Edited Press Release
Victor Carrasco went winless with his only three mounts on the afternoon but finished as the leading rider with 36 victories, three more than Jevian Toledo, who rode four winners Sunday on his 23rd birthday to cap a six-win weekend.
Carrasco, 25, had his summer ended prematurely by injuries the past two years but finished this summer strong to earn his fourth Maryland riding title and first since Pimlico’s 2015 spring meet. He entered Sunday leading Sheldon Russell by six wins and Toledo by seven.
Toledo swept the first two races to move into second place with 31 wins, one ahead of Russell, who was unseated by his mount, maiden filly Steve Said Don’t, exiting the gate for the third race and took off the rest of the day as a precaution.
Carrasco, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice of 2013, missed nearly six weeks with a fractured shoulder blade suffered in an April 2 spill at Laurel, returning to win with his first mount back May 11 at Pimlico.
“It’s always good to be on top. I’m just coming back from an injury and I’m glad. It always takes time to start over again,” Carrasco said. “People want to see you riding and see you confident and doing your best. We started off a little slow but then we started picking up business and now we’re on top. I’m very grateful to all the trainers and owners and all the hot walkers and grooms and exercise riders in the mornings, and here I am.”
The state’s third-leading rider in 2016 that finished in the top four in all four MJC meets last year, Carrasco had nine days with at least two wins this summer. Represented by agent Tom Stift, he won three races three times, most recently Aug. 13, had a four-win day on the first Saturday of the meet, June 10, and captured the Mister Diz with Phlash Phelps June 24.
“My agent and I have been together since I first got to Maryland four years ago. We’re really happy with what we’ve been doing. He’s part of my winners and I really want to thank him for all his hard work,” Carrasco said. “We’re looking forward to the fall meet here at Laurel.”
Toledo bookended Sunday’s card sweeping the opening daily double aboard Broken Bridle ($6) in the first race and Barcraft ($4) in the second and the late double with If I Was a Boy ($5.60) in the 10th and Odlum in the 11th ($10.40).
“Nothing better than that,” Toledo said. “Thank God for everything, to keep me healthy and give me another year. Thanks to the owners and trainers for the opportunity and everyone that does the job in the morning. They put me on the right horses. My agent [Marty Leonard] does a great job and I just do the riding. The races looked even but I always like my horses. I always give 100 percent and try really hard. I asked them today and they gave me everything they had.”
Click here to see Laurel Park’s riding title history http://jockeytalk360.com/historical-riding-stats/laurel-park-riding-titles/