Maryland's Fogelsonger captures an Eclipse

Apprentice jockey, 21, was national leader in three categories last year

January 28, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Maryland-based Ryan Fogelsonger was honored as the nation's outstanding apprentice jockey last night at the 32nd Eclipse Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif.

"Wow. It's kind of hard being up here looking at everybody," Fogelsonger said. "I'm a little nervous."

A native of Silver Spring, Fogelsonger, 21, topped all apprentices in victories (267), earnings ($4,489,311) and winning percentage (.220), although he did not begin riding until late March and did not win a race until May 1.

Competing in a jockey colony that included six of the top 25 riders in the country based on wins, Fogelsonger led everyone nationally with 244 wins after June 30.

His real surge began when he dominated the eight-day Timonium meeting that ended on Labor Day, and he went on to capture riding titles at both the Pimlico summer-fall and Laurel Park fall meetings.

During the final 98 days at Pimlico and Laurel, he rode at least one winner 74 times and enjoyed 50 multiple-win efforts.

In voting by members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers Association, Fogelsonger easily outdistanced runner-up John McKee, who is competing in New York after breaking some of Steve Cauthen's apprentice records in Kentucky.

"It is a tremendous honor just to be a finalist," Fogelsonger said earlier this month. "I met McKee the day after Christmas at Aqueduct, and who wouldn't want to be in our shoes with all the publicity? I'm going to enjoy this entire month."

The only other Eclipse winner with Maryland ties was Richard Englander, named the top owner after leading the nation with 279 victories, 24 at Pimlico and Laurel. Englander lives in Westchester County, N.Y., but has stables throughout the country, with his Maryland stock in the charge of trainers Scott Lake and Ben Feliciano Jr.

Toccet, trained at Laurel by John Scanlan, finished second to Breeders' Cup champion Vindication, a Bob Baffert trainee, in the 2-year-old male category.

"We'll be happy to be the runner-up, because you know they say the 2-year-old champion never wins the [Kentucky] Derby," Scanlan said earlier this month.

Xtra Heat, the people's choice and 2001 champion 3-year-old filly, finished second to favored Orientate in the sprinter category. The little dynamo trained by John Salzman at Laurel won seven of 11 as a 4-year-old, including five graded stakes.

Another Breeders' Cup winner, Azeri, was chosen both Horse of the Year and the winner in the older female division.

Trained by Laura de Seroux, Azeri won eight of nine starts, including the Breeders' Cup Distaff, although she never ran against male horses, and earned more than $2.1 million for the Allen Paulsen Living Trust.

"She's a super horse," said Michael Paulsen, who accepted on behalf of his late father.

Kentucky Derby-Preakness champ War Emblem, who stumbled and finished eighth in the Belmont Stakes, took the Eclipse as the top 3-year-old male.

Familiar names ruled among the human element, with Jerry Bailey being named the top jockey and Bobby Frankel taking the trainer award.

Wire reports contributed to this article.

Eclipse winners

Horse of the Year: Azeri. 2-year-old male: Vindication. 2-year-old female: Storm Flag Flying. 3-year-old male: War Emblem. 3-year-old female: Farda Amiga. Older male: Left Bank. Older female: Azeri. Sprinter: Orientate. Male turf horse: High Chaparral. Female turf horse: Golden Apples. Steeplechaser: Flat Top. Owner: Richard Englander. Breeder: Juddmonte Farms. Jockey: Jerry Bailey. Apprentice jockey: Ryan Fogelsonger. Trainer: Bobby Frankel.

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