first published in the February 2022 Equiery
Journeyman jockey Jevian Toledo earned the Maryland Jockey Club’s Leading Jockey title for the 2021 racing season while Claudio Gonzalez was named Leading Trainer for the year.
Toledo, who is 27 years old, finished the 2021 season with 108 wins accumulated at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course. Eighteen-year-old Jorge Ruiz finished a close second with 102 wins. This was the third time that Toledo has led the jockey standings in Maryland by wins. His previous titles were in 2015 and 2017.
“It feels amazing. It’s really special because I fell in 2018 and it was hard to come back,” Toledo said. “Thank God all the hard work paid off. I have to thank all the owners and trainers and all the employees at the barns. They support me. Thank God we’re back on top again.”
In 2021, Toledo won the Weather Vane and Maryland Million Distaff with Hello Beautiful as well as the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial with Wherestheoldmetogo. Both horses are trained by Brittany Russell. Other stakes wins came aboard Dreamalildreamofu, Ready to Purrform, Corelli and Grateful Bred.
Gonzalez continued his domination of the Maryland trainer standings by sweeping all three full meets in Maryland this year. He won 108 races at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course this year to lead all Maryland trainers for the fifth straight year.
“It’s really special. I say all the time, there’s a lot of good trainers over here,” Gonzalez said. “To win one year is special, and to win five, I don’t know. It’s really, really special.”
Gonzalez won three stakes in Maryland this year with Miss Leslie and one stakes race each with Completed Pass, Harpers First Ride and Buff Hello. Gonzalez also earned his 1000th career win this year when He’s a Shooter won at Laurel on October 14, 2021.