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2014 Calder Meet Recap

Tags: Racing News | June 30, 2014

Numerous firsts occurred during the 2014 Calder meet which began on January 3 and ran through June 29, covering 79 days of exciting live racing.

Owner Joker Racing LLC exceeded a personal best to obtain its first leading owner title, winning 21 races during the meet. Joker teamed with trainer Thomas R. Schell for all of those wins, helping Schell to capture the leading trainer title. Schell took the title with 24 wins in total, two more than runner-up Christos Gatis. Owner Lady Luck Stable and owner St. George Stable, LLC tied for second place in the owner standings with 17 wins apiece. The Joker Racing-owned and Schell-trained Don’tcallmecharley was the most victorious horse at Calder during the meet, winning five races from eight starts with one second and one third-place finishes.

Jockey Edgard Zayas won the first race of the meet and never looked back, racking up a total of 81 races over the course of six months with earnings of $1,142,323, which were almost double that of any other jockey. The 2014 Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding apprentice also led all top 10 jockeys in starts with 279, second place finishes with 53, horses in the money 177 times, a winning percentage of 29 percent, and finished in the money 63 percent on the time. Throughout the meet Zayas had 20 multi-win days, including two days in which he won four races on the card. On May 31, he won five races on a card, three of which were stakes races. This is the second year in a row in which Zayas took home the leading jockey title for the Calder meet. He won last year’s title with 89 wins and earnings of $1,513,544.

Apprentice jockey Arny Fontanez, who earned his first career victory at Calder on February 21 aboard Run Gia Run, finished second in wins with 48. Fontanez led in third-place finishes with 49. Jockey Eduardo Nunez came in third with 39 wins and finished second in earnings with $589,758.

Numerous other jockeys as well as trainers earned their first career victories and hit milestones during the Calder meet.

One month after Fontanez, apprentice jockey Wilnell Mercado scored his first win in his first career mount on March 22 aboard Times Are Tough. Apprentice jockey J.P. Vallellanes followed in April, capturing his first win aboard El Cowboy on the 27th. Apprentice jockey Ever Argueta was the final apprentice to capture his first career victory during the meet, winning aboard Tango Kid on May 9.

Jockey Jose A. Gutierrez reached the 1,000 career win milestone with a victory aboard Sharp Tongue on April 11.

Two trainers made their debuts in 2014 and successfully broke their maidens with horses that they own. Trainer Alfonso Miranda earned his first career training victory on January 3 with Miss Prim, while trainer Carlos A. Cepeda scored his first training victory in his first attempt with Salt Water Cowboy on May 23.

Two time records were broken during the meet. First, Mr. Baker broke the track record for the 5 ½-furlong distance with a time of 1:04.03 in an allowance optional claiming race on April 4 with Zayas aboard. The pair then teamed up for the Summit Preview to capture the 6-furlong Ponche Handicap on May 31. Also on Summit Preview day, R Free Roll broke the stakes record for the 6-furlong U Can Do It Handicap with a time of 1:10.00 with Zayas aboard.

Angelica Zapata won the last stakes race held during the meet – the 1-mile Nancy’s Glitter Handicap – which was her third year in a row capturing the stake. She took the 1-mile race in 2013 and the 1 1/16-mile version in 2012. Csaba captured his second-straight Memorial Handicap going a mile and a sixteenth as the only other horse two win the same Calder stake race two years in a row.