Gonzalez, Toledo Repeat as Maryland Champions in 2022

January 3, 2023

Claudio Gonzalez (Maryland Jockey Club Photo)

~ Sixth Straight Year Leading Trainer Standings for Gonzalez
~ Journeyman Toledo Sets Career Highs in Wins, Purse Earnings

~ Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 Carryovers for Friday, Jan. 6

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

LAUREL, Md. – Claudio Gonzalez and Jevian Toledo both enjoyed career highs as they defended their titles as the Maryland Jockey Club’s leading trainer and jockey in 2022.

Gonzalez, a 46-year-old cancer survivor from Chile, finished with 74 wins at Laurel Park and historic Pimlico Race Course to edge Brittany Russell and Jamie Ness, who tied for second with 73 wins apiece.

It marked the sixth consecutive year that Gonzalez has led the Maryland standings, averaging 101 wins per season. He captured Laurel’s winter stand to open 2022, his 19th individual meet title in Maryland.

“It feels very good. Like I always say, it’s not easy and now six years in a row, it’s even tougher. I never thought we’d be able do something like that,” Gonzalez said. “When we won the first year, I was happy for myself and all my people, all my workers, and every year they continue. They’re very consistent, working very hard, everybody.”

Horses trained by Gonzalez bankrolled $5,626,781 in 2022, the sixth straight year he has seen an increase in seasonal purse earnings. He finished with 162 wins overall, second only to the 174 he won in 2019.

Gonzalez branched out in 2022 with a string at Monmouth Park during the summer as well as a year-round presence at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. He won the Monmouth title with 32 wins and was second with $1.3 million in purses earned and went 31-for-167 (19 percent) at Gulfstream.

“We were able to win the title at Monmouth, which is also not easy. The numbers in Florida have been really good, too, and it’s tougher there than anywhere. My assistants are really good, and I can relax. I don’t have to worry about them and that’s the key,” Gonzalez said. “The people, they see my name but it’s everybody, all the workers. They do a great job.

“My goal is to try and do the same this year, but it gets tougher and tougher every year,’ he added. “The competition is so hard everywhere, but we’re going to continue working hard and see what happens.”

Jevian Toledo (Maryland Jockey Club Photo)

Toledo, 28, won 145 races at Laurel and Pimlico for his fourth overall Maryland championship following 2015, 2017 and 2021, also banking a state-high $5,668,927. Jeiron Barbosa, a leading contender for the Eclipse Award as champion apprentice of 2022, was second with 107 wins.

Over the final three days of Laurel’s calendar year-ending fall meet Toledo registered seven wins including a four-win day Dec. 30 and a double Dec. 31 that enabled him to finish with a career-best 188 wins. He also reached a personal high with more than $7.7 million in purse earnings.

“It was a fabulous year, the best year of my career, for sure,” Toledo said. “Amazing, man. I have to thank God. He’s the one that keeps us here, and I’m just very grateful for all the opportunities I get from all the owners and trainers and all the staff, the grooms and exercise riders, and the horses, as well. They do all the work.”

Toledo led Laurel’s 2022 winter meet standings in wins and tied for first at Laurel summer, and earned his first Pimlico crown during the spring Preakness Meet, giving him 10 individual meet titles in Maryland.

Represented since 2014 by agent Marty Leonard, Toledo also captured the summer stand at Colonial Downs with 25 wins and more than $1.2 million in purse earnings. He rode 993 races in 2022, his most since 2017 (1,036), and even went to Florida to win the Captiva Island with Headline Hunter last March at Gulfstream Park.

“My agent does a tremendous job. We’ve been together for a long time already and we have a really good connection. We understand each other. Sometimes we lose races, but we win, too,” Toledo said. “We went to Colonial thinking [we’d] win one race a week and we ended up winning the whole meet. We’re always think positive about winning races, for sure, but I never expected to be leading rider over there. This is my home and I like to do well and win races here, but it felt really good to win out of Maryland , too.”

Toledo registered Maryland stakes wins in 2022 with Wondrwherecraigis in the Fire Plug, Whereshetoldmetogo in the Not For Love, Pennybaker in the Heavenly Cause, Disco Pharoah in the Frank Y. Whiteley, Caesar’s Wish with Hybrid Eclipse, Star de Naskra with Alottahope, Selima with Born Dapper and Robert T.  Manfuso with Nimitz Class.

Wondrwherecraigis, Whereshetoldmetogo and Hybrid Eclipse are all trained by Brittany Russell, for whom he won 38 of 120 races (32 percent) in 2022. They teamed up to win Race 3 Sunday – opening day of Laurel’s 2023 winter meet – with Grace and Charm ($6.20).

“Hopefully the owners and trainers keep helping me to keep going and keep winning races this year,” Toledo said.

Notes: Apprentice Jeiron Barbosa won twice Sunday with Mit Mazel ($20.20) in Race 4 and I’m Gittin There ($8.80) in Race 7 … Jockey Jaime Rodriguez also doubled aboard Ladneedsahandler ($6.60) in Race 2 and Plane Drunk ($14.40) in Race 8 … I’m Gittin There was the second of two wins on the day for trainer Hamilton Smith, following On the Mark ($4) in Race 1 … There will be carryovers of $9,877.42 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 and $701.36 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 when live racing returns to Laurel Friday, Jan. 6. Tickets with four of five winners in Sunday’s Pick 5 were worth $91.45 while those with five of six winners in the Rainbow 6 paid $710.82.

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