09/16/2003 11:00PM

Thistledown track report


NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - The Thistledown meet, the third of four meets that make up the 187-day racing calendar here, ends Friday. Jockey Huber Villa-Gomez and trainer Rodney Faulkner have distanced themselves from the competition in their respective divisions.

Villa-Gomez has won with 56 of his 241 mounts (23 percent). His closest rival is Luis Gonzalez, with 35 wins.

Faulkner is winning races at a 19-percent clip. He has sent out 162 horses this meet and 31 have won. Jerry Sparks is second with 13 winners from 63 starters, a 20 percent winning average. M. D. Owens is tied for the third spot with Tim Girten with 12 winners. Owens, the dean of Ohio trainers is winning with a sizzling 35 percent of his starters. Gary Johnson, for the first time in the last 24 meets, spanning six years, will not finish first or second in the standings, as he has saddled 12 winners from 89 starters.

For the season, from March 15 through Sept. 12, Faulkner tops the trainer standings with 62 victories from 369 starters. Johnson is second with 49 winners from 328 starters.