by Katherine O. Rizzo (first published in the February 2024 Equiery)

Russell Becomes First Maryland Female Leading Trainer
Brittany Russell made history this year for becoming the first female trainer to win the overall Leading Trainer award for Maryland tracks. The 2023 racing season was only her fourth full season as a trainer. This title has been held by Claudio Gonzalez since 2017.
Russell finished out the year with 118 wins in Maryland, which was five more wins than second place trainer Jamie Ness. Russell also won the Laurel Park winter meet title, which was her fifth career individual meet title as leading trainer.

“I’m just so proud of the team. It’s a huge accomplishment for everybody and they’ve been working so hard,” Russell said.
Russell, who is married to Maryland jockey Sheldon Russell, saddled 687 starters in 2023 with 177 wins, 141 seconds and 96 thirds. Purse earnings for 2023 were $7,996,867, giving her a national ranking of 11th by wins and 16th by money won. In Maryland, Russell won 17 stakes races, mainly with Hybrid Eclipse and Prince of Jericho.

Eclipse Winning Author
Sean Clancy, co-editor/publisher of ST Publishing Inc., won an Eclipse Award for his coverage of the 2023 Test Stakes. Clancy, a Delaware native, wrote an article about the tragic breakdown of Maple Leaf Mel and Pretty Michievous’ victory that won the News/Enterprise category for the annual media Eclipse Awards. The article was entitled, “The Worst Test: Pretty Mischievous’s wins tragic renewal of Grade 1 stakes,” was published in the August edition of The Saratoga Special.

Clancy is a four-time winner of the David F. Woods Memorial Award for best Preakness story (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2014). This is Clancy’s second Eclipse Award win.