Trainer Chad Brown picked up his fourth consecutive Belmont Park spring/summer individual meet title in runaway fashion with 38 wins, while Jose Lezcano earned his first New York riding title with 44 victories as the 48-day meet drew to a close Sunday. Klaravich Stables posted 12 wins to pace all owners, while racking up over $1.5 million in earnings.
Brown, who is a heavy favorite to take his fifth consecutive New York Racing Association year-end leading trainer championship, had double the wins of his nearest pursuers, as Rudy Rodriguez and Todd Pletcher tied for second with 19 scores. His meet was highlighted by 14 graded stakes victories, including three Grade Is on GI Belmont S. day June 8.
Lezcano, the 34-year-old Panamanian who rode longshot Henley’s Joy (Kitten’s Joy) to an upset victory in Saturday’s GI Belmont Derby, eked out his title over Luis Saez, who was one back with 43 wins. Jose Ortiz was third in the competitive jockeys’ race with 40, while Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Joel Rosario were close in tow with 39 apiece.
“It’s been a very good meet. All the trainers have given me great opportunities and I’m very grateful for them,” Lezcano said. “You have to run for the right people. I thank my agent, Jason Beides, for all his hard work. When you win, you get more opportunities; more horses and better horses and you get more work. In New York, there’s so many good riders. Luis, Irad, Jose, Johnny V [Velazquez], and all the young riders, too, it’s just real competitive.”
NYRA’s live racing resumes with opening day Thursday at Saratoga. First post is 1 p.m.