07/27/2011 3:50PM

Thistledown: Mata earns first riding title with two wins on final day of meet


The combined Summit/Thistledown meet, which ran from April  23 through July 25, concluded with jockey Federico Mata capturing his first Thisteldown riding title after going neck and neck throughout the meet with Yamil Rosario. Mata won two races on the final day, Monday, to come out on top with 51 wins from 231 mounts, Rosario finished second with 49 wins from 142 mounts. Luis Gonzalez was third with 41 wins from 161 mounts.

Mata, referred to as “the Warrior” by his agent Matt Hook, lived up to his nickname, riding 89 more races than Yamil Rosario, who had the benefit of riding first call for runaway leading trainer Jamie Ness.

Gonzalez won six of the meet’s seven stakes races, including the Michael F. Rowland Memorial and George Lewis Memorial, in which he guided Catlaunch to victory. That win boosted the 10-year-old Ohio-bred Catlaunch’s earnings past the million-dollar mark.

Ness finished the meet on top with 32 winners from 57 starts, an amazing 56 percent win rate. He also saddled 13 seconds and 8 thirds to post an astonishing 93 percent in-the-money rating. The title was the fifth straight win or tie for first for Ness at Thistledown. Jeff Radosevich, Ronald Allen Sr., and Rodney Faulkner tied for second with 19 wins each.

The meet’s top horse by wins was Who’s Counting, owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds, trained by Ness, and ridden by Rosario. She started six races, winning five times and running third once.