01/03/2013 4:27PM

Laurel: Castellano, Ness top standings in Maryland for 2012

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Abel Castellano won 132 races at Laurel and Pimlico in 2012, including eight stakes.

Abel Castellano captured his first year-long riding title in Maryland in 2012.

Castellano, 29, finished the year with 132 victories, 11 more than 2011 champion Sheldon Russell, including 59 in the fall meet that ended Dec. 31 at Laurel Park. He also tied for first among locally based jockeys with eight stakes wins, including five aboard Bold Affair.

The totals include racing at Laurel and Pimlico, but not those at the short Maryland State Fair at Timonium meet.

“To win my first year-round title means a lot,” said Castellano, who has been a regular rider in Maryland since 2003. “I have come a long way since arriving here. I now have a wife and we have been blessed with three kids. They are part of my success and why I work so hard, along with my agent Kevin Witte, in trying to win as many races as I can each and every day. There were many trainers who gave us an opportunity but I might not have won the championship without Jamie Ness, who trusted me the entire year.”

Castellano teamed up with Ness for 69 victories.

Ness, 38, saddled 83 winners to lead all trainers in Maryland during 2012. He finished 16 ahead of Dane Kobiskie. Working for Midwest Thoroughbreds, Ness led all trainers in the U.S. with 396 victories.