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At the races - Brown, Mawing savor taste of success

January 11, 2004|by LARRY YANOS

Ronnie Brown claimed his third straight trainers title in 2003 at Charles Town Races & Slots, while Anthony Mawing captured his first jockeys' championship.

According to statistics provided by Charles Town publicity director Jeff Gilleas, trainer Brown led the way at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval with 139 wins, while Mawing won 203 races.

Brown had 750 starters in 2003 and finished with a winning percentage of 19. He won two of the four meets, tied overall second-place finisher Jeff Runco once and lost to Runco on another occasion.

Runco had 603 starters in 2003 and saddled 113 winners. Bruce Kravets was third with 56 wins and Henry Worcester III was fourth with 38 wins.

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"I had a good year," the 42-year-old Brown said. "I have just about all claiming horses and it's tough here right now. You run a claimer and it often gets claimed. I have many horses in my barn now that I have run, got claimed, and then I have claimed back. It's happening a lot. It's hard to keep them and hard to get them back."

In 2003, Brown competed mostly at Charles Town, saddling only three other winners "away from home." That was at Penn National in Grantville, Pa.

"I've never liked to ship horses and last year was no exception," Brown said. "Why go anywhere else? I love it here, been here 20 years. The purses are great and I have some good owners. I didn't fool with the other racetracks and never ran a horse in Maryland or Delaware in 2003."

Brown says the three stars of his barn in 2003 were Tour of the Rose, Jaworski and Original Gold.

"Tour of the Rose and Jaworski were both $5,000 claimers," Brown said. "Tour of the Rose won six races and Jaworski won five. They are both hard-knocking claimers. And Original Gold placed in two stakes races."

Brown entered the thoroughbred horse racing business in 1983 and never won a championship until 2001.

"I had won meet championships, but never an overall title," Brown said.

The champion trainer was born and raised in Frederick County and started in thoroughbred horse racing in 1983 at Charles Town. He has stabled horses there throughout, with the exception of 1992 through 1999, when he took his horses to Penn National.

"Things were not going so good in '92. The video lottery was voted down and the future of the racetrack was uncertain," Brown said. "I had some good years at Penn National, usually was in the trainers' standings, but I was happy to return here."

In the jockeys standings, Mawing had 1,360 mounts in 2003 and had 203 wins, 160 seconds and 181 thirds for a winning percentage of 15.

Mawing was followed by: Oscar Flores, 937 mounts, 172 wins, 138 seconds and 114 thirds; Travis Dunkelberger, 766 mounts, 160 wins, 145 seconds and 95 thirds; and J.D. Acosta, 817 mounts, 118 wins, 115 seconds and 90 thirds.

The 34-year-old Mawing had an exceptional year.

"I think I won 15 stakes here at Charles Town and one or two in Maryland," Mawing said. "Before last year, I was traveling a lot between Charles Town and Maryland. My family and I decided to settle down in West Virginia and it made a world of difference."

Before 2003, Mawing says he was constantly on the road between Charles Town and either Pimlico or Laurel.

"It got to be too much, very tiring," Mawing said. "I decided to settle down in West Virginia and it was the right thing to do. I still will ride some in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania but most of my race-riding will be in Charles Town."

Mawing's favorite horses in 2003 included: Gang, a horse he won with on Preakness Day at the Pimlico Race Course; Cape Power, a horse he rode to victory in the West Virginia Breeders Classics feature; and Donald's Pride, who has won five straight races with Mawing up.

What makes Mawing's accomplishment stand out even more is he does not ride for any of the leading trainers in the standings.

"I ride for a lot of trainers," Mawing said. "I'm my own agent and I choose my own horses. I appreciate the opportunity to ride these horses and try to do my best for everyone."

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 America in 1995.

Mawing rode on the West Coast, primarily Oregon and Washington, before making the switch to Maryland in 2000. That move 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."

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

Mawing says Charles Town has such potential.

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

Eclipse finalists


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