01/14/2008 12:00AM

Thornton tops Hawthorne riders


Tim Thornton wrapped up his first riding title on Sunday at Hawthorne, winning two races on the closing-day card here to edge Chris Emigh, 92 wins to 89.

Thornton came into Hawthorne's final race day until March leading Emigh 90 wins to 88, and scored two victories Sunday, while Emigh was blanked until winning the meet's final race.

Thornton missed time twice this meet after sustaining relatively minor injuries in gate mishaps, and briefly lost his lead in the standings - which he had held since early in the fall - when Emigh surged last week.

Emigh, who led the meet with about $1.9 million in purse earnings, is scheduled to move his tack to Oaklawn Park, which starts its 2008 meet Friday, but Thornton, according to his agent, Jim Ernesto, will take time off and return to work two weeks before the March 7 start of Hawthorne's spring meet.

Frank Kirby narrowly won the training title, outpacing Mike Reavis 39-37.