At the races - Brown closing in on sixth title

October 23, 2005|By Larry Yanos

Charles Town-based trainer Ronney Brown is enjoying another successful year.

He is among the top-ranked trainers in the country with 121 victories and is on his way to an unprecedented sixth straight trainers' title at Charles Town Races & Slots.

Original Gold's victory in the $250,000 Cavada West Virginia Breeders Classic earlier this month is one of Brown's top wins at Charles Town.

"When I was at Penn National, I was amazed that Mario Beneito put together nine consecutive trainers' titles. I thought it was an unmatchable feat," Brown said. "I have a good chance to get No. 6. It's quite an honor because the competition (at Charles Town) is very tough."


Once again, Brown has led the way - in a variety of ways.

"I run horses at all levels and I'm still very much in the claiming business," Brown said. "Over the last two years, I've probably claimed nearly 300 horses for a number of different trainers."

Brown currently has 70 horses in training - including the 5-year-old Original Gold.

"She's a nice one," Brown said. "I don't run her often but, when I do, she's very competitive."

Original Gold has won the last two $250,000 Cavada Breeders Classic races and has been to the starting gate just eight times in the past two years.

Following a win in the Cavada last October, Brown gave her three prep races prior to this year's event.

"I trained her up to the race. I wanted her to be at her best," Brown said. "When horses run the year around, it's tough on them. A lighter schedule is much better."

Brown said Original Gold, who sports six wins, four seconds and two thirds in 14 career starts, may start one more time in 2005. It would be an allowance race.

The thoroughbred was ridden to victory by jockey Ramon Dominguez in 2004, but Brown switched to Travis Dunkelberger this year.

"They are both excellent jockeys, but Trav works the horse all year. I felt he should ride her," Brown said.

Brown was born and raised in Frederick County and started in thoroughbred horse racing in 1983 at Charles Town. He has stabled horses there from 1983-92 and since 1999.

Breeders' Cup Saturday

The Breeders' Cup, thoroughbred racing's $14 million year-end championship day, will be held Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

The $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic will be run as the last of the eight Breeders' Cup races, as it has since the event's inception in 1984.

The lineup: $1 million Alberto VO5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies; $1.5 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile; $1 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf; $1 million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint; $1.5 million NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile; $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff; and $2 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf.

A total of 117 thoroughbreds have been pre-entered, the most since 2000.

Pony tales

Peeping Tom, an 8-year-old gelding who has earned $1,414,747, competed in an allowance race Thursday at Charles Town.

The thoroughbred, trained by Michael Dickinson of A Huevo fame, finished fifth.

Jockey Steve Hamilton, the third leading rider at the major Maryland tracks this year, has decided to take off the rest of 2005.

The 32-year-old rider captured the Pimlico spring meeting for the second straight year and had 107 victories at Pimlico and Laurel Park this year.

A top-five rider in Maryland five times during the 1990s, Hamilton was out of racing from 2001-03 while working on the oil fields in native Oklahoma. He returned in January 2004 and less than 18 months later had a mount in the Preakness Stakes, riding local entry Malibu Moonshine.

Hamilton has 1,199 career winners.

Maryland-based jockey Erick Rodriguez suffered another setback when doctors discovered a hairline fracture in his left leg. He is expected to be out four to six weeks.

Rodriguez, who was injured in a spill on Oct. 5, returned to action Oct. 13 but took off after one mount.

The 25-year-old missed the entire Pimlico spring meeting after fracturing four vertebrae in his back from a spill at Laurel Park on April 14. He rode 12 winners to capture the brief Pimlico summer stand and ranks seventh at the major Maryland tracks this year with 74 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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