03/25/2012 10:28AM

Laurel: Russell, Kobiskie top standings again for winter meet


Jockey Sheldon Russell and trainer Dane Kobiskie were repeat winners during the 12-week Laurel Park winter meeting that wrapped up Saturday.

Russell, the top jockey in Maryland a year ago, collected his fourth straight meet-leading riding title in the state by finishing with 54 first-place finishers, 21 ahead of runner-up Malcolm Pierce.

 “I am very grateful to ride for a lot of the best trainers. That makes my job easier,” said Russell, 24, who won a career-best 195 races in 2011. ”I am riding with much more confidence after winning so much the last 15 months. I am still learning and eventually would like to venture but I am still young and want to continue improving. The goal is to win more than 200 races this year and we are ahead of that pace. I would like to end the year as one of the top 20 riders in the country, based on wins, to get my name out there on the national stage.”

Kobiskie won the training title at the winter meet for the second straight year with 34 victories from 81 starts, an impressive 42 percent winning percentage.

“I am paying attention to all the little things,” said Kobiskie, who won 290 races during 33 months as a jockey before retiring in February 2008. “I wish I did those things when I first started training because I made a lot of mistakes. A lot of guys claim for one win. I am looking to win multiple races with each claim and have had some good luck for more than a year. The numbers are going to have to slow down because they have to. I am hoping to stay above 25 percent at Pimlico.”

Jamie Ness finished second with 23 wins.

Kobiskie’s top owner, PTK LLC, led the owner standings, finishing first 29 times, six more than Midwest Thoroughbreds.

Live racing in Maryland shifts to Pimlico Race Course on Friday for the eight-week spring meeting,