At The Races - Mawing finds home at Charles Town

July 20, 2003

Charles Town-based jockey Anthony Mawing has journeyed around the world but is pleased to call Charles Town home for now.

So pleased, in fact, he will probably not accept a friends' invitation to ride horses in China.

"I got a call this week, asking if I would be interested in returning to China," Mawing said. "I rode there once and I did pretty well. I have to discuss it further with my wife and family but I doubt if I'd leave Charles Town. I like it here, I've had good success this year and I'm happy. The jockey colony gets stronger all the time but I've done all right."

The 34-year-old rider has done more than all right.

He won the spring meet title and has an early cushion toward the summer meet crown.

Born and raised in South Africa, Mawing lived in England for four years before coming to the United States in 1992. He later returned to South Africa for two years before returning to this country in 1995.


Mawing rode on the west coast, primarily Oregon and Washington State, before making the switch to Maryland in 2000.

The move to the Free State was a stepping stone toward coming to Charles Town in 2001.

"I came to Maryland basically because I was looking for a place that offered year-around racing," Mawing said. "At first, I was riding just in Maryland, then Maryland at day and Charles Town at night, then Maryland, Charles Town and Delaware Park. It got to be too much. I know you have to prove yourself when coming to a new place, but I was spending so much time on the road. There were some days I was riding horses at three different racetracks."

Now, Mawing calls Charles Town home with only an occasional journey to other tracks.

"I have some folks in Maryland and Delaware who I will ride for but I'm happy just to stay here," Mawing said. "I rode some at Colonial Downs (near Richmond, Va.) this summer but it's too tiring of a trip, especially with 95 being torn up. It's not good business, though, to ride a horse down there and give up your mounts at Charles Town, not good business at all."

Speaking of business, Mawing takes care of business - himself.

"I don't have an agent. I know what horses I'm riding," Mawing said. "I have a good rapport with owners and trainers, I know how to deal with people. I appreciate them allowing me to ride their horses."

Through thoroughbred horse racing, Mawing has gained friendships all over the world.

He rode at the Macau Racetrack in China three years ago.

"Their winter meet is filled with good stakes races and I spent about three-four months there," Mawing said of his experience in China. "I can remember one race, I rode the favorite in a $2 1/2 million stakes race. He was a crazy horse and nobody wanted to ride him. We finished second."

Mawing also rode in Hong Kong and Singapore and would probably ride there again if he decides to attend the winter race meeting in China.

Mawing says Charles Town has such potential.

"It's getting better all of the time," Mawing said. "The better purse distribution will attract the better riders and better horses. It makes a big difference. Everything will be for the better."

Owners' Day upon us

Charles Town Races & Slots will host its annual Owners Day today with four $40,000 stakes races highlighting the 10-race program.

Dick Watson, president of the Charles Town Division-Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, expects close to 1,000 owners and horsemen to visit the West Virginia thoroughbred oval.

The stakes schedule includes:

  • The $40,000 Almost Heaven Stakes for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds-and-upwards at 4 1/2 furlongs.

  • The $40,000 Opequon Stakes for 3-year-olds-and-upwards at 4 1/2 furlongs.

  • The $40,000 West Virginia Oaks for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds-and-upwards at 7 furlongs.

  • The $40,000 Jefferson County Stakes for 3-year-olds-and-upwards at 7 furlongs.

Watson said John Deere riding mowers will be awarded during the Owners' Day racing card.

Laurel Park action

Following a six-week break, live racing returns to Maryland Thursday.

The 22-day Laurel Park summer meet features six stakes races, including the $75,000 Twixt Stakes on opening day.

The highlights of the meet are likely to be a training milestone for the king of Maryland racing and the magical return of one of America's favorite horses.

Maryland's own King Leatherbury is at the threshold of saddling 6,000 winners, a feat accomplished by only two other trainers in history.

Leatherbury is just two winners shy of that astounding number. The 70-year old will join Dale Baird and Jack Van Berg in the elite club.

Leatherbury, who has 51 training titles at Pimlico and Laurel Park, saddled his first winner in 1959 and joined the 5,000 win club 10 years ago.

In the 1970's, he produced four consecutive 300-win campaigns and led the nation in victories in 1977 and 1978.

Leatherbury has won eight races since the Pimlico spring meet ended in early June with six victories at Charles Town and another pair at Colonial Downs.

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