and Fourstar Crook [Flower Bowl] at Belmont.
"All of them were special. It's hard to win Grade 1 races anywhere, particularly in New York where it's the toughest racing in the country," Brown said. "We feel very fortunate that we had horses good enough to win seven Grade 1 races at NYRA and hopefully we'll continue the success into 2019."
Franco earned the first two NYRA meet titles of his career during 2018, finishing atop the Aqueduct winter and Aqueduct fall leaderboards. For the year, the Carolina, Puerto Rico native won 244 races from 1,366 mounts with earnings of more than $15.81 million.
On Sept. 29, Franco piloted Discreet Lover, at 45-1, to a Grade 1 win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont. Among his other highlights was leading Holy Helena to a win in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay, Lady Montdore in the Grade 2 Glens Falls and Positive Spirit in the Grade 2 Demoiselle.
Franco's win total for the year was 41 more than Irad Ortiz, Jr., who was second after winning the year-end riding title in 2017.
"I'm very blessed and very happy with the year I had," Franco said. "I'm thankful to my agent and the trainers and owners who gave me a chance to make this happen. Every year, I always wanted to win a title, because in New York, it's such a tough jockey colony and the talent level is very high. I hope I can continue to build on this.
"I think the win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup was the highlight for me. That one — doing it at Belmont and against those odds — that was special."
Dubb's 68 winners put him atop the year-end owner standings for the seventh time in nine years. Dubb, who has been the top owner every year since 2014, also was the year-end leader in 2010 and 2012 and closed the 2018 campaign with $5,913,187 in purse earnings.
Ortiz finished the year as the North American leading jockey earnings for the first time according to final statistics released by Equibase Company LLC, the Thoroughbred industry’s official database for racing information.
Irad Ortiz Jr. reached the winner’s circle 346 times from 1,616 mounts and ended the year with earnings of $27,727,039. Finishing second after being the leading rider by earnings last year was Ortiz Jr.’s brother, Jose Ortiz, with 264 wins from 1,513 mounts and earnings of $26,801,159.
Rounding out the list of top 10 jockeys by North American earnings in 2018 were Javier Castellano, $22,125,615 (207 wins / 1,020 starts); Joel Rosario, $21,538,452 (160/916); Florent Geroux, $21,471,603 (179/959); John Velazquez, $18,074,053 (161/823); Manuel Franco, $17,068,709 (251/1,419); Luis Saez, $17,031,716 (245/1,465); Ricardo Santana Jr., $14,036,047 (189/1,075); and Flavien Prat, $12,933,522 (182/829).
Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (Gr. 1) winner Gun Runner led all Thoroughbreds in North American earnings with $7,000,000. The 2017 Horse of the Year, Gun Runner, entered stud for the 2018 breeding season after his Pegasus World Cup win in January. Accelerate, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic and four other grade 1 races, finished second in earnings with $5,005,000. Triple Crown winner Justify, who was undefeated in his six races en route to becoming only the 13th winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, rounded out the top three with earnings of $3,798,000.
The year-end compilations are distributed annually by Equibase and include results from Thoroughbred racing in North America from Jan. 1, through Dec. 31. Expanded North American racing leaders’ lists that include all trainers, jockeys, owners, and horses are available within the statistical section at equibase.com.
Completing the list of top 10 horses by North American earnings were Monomoy Girl with $2,818,200 , Gunnevera with $2,484,600, Enable (GB) with $2,200,000, Sistercharlie (IRE) with $2,054,200, Good Magic with $1,728,400, West Coast with $1,720,000, and Midnight Bisou with $1,535,000.
Seven out of the top 10 leading horses by earnings in 2018 participated in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships with four on the list having won (Accelerate, Monomoy Girl, Enable, and Sistercharlie) and two others having placed (Gunnevera, second; Midnight Bisou, third) in their respective races.
Brown, who led all trainers in earnings for the third consecutive year, sent out the winners of 224 races from 297 starters with 839 starts for earnings of $27,546,057 in 2018. (Brown’s results in 2018 once again included an impressive record on turf, leading all trainers for the seventh consecutive year with a record of 140 wins from 191 starters with 500 starts on grass and earnings of $17,260,362.) Steve Asmussen, who has led the list twice, finished second in 2018 with his horses having won 401 races from 513 starters with 1,905 starts for earnings of $26,457,276.
Completing the list of top 10 trainers by North American earnings in 2018 were Todd Pletcher, $18,373,767 (215 wins / 975 starts / 334 starters); Bob Baffert $17,017,899 (113/348/123); Brad Cox, $15,182,346 (243 /921/299); Mark Casse, $14,946,783 (221/1,249/337); Michael Maker, $9,645,601 (191/1,167/314); John Sadler, $8,914,045 (59/415/116); Karl Broberg, $8,078,228 (509/1,837/466); and Peter Miller, $8,035,634 (133/584/162).
Equibase Company is a partnership between The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America and serves as the Thoroughbred industry’s official database. Through its website and mobile applications, Equibase offers a comprehensive menu of wagering products, statistical information and video race replays in support of the North American Thoroughbred racing industry. Additional information is available at equibase.com.
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