Laurel’s Barbosa Eclipse Apprentice Finalist

January 8, 2023

Barbosa got three wins on the day in November. (Maryland Jockey Club Photo)

~ 19YO Won Three Individual Meet Titles in Maryland in 2022
~ Caravel Among Finalists for Champion Female Sprinter

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

LAUREL, Md. – Teenage jockey Jeiron Barbosa, based year-round in Maryland, was named Saturday as one of three Eclipse Award finalists for North America’s champion apprentice rider of 2022.

Barbosa, who turned 19 Dec. 18, is joined by Vincente Del-Cid and Jose Antonio Gomez. Louisiana-based Del-Cid, out since late November with an injury, led all apprentice riders with 246 wins while Gomez, who rode primarily in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, was tops with more than $7 million in purse earnings.

A native of Puerto Rico, Barbosa continues to ride with his five-pound weight allowance. He enters Sunday’s live eight-race program at Laurel Park tied atop the standings with five wins at the winter meet, which began Jan. 1.

In 2022, Barbosa ranked second in wins (182) and purses earned ($5,685,182) and was third with 1,033 starters among apprentice riders. He could become the 13th Maryland-based rider to win the apprentice Eclipse and first since Alexander Crispin in 2020.

Other Maryland riders to earn the Eclipse Award as champion apprentice are Hall of Famers Chris McCarron (1974) and Kent Desormeaux (1987) as well as Ronnie Franklin (1978), Alberto Delgado (1982), Allen Stacy (1986), Mike Luzzi (1989), Mark Johnston (1990), Jeremy Rose (2001), Ryan Fogelsonger (2002), Victor Carrasco (2013) and Weston Hamilton (2018).

The 52nd Eclipse Awards ceremony will take place Thursday, Jan. 26 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.

Barbosa won three titles in Maryland in 2022 – the spring and fall stands at Laurel Park as well as historic Pimlico Race Course’s boutique fall meet. He ended the year with 107 wins at the two tracks, ranking second only to four-time overall champion Jevian Toledo.

Barbosa launched his pro career Jan. 1, 2022 in Puerto Rico and won three of 72 races before coming to the U.S. Just two days after arriving, he earned his first domestic wins on each of his first two mounts – Heliacial Rising and Ludicrous Mode – March 25 at Laurel. Barbosa picked up his first career stakes win with Music Amore in Laurel’s Searching Aug. 6.

Caravel #3 with Florent Geroux won the Very One Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse on Friday May 14, 2021. Photo by Bill Denver/MJC

Another Eclipse Award finalist with Maryland connections is Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables’ Caravel in the champion female sprinter category, joined by 2021 champion 2-year-old filly Echo Zulu and 2022 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winner Goodnight Olive.

Caravel was bred by Maryland native Elizabeth Merryman, who initially owned and trained the now 6-year-old Mizzen Mast mare to six wins and two thirds in eight starts before selling majority interest to celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Four of those wins came in stakes, including the 2021 The Very One at Pimlico.

Merryman remained trainer and co-owner for a victory in the 2021 Caress (G3) at Saratoga before Caravel was moved to Graham Motion. This year she joined the barn of trainer Brad Cox and raced eight times with five wins, three in graded stakes, capped by a 42-1 upset over males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).

Notes: Jockey Jevian Toledo and trainer Brittany Russell teamed up for two winners Saturday, Gamestonks ($10) in Race 7 and Goldbar ($6) in Race 9 … Indian Lake ($19) edged Threes Over Deuces in featured Race 4, a six-furlong optional claiming allowance for older sprinters. The winning time was 1:11.44.

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