Claims lay claim to Brown's training success

July 18, 2004|BY LARRY YANOS

Three claims, three wins.

That was the situation trainer Ronney Brown found himself in last Saturday night at Charles Town Races & Slots.

"I claimed three horses, ran them all back the same night and all three won, that's pretty unusual," Brown said.

The horses were Very Clever, Killarney Kutie and A Diller a Dollar.

"I ran Very Clever and A Diller a Dollar at the same level and dropped Killarney Kutie a bit," Brown said. "And two of them - Killarney Kutie and A Dller a Dollar - got claimed right back."

Very Clever competed in a $22,000 claiming race at 4 1/2-furlongs and returned $7.20 to win; Killarney Kutie competed in a $21,000 claiming race at 6 1/2-furlongs and returned $6.20; and A Diller a Dollar competed in a $21,000 claiming race at 4 1/2-furlongs and returned $5.40.


It just proves that Brown is having another banner year.

He ranks 20th in the national trainers' standings with 73 wins, 64 places and 44 shows from 360 starts. His horses have earned $1,230,670.

He has won Charles Town's winter and spring meet titles and is in the hunt for his fourth consecutive overall championship at the West Virginia thoroughbred oval.

As usual, Brown is racing mostly at Charles Town in 2004 but occasionally ships to the Maryland racetracks, Penn National and Delaware Park.

The 2001 overall title was Brown's first since entering the thoroughbred horse racing business in 1983.

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

Brown, a Frederick County native, started working in the thoroughbred horse racing industry in 1983 at Charles Town. He has faithfullly stabled horses there throughout his career, but transfered many of his rides to Penn National from 1992-99 when the future of racing at Charles Town was in doubt.

Done deal

The Maryland Racing Commission approved the summer racing dates agreed upon by the Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.

Pimlico will feature live racing from July 31-Aug. 27 on a Thursday-Sunday schedule. Eight-race cards will run on Thursdays and Fridays while nine races will be contested on Saturdays and Sundays.

Post time will be 1:10 p.m. with a Maryland-bred stakes race scheduled for the four Saturday cards of the 16-day meet.

After the eight-day Timonium state fair meet, live racing will return at Pimico on Sept. 9 for the four-week summer-fall run, featuring a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule.

"We feel that a schedule of this type will enable us to put on the most competitive meetings possible during the months of August and September," said Lou Raffetto, Maryland Jockey Club's chief operating officer.

Pony Tales

Stewart Elliott, who guided Smarty Jones to wins at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, won a 2004 ESPY award as Best Jockey from ESPN. Elliott bested Jerry Bailey, Edgar Prado and Alex Solis.

The ESPY Awards are based on fan balloting conducted at

Horse racing lost photo finishes in two other ESPY categories. Birdstone's Belmont Stakes victory over Smarty Jones was edged in the "Best Upset" category to the Detroit Pistons' surprise NBA Finals win over the Los Angeles Lakers. "Seabiscuit" finished behind "Miracle" in the Best Sports Movie category.

The 2004 ESPY Awards, hosted by Jamie Foxx, will air on ESPN tonight at 9 p.m.

Laurel Park has been closed since mid-June during a $10-million renovation project of the backstretch and racing surfaces. Magna Entertainment Corp. is also widening both racing surfaces.

The turf course will be expanded from 75 to 142 feet, while the dirt course will be increased from 75 to 95 feet.

The Maryland Jockey Club expects live racing to return to Laurel during the first week of October for the fall meet. The marquee events are scheduled to be the Maryland Million Day (Oct. 9) and the Fall Festival of Racing (Nov. 20), headlined by the Grade I Frank De Francis Memorial Dash.

Veteran jockey Rick Wilson has returned to his home in Sykesville, Md., and continues to recover from injuries suffered during the Pimlico spring meet.

"He is doing really well," said John Salzman Jr., Wilson's agent. "He is still doing therapy on the right side of his face. Considering what happened things couldn't be better."

Wilson was injured on May 8 when his mount, Advance to Go, stumbled coming out of the gate during the second race and inadvertently kicked the jockey in the head after unseating him.

He was transferred from University Hospital to Kernan Rehabilitation Hospital in Baltimore on May 25.

"We really haven't talked about what his future plans are," added Salzman. "We'll wait to have that conversation, but he's looking into other things, such as working for the Jockeys Guild or becoming a steward."

The 50-year-old rider ranks 20th on the all-time wins list with 4,939 victories.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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