07/26/2004 11:00PM

Villa-Gomez tops Thistledown

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The second of four Thistledown meets for the 2004 racing season ended Saturday with jockey Huber Villa-Gomez and trainer Rodney Faulkner taking top honors in their respective categories.

Villa-Gomez topped the jockeys with 45 wins from 227 starts. Weldon Cloninger Jr. finished second with 39 wins (205 starts), and Luis Gonzalez took third place with 38 winners (191 starts). Villa-Gomez, Thistledown's leading rider in 2003, also captured the riding title at the track's first meet this year.

Only one victory separated the top three trainers. Faulkner garnered first place with 24 victories from 116 starters. Gary Johnson finished second with 23 wins (145 starters) and Jerry Hollendorfer took third place with 22 wins (51 starters). For Faulkner, Thistledown's leading trainer last year, it was his third meet title at Thistledown.

Among the owners, Faulkner and his father, Joe Faulkner, shared the leading owner title with Jerry Hollendorfer, with each having 14 victories. Mark Yagour finished second with 13 wins.