||Ramirez Claims LSP Riding Crown, Dewitt
Tops Owners for 7th Consecutive Year
Jockey J.R. Ramirez
accomplished an amazing feat at Lone Star Park’s seventh annual
Fall Meeting of Champions for American Quarter Horses. In addition to
winning a record 38 races en route to his first local championship, the
23-year-old clinched a rare sweep of riding titles at each Texas racetrack
– Lone Star Park, Manor Downs, Retama Park and Sam Houston Race
Ramirez, the younger brother of jockey Saul Ramirez Jr. and a cousin
of jockey Raul Ramirez Jr., accomplished the feat in style with his record-breaking
37th win aboard Oak Tree Special in Friday’s Grade 1 Texas Classic
Derby. On Saturday’s closing night program, he added one more to
finish the meeting with 38 trips to the winner’s circle -- 12 more
than runner-up Randy Wilson.
In winning the Lone Star Park title, the native of Laredo, Texas, defeated
a deep jockey colony filled with accomplished veterans like Roy Baldillez,
Alvin “Bubba” Brossette, G.R. Carter Jr., Jacky Martin, Gilbert
Ortiz, Larry Payne, Juan Vazquez, Nicky Wilson and Jerry Lee Yoakum –
just to name a few.
“You couldn’t ask for it to be going any better than this,”
Ramirez said. “I’ve never done as good here at Lone Star [as
the other Texas tracks]. It’s just awesome. I’m speechless.”
The Lone Star Park championship caps a sensational year for Ramirez.
Entering Saturday, he ranked third nationally in wins with 147, only behind
Ramon Sanchez (150) and G.R. Carter Jr. (149).
Elsewhere, to no one’s surprise, Geral Dewitt was the leading owner
for an amazing seventh time in as many years.
Dewitt, who lives in Garland, Texas, with his wife Frances, is clearly
Lone Star Park’s kingpin owner and one of the nation’s best.
He won 13 races this season with his trainer and stepson Anthony Arey.
In previous years, the automotive dealer snared eight, 11, a record 16,
11, 12 and 12 victories from 1997-2002 to top the standings. Overall,
he has 83 Lone Star Park wins, and has claimed titles at each Texas racetrack
like Ramirez. This year, he began Saturday ranked second only to Anjora
Racing Corp. in national wins this year with 54.
The remaining seasonal champions will be announced Monday at noon. Oak
Tree Special, winner of the Grade 1 Dash For Cash and Texas Classic Derbies,
is the favorite to be named Horse of the Meeting. Other honors to be decided
by media and racing officials will be Champion Older Male, Female, Distance
Horse, 3-Year-Old Male, 3-Year-Old Female, 2-Year-Old Male, 2-Year-Old
Female and Claiming Horse.