Surrounded by her family, Brittany Russell celebrated Mother's Day in style by winning with her only two starters Sunday at Laurel Park and clinching her first career training title. Russell, 32, ended the 22-day spring meet with a flourish, winning five races from nine starters over the final weekend to edge Jamie Ness, 14-13 and snap Claudio Gonzalez's streak at nine consecutive meet titles in Maryland. Gonzalez wound up third with 10 wins.
“It's a huge accomplishment. My team, just how far we've come in a short time, it's going to take me a little bit to wrap my head around it,” Russell said. “I think it's a really big deal for the barn. My crew is amazing. I'm lucky for the clients I have and the barn we've built.”
The battle for leading jockey came down to the final race of the meet when Jevian Toledo finished sixth aboard favored Scintilli and fell one win short of seven-pound apprentice Jeiron Barbosa, 20-19. It is the first riding title for Barbosa, an 18-year-old native of Puerto Rico, who had a five-win edge before missing the final three days of the spring meet serving a suspension.
Barbosa becomes only the third apprentice in a decade to lead the jockey standings at Laurel, following Yomar Ortiz (2013 winter) and Julio Correa (2019 summer). Toledo, Maryland's overall riding champion in 2015, 2017 and 2021, had three wins, three seconds and three thirds in 12 mounts during Barbosa's absence.
“I'm feeling really happy and really grateful with all the opportunities,” Barbosa said through fellow Maryland jockey and family friend Angel Cruz. “To be here my first month and be leading rider of the spring meet, it's a big accomplishment.”